While some villains are sneaky and work from the background, the Fear Villain is right in your face.
I'm sure you've met her already.
The Fear Villain causes all sorts of problems when you start learning languages because you'll have to speak sooner or later. Maybe you have to talk in class or with a friend. You could be trying to order a meal on holiday or simply asking for directions.
Whatever the occasion, it's a scary time — thanks to the dastardly Fear Villain.
How Does She Work?
That horrible Fear Villain stands next to you and whispers nasty suggestions into your ear.
“You're going to mess this up. Here comes a mistake… gotcha!”
“They won't understand… you'll forget the words…” — and worst of all — “you're going to look like a fool!”
You've heard them all; I know you have.
I have too.
The Fear Villain's sole purpose is to scare you away from speaking because she knows that your skills will grow exponentially as soon as you feel confident. The words will roll off your tongue, and you'll understand the replies.
That skill and confidence will banish Fear and her companions forever. That's HER fear, so she'll do whatever it takes to make you feel insecure, nervous, and downright petrified.
Why Does She Get Away With It?
Unless you realise it's the Fear Villain on her evil mission, you probably think it's just YOU who has a problem.
That's because speaking a new language with someone is a personal, vulnerable business. As a beginner, you can't say a lot, and you don't understand much either. It puts you at a genuine disadvantage and can feel very threatening.
Your ego can take a real blow if you let the Fear villain work unchecked.
How Can You Defeat The Fear Villain?
Now, the only way to learn to SPEAK a new language fluently is by actually SPEAKING. So, the Fear villain will do all she can to prevent you from opening your mouth.
But you can stop her in her tracks by NOT SPEAKING AT ALL.
Sounds counterproductive right? But bear with me here.
Most traditional language classes force you to speak in class right from the beginning, and that plays right into the Fear villain's hand. Speaking as a beginner highlights all your insecurities.
When you do speak, avoid situations that are likely to make you afraid in the first place.
Instead, seek out a patient friend or tutor who won't judge you for your mistakes. Learn to speak where you feel comfortable first, THEN go out into the world and unleash your potential.
Vanquish The Villain And Enjoy Your Learning
Instead of putting yourself under such pressure, what about following an input-based method where you learn the language to a high level before you start speaking.
Learning this way means that when you do finally open your mouth, you already know plenty of words. Your grammar is good, and you can understand when people reply.
That's how the StoryLearning method works, and it's right in line with the science behind language learning.