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HOW did I actually learn Cantonese, as an adult?

I made the decision to do it.


A few years ago, I had a thought that I wanted to be able to speak in Cantonese, to the people in my life: my parents, my grandparents, and eventually my child.

I downloaded some textbooks. I made flashcards. Some days I studied for half an hour, sometimes I’d go for weeks without doing anything. I was doing it in fits and starts.

Then, I got pregnant and decided to take a six-month sabbatical. Here was my perfect chance to learn the whole language, front to back!

I started studying for three hours a day. I got a face to face teacher. I got an online teacher. I bought a program.

I figured if I could cram tons of studying into every day, that I’d be totally fluent by the time I had the baby!

As it turns out, there is a heck of a lot more to learning Cantonese than I realized. When the baby came, I realized: wow, I did so much work. But I still can’t speak Chinese.

I was so disappointed.

But at that moment, I realized I could do one of two things. I could do what I’ve done a MILLION times before, and give up and say: forget it, this isn’t worth it.

Or I could keep going until I reached my goal.

So I made a decision. I chose to keep pursuing my goal, regardless of how long or how much more work it took.

Why? Simply because I made up my mind to do it, and it was important to me.

Of course, my brain put up a huge fight, and I had a million considerations: I’m a new mom with a baby to look after, I’m never going to get there so why bother even trying, people tell me Cantonese is a dying language, so what’s the point of learning it?

But I knew those were just thoughts. And they weren’t serving me.

So I chose to focus on my Why. I focused on my possibility of being more connected to my family and giving my kid a piece of my heritage. I kept going.

It’s taken two years of concerted effort to get this far, but I can now hold a conversation with my father, I can translate simple children’s books, and I can understand my in-laws.

AND. I learned so much about myself.

Too many times in life, we allow our thoughts and considerations and circumstances to derail us. When we let ourselves off the hook, we lose confidence in our abilities to get what we want. We lose trust in ourselves. We chip away at our power.

But with every single step you take towards your goal, you gain confidence in yourself. You start to know yourself as someone who can create what they want in their lives.

So, what’s that area in your life where you’re craving a new result? DECIDE to commit to your goal, and take action. Yes, your brain is going to complain along the way. It’s super crafty, and it’s going to come up with some Grade A excuses and reasons why you can’t do it, or why you shouldn’t. But just Decide, and then move forward, one step at a time. And if you decide, and you take action, I promise, you WILL get there!

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