Be Happy

This time I wanted to share with you a story that I personally find very inspiring. I know that many of you will ask me afterwards, “Isn’t it sending a totally opposite message of what you have been telling us all the time?” It is not, and it is very important for you to understand that.

You will always hear me saying that we should step out from our comfort zone, and use smartly each second of our lives, that we should be committed to our goals and follow our dreams in spite of everything.

However, it is essential for all of us to stay happy on that path of growth and live with joy every second of our new journey. It is extremely important to have our goals very clear in our heads, made of, fewer material things and more of emotions that we want to face and feel, and to free ourselves from the burden of fear called “What if it goes wrong”, being positively orientated and thus attracting only positive things, which I explained in my previous posts…

 

The Story of Mexican Fisherman

by Timothy Forriss

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked. 

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English. 

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked. 

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But… What do you do with the rest of your time?” 

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The Story of Mexican FishermanThe American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard MBA and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you could run your expanded enterprise with proper management.” 

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, señor, how long will all this take?” 

To which the American replied, “15-20 years, 25 tops.”

“But what then, senor?” 

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public, and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions senor? Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll in to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

 

The Story of Mexican FishermanNice story, isn’t it? However, I wanted to show it to you from another angle.

I was that “fisherman” for so long. I had chosen wisely that kind of life that needed zero effort to give me the maximum pleasure. So what went wrong?

It was not MY dream. I am NOT a fisherman. If you have wings, you should use them to fly, not to hang them on the wall.

If you have talents, they are not there for some strange reason. You have to find that reason and follow your star. Otherwise, you will live somebody else’s dream, not yours. It is absolutely fine, if your dream is to spend time with your friends and family drinking and dancing in a small village hidden from the world. However, if deep inside, you know that you are meant to be somewhere else, go for it. Follow your own dreams, and dream as big as you can.

I got to the point where, continuing living the idealistic life of mine meant starting dying slowly. I had neglected all my talents for so long, but they finally imposed, and stood for their rights.

Be happy and grateful for everything you already have, but at the same time find the courage to choose the unknown and steep path called progress, and to take the responsibility for your own lives.

What do you have to say? Leave me your comments below!

If you want to learn how to transform your passion into a successful online business, contact me via email.

 

Memory Card Technique for Learning Foreign Languages

memory card technique for learning foreign languages

This time I will show you how to use my memory card technique for learning foreign languages. I started using it while I was still at the University. We were supposed to memorize huge sentences in Latin and ancient Italian language, and as long as they were written on paper in some kind of logical order I somehow managed to reproduce them.

However, as soon as I tried to reach them individually, without context, it became much more difficult. Then I started using these cards, and the results were so fascinating even to me personally, that I immediately classified them as one of my basic teaching techniques.

During my classes, when I finish explaining a new grammar topic, I always give my students a task to translate a few sentences from native to foreign language. These sentences always contain a new grammar topic, some new or less familiar words we mentioned during that class and an actual event, which creates an emotional connection between students and sentences, which they recognize then as close, interesting, and relevant. For me as a teacher, it would surely be much easier to use always the same sentences, already prepared, but then, I would not be able to create that precious emotional connection.

memory card technique for learning foreign languages
Memory Cards

After we check and correct them, their next task is to copy those sentences to small papers (usually 1/32 of an A4 format, meaning an A4 format folded in half 5 times), so that each sentence is written on the separate paper. In such a way we avoid the effect of the “memorized image”, I spoke about last time. The sentence in the mother tongue is always written in blue for example, and its translation is always red, with no intention to create any psychological effects, but to make it easier to pick them up and put them together if they scatter.

I insist on using small papers because it is the only way that we can have them with us all the time, on the plane, in the wallet, or simply in an empty box of chewing gums. Thus, whenever we find ourselves stuck in a queue or in traffic jam, during the day, we can take them out and use this time wisely instead of getting annoyed.

The next phase is, naturally, crucial. We read the sentences in our language (blue side) and try to translate them to the language we want to learn to speak. It is not something that we should learn by heart, because we are already familiar with the grammar and new words in them. We should learn them as an ideal basis for making hundreds of new similar combinations.

When we give the answer, we turn the paper and check its accuracy on the red side. If we make a mistake, we should try to understand why we did it, and then we put that paper on the bottom of the pile. If we are just insecure or insufficiently fast, the paper goes to the bottom again. Only if we give the answer promptly and accurately, we can put that paper aside.

learning foreign languages.

When we encounter the same paper for the second time, we should translate it easier. If this is not the case, paper will end up again at the bottom of the pile. After the second and the third round, the pile will start getting smaller, and our attention can concentrate on the most difficult ones. It is important to keep going through them, until we learn the last paper. We should repeat the whole procedure the next day, then in 3, and in 7 days. It is always amazing to see how well some of them manage to escape from our memory.

As a result, we will always have the latest 10 or 20 papers that we know badly, the next 20 that still torture us, but the pile of those ones that we know excellently will grow day in day out, and they represent our real knowledge.

What do we get with this?

  1. We learn some new grammar rules.
  2. We learn some new words.
  3. We create a basic sentence that we can easily adjust to new situations.
  4. Most importantly, we create an automatic response in a foreign language, and therefore spontaneous speech.

I will end this by sharing a personal experience of mine. After several months of studying with these cards, I went to my exam, got my questions, and naturally remembered everything without a problem, but what amazed me and my professors most, was the ease and the speed of my language. It was completely spontaneous and smooth.

Do try this simple system and tell me about your experiences.

If you want to receive updates about my new posts, please leave me your email address in the “contact” section.

Language Learning Tips – Words

Talking to my friends who would like to engage with me in some sort of online business, I often encounter their lack of knowledge or insufficient knowledge of the English language, as an obstacle. The opportunities that a global world market can offer are far greater than any local and national ones, and therefore using English for work, for me was a logical choice. Furthermore, the system I have chosen to get the necessary knowledge and experience for this job, offers training, brand-new software and support of more than 2,000 members on the same path of growth, always ready and eager to help, but in English.

Hence my need for trying to share my 25 year long experience in language teaching and all the things that could make the learning easier, or even more interesting and entertaining, in the next blogs on the site. I am a professor of Italian language and literature, my mother tongue is Serbian, I learned English and Russian at school and now I am studying Greek for fun.

My students achieve remarkable results because we use all the resources we have to make studying easier and more enjoyable and we use some tricks to fool our own brain so that it does not deceive us.

How do you study new words? The answers I get to this question are fascinating. Some students repeat them a few times, or read them once and simply try to memorize. Some of them make lists with the words and their translation and keep reading them.

Imagine that you have a list of 30 new words, you learn them for a while and then, only after a few hours, during a test or in a conversation, you cannot remember many of them.

Then maybe you start repeating learned words, and your brain already knows which word is the next one below and which is the last one. This is because the brain memorizes the picture of the list and reproduces it at that moment, but it has nothing to do with real knowledge and it is not of a permanent character.

If you try to use a word from the list the next day, there are great chances that you will be very angry at your bad memory. After all, what did you actually do?

Imagine that you are a great fan of t-shirts and you are fond of buying them. Every day you buy some and put them in your wardrobe, without order. There is now a chaotic pile there, but you love it. Then, it happens that you need a yellow t-shirt with the green strips and you know you have it, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot possibly find it. The same thing happens in your head with words. There is no hook in the sea of them, which will draw the desired word to the surface.

However, if you hang the t-shirts in the closet, the situation will be completely different. No matter how many T-shirts there are, the sleeve of the one you want will still be visible and easy to find.

Thus, the most important thing in learning foreign words and languages in general is creation of associations. My younger students, after just a few lessons, become little experts in making them, and the older ones, used to repetitive learning, find it a bit harder, but they also start liking it as soon as they experience the first benefits of lasting and reliable memory.

associations

  1. Make a list of thirty words of a foreign language, and write their meaning on the right
  2. Read them and try to create a good association to each one of them. For example, the Serbian word for a monkey is “majmun”. Pronounced, this irresistibly reminds me of “my Moon”, so you should try to imagine the Moon in the sky that itches like a monkey. In addition, if you can “hear” the sound of it or “see” for example, the red color of its cap, the association will be better and more reliable. The more connected ideas to the desired word you make, the better the association gets. We can take for example, the Italian word for a tree “albero”. It looks like Albert, doesn’t it? Then imagine Albert Einstein sitting under a tree, rubbing his mustaches and thinking about relativity! It takes a little time and effort when you first encounter a new word but this way is far more efficient than learning it by heart, which usually, very soon ends up with forgetting.
  3. Cover the right side of the list and make sure you know the translation of each foreign word.
  4. Cover the left side now and try to translate the words in the opposite direction, from your language.
  5. Ideally, give someone to read them to you randomly to avoid the “memorized image”, i.e. what the brain has visually scanned, which, in most cases has nothing to do with knowledge.

Next time, I will introduce you to my “technique of small papers” that you will be able to use also for word learning later. From week to week, I will try to pass on to you many things that I have created for my students during all these years, that made their learning process of foreign languages much easier and much more fun. If you want to receive updates about new posts, leave me your email address in the “contact” section, and if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Fear of Change

Fear of Change

The more time I spend on the Internet communicating with people and talking to my closest friends, the bigger is my need to write a few lines about a terrible phenomenon that is deeply rooted in our society, called indecision, indifference and lethargy.

We all face problems and ours are always both the biggest and the most terrifying. There are people who, when they encounter a problem, do their best to solve it, and those ones who will keep complaining about it, no matter how much advice they get, without even considering the possibility to apply some.

Is it possible that our fear of change is so big that we stay immobile and prefer keeping the existing, obviously poor state, to taking a risk and getting, maybe, something worse? Life is not a gamble. In most cases, it is the product of our decisions and our choices.

Why are we so averse to accepting the responsibility for our own lives?

Fear of Change
Fear of Change

I will give you just a couple of examples.

I know many women who remain in catastrophic marriages and relationships just because of mere material security, or because of their children, thus giving them immediately the perfect model to avoid in their lives. In the worst cases, they choose to stay together to have company for parties, restaurants or holidays.

If they dare to leave their bad relationships or marriages, they usually do it only hoping to find better partners who will provide them with more satisfying lives. Do we really estimate our abilities so poorly? How about trying to build the life of our dreams on our own, that will consequently, bring the right people to us.

Let me give you an easier example. Many of my friends are struggling to lose weight. I often hear them saying that I am a lucky girl, the same for years, that I cannot gain weight. Oh yes, I certainly can.

The only difference is that I prefer being slim to a donut or to a glass of wine or beer. Such an explanation immediately brings negative comments that I am a slave to life, instead of enjoying it. On the contrary, I always take the maximum of it. I enjoy eating out. I adore chocolates and sweets, but from time to time and moderately. To be able to enjoy my favorite sweets whenever I want, I exclude buying those, always available ones, in the supermarkets. It also saves a lot of money! I will have dinner at a beautiful restaurant once or twice a week, but all the other meals during that week will be light and controlled.

Take Control

I often hear many of my young students complaining about their look. They say that they prefer sitting in front of a computer or TV in the evenings or at weekends to going out with friends and exposing themselves to possible unpleasant comments about their overweight. They feel embarrassed, but they take another bite of a pizza anyway. I try to explain, that the age they have, with all its privileges comes once in a lifetime and that they have to take full advantage of it. Sacrificing now something that will be at their disposal all their lives, will enable them to enjoy something else that belongs just to that specific period of life. It is now that they should receive so many compliments every day, they will remember for the rest of their lives, and meet more new people than ever again later.

Then I tell them to ask themselves if that tasty burger or chocolate are worth losing a compliment or a smile of a handsome young man or a beautiful girl or staying at home. If their answer is yes, it is perfectly fine, because it is then their choice. We all have our own priorities. If instead, we do something and feel the need to justify our behavior, then we talk about our weaknesses. We should enjoy our passions but should also be aware of our weaknesses and try to defeat them.

The same goes for the job. I know so many people that simply hate Mondays! They do their 9 to 5 jobs waiting for the weekend, or even worse, for their retirement. That is when they will compensate everything they missed in their youth. I seriously doubt it. Aging still carries its limitations.

I also know some unemployed people, and whenever I start talking to them about numerous possibilities of working online nowadays, they immediately find at least three times as many excuses not to do such a thing. Then I am ready to hear again – “It is easy for you. You do not have a preaching boss who gets on your nerves. You go on holiday whenever you want, you travel wherever you want.” They are actually right. Now they are. But I know very well that it took a lot of courage for me as a young girl, to take on the responsibility for my decisions and to start my own business, choosing it among  seemingly more favorable opportunities offered to me at the time, and to keep growing it later, even as a single parent.

Fear of Change

Can you then imagine the reaction to this new initiative of mine? At the moment when my work finally allows me to live not too luxurious, but rather comfortable and carefree life, I decide to embark on a completely unfamiliar field of digital marketing and online business. It takes a lot of self-control to spend evenings and weekends when everybody else relax or have fun, working on self-development and learning something completely different and new. At the same time I am fully aware that we will not be able to resist to this trend much longer and that we need to jump in as soon as possible.

That is my choice. The freedom that this knowledge gives is invaluable. Instead of living peacefully, I consciously embark on a new challenge that brings no risk, but requires devotion and consistency. The training is both interesting and useful. Every day I am a witness of my personal improvement and it gives me great satisfaction.

If I could give every one of you just a little bit of my passion and desire to move you forward to a better life and to your dreams coming true, I would do it. Still, I am afraid you will have to find it by yourselves. Always bear in mind that “fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Your Life Is Your Choice

The New Year is approaching and we all tend to analyze the previous year and to promise ourselves different wonders and impeccable behavior. Unfortunately, this mood usually lasts just for the first few days and then we all return to our usual habits and weaknesses. Then why are we so excited? Why do we blindly repeat this every year? Simply because the feeling, while visualizing them, is so good. Still, all it takes to accomplish them is to keep fantasizing and to stay positive.

I become aware of how positive thoughts are important to our lives a long time ago, in my early twenties. Today, you can find such studies everywhere, but at that time, I even risked looking weird, especially if I started talking about it enthusiastically. I also learned some techniques of relaxation, of passing from alpha to beta and delta states of consciousness, of treating with my own hands. I can assure you that each of these techniques worked perfectly for the first few months. If you come to a bus stop and want a bus, it comes right away. If you want to park your car, a free parking space is immediately in front of you. If you want to get your favorite questions at the exam? No problem.

Then you see John, a friend from the group who managed to lose 20 kilos using these techniques, or Mary who found a new job after a long time. However, as time passes, you slowly start forgetting the techniques and you spend less time visualizing your goals, for a simple reason that you actually do not know what you really want.

Finally, you start doubting that they had ever had an effect.

I remember that the only important thing for me then was to be slim, and I achieved it almost immediately, but I explained to myself that it would have happened anyway, with or without visualization. It might have. From this point of view, I find particularly interesting how my mind used to play with the visualization of my ideal partner. In fact, I always got exactly what I had asked for. However, as a rule, I would also discover an infinitely negative characteristic in them that I could not foresee. Much later, I learned to add this positive affirmation, while visualizing my ideal partner: “He always surprises me only in a positive way!”

It is interesting that, along with all my skepticism, and the absence of practicing, these techniques functioned perfectly in some critical moments.

I remember a situation when I went to clean the snow off the car in front my building, when my mother suddenly started shouting out of the window and calling me to go back immediately. She was in the house with my six-year old son and my father. Instead of imagining all possible versions of the catastrophe in my head, I forced myself to repeat one single sentence: “Everything is fine”, blocking in that way all the negative thoughts. Indeed, when I arrived, everything was fine. More precisely, my son had fainted while waiting in a warm jacket for me to call him to get downstairs, but when I arrived, he was completely fine.

I also remember when I had lost the car keys on a 300 meter long sandy beach in the morning, and found them six hours later, as soon as I applied the technique. Would I have found them without it? Maybe. Would everything have been fine at home even without those focused thoughts? Maybe. Still, I doubt.

Such examples are numerous. It was not difficult to draw a conclusion about what made some of them successful. It is not enough only to visualize your goals, no matter how well you do it, making them stronger by adding sounds, colors or scents. It also requires implementing deep, sincere emotions and unconditional faith.

Why am I telling you all this?

I have been working as a professor of languages for whole my life. I have hundreds of students whose way of learning in general changed drastically after my classes. I am loved and respected and the lists of new students, still waiting for me to teach them, are very long. However, at one point, I realized that working 9 hours a day is too much. Although I travel with my son 3 or 4 times a year, and dance very often, those are the only things I do for myself. Someone would say it is more than enough. However, I think our life is too short and we have to use every second of it wisely, loading it with new memories, feelings and knowledge.

I started thinking of filming my lectures and uploading them on YouTube, but also of other opportunities that online businesses offer, of digital marketing and of using my Instagram and Facebook accounts for it. I liked the idea of freedom to travel and work at the same time wherever and whenever I wanted.

Just then, accidentally or not, among so many offers to develop a successful online business, an offer came to me, and thanks to it, you are reading this today. The ideal one. They expected no particular computer skills from me. It is a comprehensive, detailed program, which guides you from point A to point B gradually towards the success and the goals you set for yourself. They asked for as much dedication as we could give, depending on how fast we wanted to reach our goals and the only thing they really required was a new mindset, positive and focused on success. The one that I have been familiar with all my life.

Everything matched.

Now only the sky is the limit. I wish this New Year brought you such awareness. Our brain is a magnet. If you think positively, positive things will come to you. If you think about problems all the time, they will always be at your disposal.

Write to me about your experiences. Have you managed to get rid of negativity and criticism so far?

Always remain positive and optimistic! Dream big, smile often, be grateful for everything you already have and enjoy every step of your journey!