September 14


EP4: Complaining

Hi, I’m Kristian, and welcome to the Learners of English Podcast, episode number 4. I’m Dutch, I’m 43 years old and I live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I teach English, mostly to adults, but also to teenagers.

In episode 3 I talked a bit about complaining, and in this episode I want to elaborate on this subject matter. Because, quite frankly, it is something that has a tremendous impact on your ability to make progress with your English. That’s why I think we need to have a conversation about this topic.

So, without further ado, let’s go.

Complaining. We all do it. We complain about small things, like the long queue in a supermarket. And we complain about big things, like losing your job because of Covid-19.

In this podcast I want to talk about complaining related to language learning. So, tell me, are you somebody who starts to complain, if you’re not happy with your progress in English? If you are, you’re not the only one. 

Let me tell you the top 5 complaints I’ve heard from adult learners of English:

  1. I don’t have time to learn English
  2. I don’t have energy to learn English
  3. I don’t have a good English teacher
  4. I don’t have anyone to talk to in English
  5. I don’t have good resources (books, apps)
  6. It’s difficult. (grammar, pronunciation, spelling)

OK, now it’s time to make something clear. When I’m talking about complaining in this episode, I’m not only talking to you, but I’m also talking to myself. 

Let me explain:

Complaining is the root of all negativity in my head. The moment I start complaining, I become vulnerable and weak. In everything. My complaining is the arch-enemy of my progress with my English. Or my progress with my Czech. 

Let me repeat that: my complaining is the arch-enemy of my progress. The moment complaining is winning, progress is losing. Complaining harms progress the most. The moment I start complaining, I stop making progress.

Thankfully I’ve learnt after 43 years that there’s a simple rule I should follow to avoid this problem:

If I’m not making progress it’s 100% my fault, even if it isn’t. And if I start complaining, I need to stop doing it ASAP. 

It’s a simple rule, and I’m the first to admit it’s not always easy to follow this rule. But it makes my life so much better, the difference is like night and day. Because the moment I acknowledge that my lack of progress is 100% my fault, I know I can do something about it. It’s a simple idea, but it works.

One final thing: I’m the first to admit that it’s not always easy to follow this rule, but if you do it, you will see that it works. There are thousands of books, blogs, courses and speaking events about “creating the right mindset for success”. But if I can give you only one piece of advice to create a healthy mindset, this would be it:

If you are not making progress with your English it’s 100% your fault, even if it isn’t. And if you start complaining  about it, you need to stop doing it ASAP. 

OK, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope it’s clear now that complaining is the arch-enemy of progress, and I also hope you understand how one simple rule can have a profound effect on your progress in English. If you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email or leave a comment on my blog. 

Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll catch you in the next episode!

About the author 


Kristian is a Dutch guy who teaches English online. He relaxes with audiobooks, music and podcasts. Kristian still has a lot to learn, but he's happy to share what he has learnt along the way.

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