It's not as though mastery doesn't exist. You just need tp practice it

“It’s not as though LOVE cannot exist. We just need to practice it. We need to think about it. We need to be the love.” I heard an English teacher say this in her YouTube video today.

This made me stop and think to myself, “Thank you. I’m not alone”.

It’s not that the progress that you’re not seeing does not exist. You just need to practice it.

If you don’t see what you are looking for in the world around you, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Maybe you’re looking for it in the wrong place. Or maybe it’s up to you to create it.

I graduated with honors. Wherever and whatever I studied, I was always in the top 5% of students in my class. Yet I always felt that what I knew was so not enough to perform in the real world and play big. It was enough to play small. It was enough to brag about my degrees. It was not enough to get myself out of the world where the things that I was looking for simply didn’t exist.

Excellence didn’t exist in the world where I grew up. It wasn’t appreciated. Instead, complacency and stability were the top values. “You don’t need to go to the gym. You’re not fat”, - I was surrounded by this mentality and felt terribly alone in my desire to create more, understand deeper, and achieve mastery.

I could conclude that “mastery” didn’t exist, and that higher levels of learning a foreign language didn’t exist either. I could settle and allow others to convince me that knowing “12 English tenses” is the same as knowing how to speak your mind and the truth of where you are emotionally in English, and that getting a teaching degree is the same as knowing how to teach.

What I wanted didn’t exist in the world around me. It existed in me, so I started practicing it. The journey was awkward, chaotic, and messy, but I kept practicing what I wanted to see, together with compassion for my inability to do better in the moment.

The people who understood what I taught didn’t exist in my world either. They were somewhere else, I knew it. I practiced my craft to help them see me. I practiced explaining what I do so that those who were searching could find me, and those who didn’t know better than complacency could see that the bridge across the river of limitations, fears, and ignorance had been already built. The bridge takes you to the next level, but on one condition - you can’t go back.

You can’t go back to teaching “Present Simple” from a book when you know that people need something entirely different and they’re capable of achieving it. You can’t go back to projecting your own limiting beliefs on people and convincing them that “learning” is “memorizing”, and “mastery is for nerds.”

Mastery starts with self-mastery. If no one around you shows mastery of their thoughts, speech, and behaviors, it doesn’t mean mastery is stupid. It means that to find it, you need to practice it.

Love doesn’t live in the house where no one practices it. Mastery doesn’t exist in the society where no one practices it. Intimacy doesn’t exist in relationships where people don’t practice it. They don’t even have the language for it.

If something doesn’t exist for you, maybe it’s because you haven’t been practicing it.

Rebecca Oxford identified 6 language learning strategies back in 1990.

  1. Memory strategies (for remembering and retrieving information)
  2. Cognitive strategies (for understanding others and producing speech)
  3. Metacognitive strategies (for coordinating and organizing the learning process)
  4. Compensation strategies (for using the language despite knowledge gaps)
  5. Affective strategies (for regulating emotions)
  6. Social strategies (for learning with others)

Most schools, teachers, and learners themselves are aware of the first two and are not competent enough to use the other 4, let alone all 6 together.

99% of the online courses you see sell you the importance of the first strategy, while ignoring what it really takes to achieve mastery in a foreign language, i.e. build meaningful relationships with people in English.

I focus on creating exercises and methods to help people become more metacognitive learners, manage their inner state, i.e. cope with negative emotions that are inevitable in the process of learning something new, and master social strategies, i.e. knowing how learn with and from other people without having to depend on “experts” who say they know better. No one knows better than you. But to know yourself, you need to practice asking yourself questions and finding your unique answers. My work is to give people practical tools to use all of the above-mentioned strategies in their learning process so they get to the level where they can build a career, inspire others, and develop relationships in English.

I use these 6 pillars in my work, but I’m also adding important puzzle pieces and building a system of very specific exercises that target specific skills to help people become successful learners in the modern world.
When I say “learn”, I never mean “get ready for a test” or “memorize information” , or “get a certificate”. I mean “change your behavior” in day-to-day life.

I am continuously teaching myself new skills to test the strategies, and I have enough data to conclude that they work.

To learn to use them yourself, join one of my group programs or become a member of my community of practice.

A good learner never stops learning about themselves. If you have only seen many smart people with extensive knowledge of the subject, but very little knowledge of themselves, this doesn’t mean that successful learners don’t exist. This means that you need to practice becoming one.