Using failure as a motivational language learning tool

Using failure as a motivational language learning tool


In order to transform a failure into a source of motivation it is first necessary to identify the reasons for this failure. As far as the apprehension of a language is concerned, the most common reasons for failure in language exchanges are the following:

Fear, stress, emotions

You are afraid that you are making a mistake, that you will be corrected, that you will be mocked, especially if you exchange languages with native speakers. At the slightest mistake or doubt during a language exchange you start to stress, stutter, lose your temper and let your emotions overwhelm you. Everyone has experienced this at least once during a discussion.

Not taking the time

You want to learn a new language, it starts from a good will but unfortunately you never have the time. The first session goes rather well, you are enthusiastic to start learning and put a lot of good will into it. But there will never be a second session or 2 weeks later.


You start working irregularly, sometimes one out of three times because you don't see real results, and this gives you the opportunity to postpone the sessions, telling yourself that it takes time to learn a new language and to be able to do language exchanges.

No specific interest

You decided to learn a new language because people around you all know how to speak several languages or because your parents told you that it was very important to learn languages but deep down you don't really believe in it, you are not convinced by the idea and therefore it doesn't come from a real motivation on your part.


Usually it comes from a lack of interest, a lack of motivation. Sometimes also the temptation to watch a series outweighs education and you get trapped in a vicious circle of procrastination. It is easier to put off until tomorrow, it gives us a clear conscience, but it often happens that the next day the desire to procrastinate comes back and so on.


You want to know everything right away and you spend hours and hours at a time reading books about the language. You try to know as much as you can right away and do some head stuffing. You may be in a hurry because you have a deadline to know the language or at least know how to communicate at a minimum.


To transform these failures into motivational tools you have several choices in front of you, most of the techniques presented below concern the mind and the strength of mind but also the right learning conditions.

Establish specific goals

Above all, it is important to identify your motivations and write them down clearly and precisely so that you always have your goals in mind. For example, you can make a list and put it in a visible place so that you can see and remember why you do what you do when your motivation drops. If you want examples of goals that you can set for yourself it could be a person, a personal project or the desire to discover a new city like London for example.

Be focused

Concentration is the key to learning, if you are thinking about something else at the same time as you are trying to learn vocabulary words for example it will not be very effective and the session will seem even longer.

Take breaks

This is why it is essential to distribute your time well and take frequent breaks, as it has been proven that the attention span is about 20 minutes. Remember to alternate tasks to avoid redundant work. For example, you can learn vocabulary words for 20 minutes and then take 10 minutes to go for a walk, take a walk, or read a book.

Setting Priorities

Thanks to your list of goals you can now make a list of priorities for example the first thing you want to be able to do is to be able to discuss art with someone, or write about yourself to be able to present yourself properly.

There are a lot of applications that help you to make priority lists like Todoist, Wunderlist or Trello.

Finding the perfect place

There are some places where you feel more comfortable than others to be focused on an educational task, for example prefer a desk with good light to your bed even if you think it is more comfortable it will not put you in the optimal conditions necessary for your success.

Have a healthy lifestyle

It may sound silly, but feeling good about your life, feeling good about your body, helps a lot with motivation and concentration. If you get enough and regular sleep, on average 8 hours a day, you will feel better, less tired and you will want to accomplish more in your day.

Having a good diet is also very important, working during the digestion period is not recommended because concentration is not optimal and you will feel tired.

Find activities that interest you

Try as much as possible to combine learning and pleasure for the sessions to be more effective. For example, if you like to write, you can do a poetry writing workshop in the language you want to learn.

Reward yourself

The reward system has been proven to have a positive effect on the brain. So recognize when you've passed a milestone, recognise that you're proud of yourself and find a way to reward yourself in some way. It can be food or anything else.

Knowing how to control your emotions

Of course it is difficult to control your stress in the first moments but it is a practice to adopt with time, a work on yourself so that you are able to identify your fears, your emotions and that you manage to control yourself so that you do not lose your means in difficult situations. You should not be afraid of making mistakes because this is the best way to learn.

Positive motivation

The key to determination is optimism, if you tell yourself every day that you can do it, you will be more confident and you will be more effective. For example, you can set your wallpapers with motivational quotes to help you stay positive.

Talk about it around you

Don't hesitate to talk with your family and friends about your progress, your progress, your decisions, this will help you to have more confidence in yourself by showing yourself off to those around you and their support will be invaluable in terms of motivation.

If you want to know if you are ready to learn a new language, if motivation is present, you can use this site which will help you to evaluate your level of motivation.

Written by: Lisa Lambert, Staff Writer

Learning Languages