Motivation and Achievement
Hello to Lidia and all of our World Service Readers
First of all, I must apologise for being so late with this blog. It’s the last week of term before the Easter holidays, and I have been busy testing my students, marking, assessing and writing reports! Despite all of the talk about self-discipline, I couldn’t manage to find enough time to write this until now! I am very sorry, especially after receiving such a fantastic response to my question about language learning success.
The next thing on my agenda is to thank Lidia for all of her hard work. I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that her blog entries have been especially interesting this week: she’s told us about organising a large, prestigious exhibition, true love and career decisions! I will post some language feedback for Lidia in a special message, later today!
It was great to read all of your comments about language learning success. Evidently, self-discipline and motivation are closely related, and if they are combined towards the same goal, they lead to real success. This has led me to consider the nature of motivation, achievement and the personal rewards they bring. I can give you a very personal example, which relates to my own hobby of gardening. I’m very lucky to have a large garden, and this is why we bought our house. When we bought the house, however, the garden was actually an allotment. You probably don’t know what an allotment is, unless you have lived in the UK! An allotment is an area of land used for growing fruit and vegetables, and is usually functional rather than decorative. So, I inherited an area of land that was rather ugly, with a huge industrial sized PVC tunnel for growing tomatoes, lots of rusty old junk, equipment and old sheds. I had a vision of how I could turn this into a beautiful garden, so I drew up plans on paper, and then made a list of all the work that needed to be done, and when I was going to do it. I had to think about the seasons, and the best time of year to carry out the work.
I initially decided to do all of the work by myself, because I was quite protective about my project. It was a terrible job to do alone! I could only do it at the weekends, because obviously I teach during the week. I think some of my colleagues thought I was a complete crank. They just thought I was trying to save money, and couldn’t see the attraction of labouring away in the dirt at the weekend. (Perhaps they were right!)
After about four months, I reached an impasse. I was trying to level the land, and it was just too much for me to do alone. I remember crying outside, thinking “why did I ever begin this? I’ll never finish it”. So I decided to get some help from a professional gardener. He became a great buddy of mine! He came and levelled the land in a day with a special machine, and helped me to some of the really heavy work. Gradually, over the years, I have planted up different areas of the garden with trees, bushes and plants. I have grown a lawn from seed, and have cultivated fruit and vegetable patches. I could have paid a landscaping company to do all this work, it would have cost a few thousand pounds and it would have been finished in a few weeks. But the feelings of love, pride and satisfaction I have about my garden can never be bought or paid for. I look out at my garden, and I think, I made this, with my own hands. Having a vision of what you want to achieve is the greatest motivation, and when you finally achieve your goal, the reward is better than any other pleasure or gratification.
If you consider how far you have progressed since you first started to study English, I’m sure that you will feel satisfied, too. Learning a language is a process, it takes time and effort, but it has incredible personal rewards. These will be different for everyone, because we each have our own motivation and vision.
That’s all for now,
Enjoy the weekend,
USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
apologise for something (verb)
say sorry for
list of things to do
ability to organise your time and focus your attention
personal desire or will to achieve something
personal reward (noun)
positive emotions you experience as a result of your own efforts
closely related (phrase)
piece of land used for growing fruit and vegetable
serving a purpose
objects made from metal go rusty when they are left outside in the rain
discarded / unwanted items
industrial sized (adjective)
very, very large
carry out (verb)
do, put into action
selective, wanting to keep something to yourself
crazy, odd person (oddball is also used as a similar noun)
labouring away in the dirt (phrase)
working in the soil
level the land (phrase)
make the surface of the ground even
landscaping company (noun)
professional company that creates gardens
behaviour /actions over a period of time
satisfaction in results, or what someone has done
here, used to mean the final goal I was working towards
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.