What is the secret to learning a language?

There is an open secret in our world which we see day after day and that we recognize and know as an old friend. Yet strangely, we forget about it as soon as this friend is needed for something of significance.

It is a Principle of Life which we use in our daily habits to accomplish all the things we set out to and which gets us to where we want to be. But for most people, it’s only remembered when they want to accomplish the little things.

It should be applied to language learning but it gets forgotten. Perhaps it’s because people think “Yeah… tell me something I don’t know.” But the fact is, a lot of people don’t really know. At least not as an active understanding. It is the most overlooked principle ever.

Take the simple act of heading out to the shops and buying milk. Why do we not fail at buying milk once we have made our decision? Why do we not come home dismayed and say “It’s such a pity. I tried to buy the milk but I got distracted. I’ll try again tomorrow.” ?

Why can we perform various actions like getting dressed, dial a phone number, make reservations, get through college, complete a hiking trail, organize a barbecue, raise children, see a divorce through without any of these things fizzling out along the way?

Why do these things work for us, yet we fail at learning a language?

Some would rightly say the difference lies in the complexity of the task. Between learning French and dialing a phone number, there is quite a gap. It is easier to be successful at phoning someone than at memorizing the countless components of a language.

Be that as it may, this observation doesn’t change the core principle. Knowing a language and buying cabbage in a shop are fundamentally the same action.

Let us take the example of a drawn-out procedure such as completing a college degree or going through a divorce. What makes it so that we come out victorious in the end? It surely can’t be the simplicity of the task because these two examples require multiple commitments, meetings and sustained efforts over meaningful periods of time.

What about erecting a tall building on a spot of empty land? Between its initial conceptualization in a person’s head and the final results, here also we see the Principle of Life at work. The same one that allows us to tie our shoelaces or to park our car.

In my experience, when students approach the learning of a new language they do something incredibly right and terribly wrong in the same motion. The “right” they do is just as soon cancelled by the “wrong”, and causes them to not learn the language.

They are using the Principle of Life but imperfectly. And this – AND ONLY THIS – is what causes them not to know French.

For each of the examples mentioned above, they key Principle that led to the success of the actions was in the Visualization. When you bought that cabbage you already “saw” yourself possessing that cabbage. You didn’t hesitate for half a second that you would ever be in possession of it.

When you completed that college degree, you saw yourself “post-degree”, already being that person with a degree. In the case of a divorce, the divorcee saw themselves enjoying the advantages of being divorced.

Any of the simple actions that we perform in our daily occupations fall under the same Rule. We first “see” the completion of the action before starting the action. It happens within half a second but it is there none the less. When the action is as familiar as eating a bowl of cereal, we hardly think at all.

For more occasional actions such as buying a piece of equipment in a hardware store, there is more visualizing involved. But we still “see” ourselves walking out with that high-pressure water cleaner or being in possession of that special type of sandpaper. We don’t think “I’ll walk up to the door of the hardware store and see what happens.”

“Chris, are you joking or just being condescending?”, you might be thinking as you read this blog post slightly disappointed. No I am not. Extremely serious.

This blog post started out by listing small applications of the Principle of Life but the same proof can be seen around us for much larger things. We all know they exist, but we don’t recognize the old friend because he/she only looks different.

Have you heard of the singer Taylor Swift? If you had to guess, do you think that Swift saw herself at the top of the pop charts years before it happened? Do you think she made a Decision that it would work, or do you rather think someone walked up to her by chance and said “Oh you play the guitar? You’re not too bad at it, why don’t you try throwing a song out there and see what happens?”

Do we really believe that Swift got there “by accident” without seeing herself in videos and in concert? How about Prince who was known to play 20 instruments or more? Did it just fall into place by chance or did he make a Decision first?

Do we believe that college graduates around the world sit in a chair unsure of themselves to “see what happens”? Is this the secret to completing studies?

Of course not.

Whether it be tying a shoelace, erecting a building, landscaping a garden, composing a pop song or knowing French all these actions fall under the same Principle. The successful completion of ANY of our actions is embedded in Faith and Decision. In other words, we make a decision based on the knowledge that the action will happen.

When I said that unsuccessful learners of languages do something wrong and right in the same breath, this is what I meant: they know the “old friend” because they use the friend everyday. They know instinctively that to complete anything they have to make a Decision to give the impulse.

But their failure is in the nature of their Decision. One hundred percent of all failing learners of languages never saw themselves speaking French. They never visualized the moment they would follow their tutor’s instructions, complete the exercises, have pleasure discovering a new topic, feel themselves grow, gradually become fluent.

Instead, they only use the power of Decision to sign up for classes and that is exactly what they accomplish. They exactly got what they aimed for because the Principle of Life is perfect every time. They made a Decision, but not the right one.

This has nothing to do with “hoping the magic of the law of attraction will make things happen” as so many gullible people today seem to believe. It rather has to do with being able to make a decision and say:

“I will sign up for classes with the intention of being POST-LEARNING and this is what I will do because I have decided it will happen.”

Not only are the proofs of the Principle all around us in the physical world in the form of buildings, cars or shops, but they are observed in the little things we do like slicing cucumber and in the success of our favourite actors, researchers or singers.

I myself am living proof that only Decisions bring us the results we wish to find. Every single thing I have today was seen by myself before it happened. Not in a mystical way, but in a calm and rational manner: becoming a language teacher, making this website you are using, knowing German, being fit, being able to write songs… and the only things I CANNOT do are those for which I made not the slightest commitment.

I never made a decision to own a chain of grocery stores. Guess what, I don’t have one! I never decided to have a bodybuilder’s physique – I don’t have that either. I didn’t decide to make friends with everyone in my street – and I’m still not friends with them!

It is the same principle as for languages. The exact same.

In slow motion, and for it to be extremely clear:

You will know any language of your choice the day you decide to do so.


You will fail at learning it because of the absence of any Decision.

No decide = no result.

It’s basic. it’s easy and there’s nothing here you didn’t know. The only thing is that you forget about the Principle as soon as things seem complex. Your error is to only think it applies to simple things.


I bought some milk.

Because I made the decision. I saw myself with milk in my hand.

I learned WordPress.

Because I made the decision. I saw myself using WordPress.

I repainted my house.

Because I made the decision. I saw the house repainted.

I learned French.

Because I made the decision. I saw myself knowing French.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *