In your opinion, would you say that these positive or negative affirmations? Are these words that describe the mindset of a "go-getter", a person that is primed to take on and succeed at a difficult task?
I would say not. I would say that they are indeed negative affirmations and if you repeat them (or ones similar to them) enough you will forever believe that they are true. I have seen this time and again. I have some good news for you, however: You don't have to commit these same mistakes.
The Power of Affirmations
Scott Adams, entrepreneur, author of the world famous cartoon Dilbert, and self-proclaimed "man of average ability" is a big believer in the power of positive affirmations. You can read about his experiences by clicking here.
In a nutshell, in this particular article, he explains...
"The practice of writing your goals 15 times a day seems to work much of the time, at least in my experience, but presumably not because of any magic. At least one probable explanation for its perceived effectiveness is that focusing on goals changes the person who is doing the focusing."
He then continue on to explain...
"Affirmations probably also increases a person’s natural level of optimism, especially if you believe it works. I can imagine optimism working to harden people against the inevitable setbacks and obstacles along the way to success. To the extent that affirmations might increase a person’s stick-to-itiveness, his perception might be that the universe is removing barriers."
Affirmations Can Help with Language Learning
I find that this lines up perfectly with language learning. One must have focus, optimism, and be able to cope with setbacks and obstacles. Positive affirmations help enormously with this.
Here is an example of a simple positive affirmation that you can use when starting out to get you in the fluency process mindset. Inside the parentheses you can replace it with whatever is most relevant to you.
"(Spanish) is my language. It is now a big part of my life. I will (study, speak, practice)
Then, once you have successfully developed the habit of daily language learning you can move on to a more specific type of language learning affirmation.
"I (Levi Flint) speak (Spanish) with a (Mexican) accent. I will focus on mimicking this accent in all of my study and conversation sessions."
Here is another general example of a fluency focused affirmation that would be more directed to someone wanting to achieve fluency in a specific amount of time.
"I (Levi Flint) will have a B2 level of fluency of (language) in (#) months."
I understand that for many people the idea of affirmations playing a key role in language learning might sound like hopeful nonsense at best. However, the more you read about and watch interviews of top performers in mostly any endeavour you see repeatedly how mindset, the mental game, plays an enormous role in performance. Visualizing, believing, and repeating to yourself that success is just beyond the horizon has been proven to be a powerful practice to include in your repertoire. It helps you to maintain and develop focus, you become more obsessed with succeeding, and who knows, maybe "The Secret" is real after all.
Since you have the choice, why not choose a positive mindset? Embrace affirmations. Positive affirmations will embolden you to put in the daily work needed to accomplish great things.
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Levi Flint is a language teacher, learner, and traveler frustrated with how languages have been viewed and taught in North America. He hopes to change things with a bit of clarity, perspective, and common sense.