It seems like the New Year has crept up on me rather fast. So it is the First of a New Year. Time to start all over again.
I’ve recently read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I highly recommend it along with the book, “Talent is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin.
“Talent is Overrated” takes a look at the science behind getting things done. It looks at people like Mozart and Tiger Woods whom everyone assumes to be born talented but were in fact born into families with fathers who were really good coaches. Geoff Colvin looks at different groups of high achievers and how often it is the case that the Highest achievers are just the ones that practice more while also practicing on their weakest areas. The full name of the book is; “Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else“.
It is a kind of feel good book. I never really thought that I was gifted. But now knowing that all it takes is practice and focusing on my weakest areas I am given new hope.
“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg is all about the power of setting up regular habits for greater achievement. The full name of the book is; “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business“. (Wow all these self-improvement books have such long titles these days.)
These books were recommended to me by the very successful self-publishing author Chris Fox. I wasn’t really going to write about self-improvement in this blog, as this is a French language learning blog, however, these are the things that I am thinking about on the first day of 2017.
This time last year I was interested in setting up new and better habits but didn’t know where to start. I did make myself type out the page from my French Living Language Calendar and do a daily session on Duolingo.com. I am currently on day 362 on Duolingo. So habits do work. However, I realize now that I was just doing fun habits, which is an important way to start, but do really reach French fluency I need to start working on my weaker areas. Grammar rules.
I hated Grammar rules in English (as invented by Grammar-Nazis) however I need to mix them into my regular learning. I can really feel that I am not too far from fluency.
I found the video that I posted of Carrie Fisher speaking French very helpful. I could mostly understand her, although the subtitles helped. But it was also nice to see a fellow American struggling and succeeding with the language. It just goes to show that she was a real princess as princesses were often expected to understand a number of different languages.
I had a boss at one time who was German, her father had been a Count but her mother was Jewish and the family was forced to flee, leaving her families title and castle behind. She always told me that it was important when traveling to at least try and start the conversation in the local language.
My goals for 2017
(Subject to Change)
Learn French Grammar: I will work on the how later.
Speak more French. I know a number of French-owned cafes and restaurants in my area. I am going to go in and make my orders in French. I’ve been a bit shy about this in the past. Put I’m really going to push it. What have I got to lose?
Read more French books. – an Hour a day. Polyglot – Steve Kaufmann recommends reading in a new language. Even if it means going over and over again on the same page.
Rocket French: – I am currently working my way through the Rocket French website. I am going to do a lesson a day.
Duolingo: I ran out of new French content in October last year. But I am just going to continue to do review lessons every day until the language becomes second nature.
Goal: I want to be able to watch French movies and or French TV programs and understand the content. (I’m at a strange point right now where I can kind of follow bits of the conversation and pick up a word or a phrase here and there.)