Chapter VII – Part 11

$ Wonderful! I’m goose pimply all over when you’re saying that. One more habit and we’ll close this subject for today.

$ Distraction. E.g. I have 30 minutes at my disposal and I decide to learn. I open my Student’s Book and I wonder what to do or I think of what I did last time. 5 minutes later I go to get a drink. I come back another 5 minutes later, a mug in my hand, I sit down and start asking myself: did one of the yesterday’s emails say next week or next month? It tortures me, so I switch the computer on and check it. It’s an opportunity to receive new emails, I delete some of them, I react to some others: I write an answer or call. Maybe I just swing the lead? I remember the first time when I call off our meeting. Our contract reads: ‘the Student can call the class off 24 hours before the class starts.’ We were supposed to meet at noon and in the morning I got a phone call: on one of my building sites there was an accident, I must go there. Paradoxically, in spite of being terrified by the accident, I was also joyful at having a really credible excuse not to see you. I don’t need to add that I hadn’t worked on the language since the previous meeting. I avoided shame, I gained time to catch up on my backlog. And then I had the … what do you call it? … something cognitive.

$ Cognitive dissonance.

$ Right. Cognitive dissonance that like a schoolboy I am ready to “kill” my grandma only to justify why I didn’t do my homework. I felt so bad about it that I completely couldn’t contact myself in this respect and I blamed you for everything. Do you remember?

$ I remember a discussion about one paragraph in our contract. You explained to me that it was out of your control whether you got such phone calls or not and why is the class supposed to get lost because of this.

$ Yes. And you told me that if that time turned out to be a test-case we would have this class at the end of the package I had bought. If it happens again, the class will get lost, according to our contract. Now I admire how experienced you are: of course I could not refuse a great pleasure of repeating the joy of having a really credible excuse. No sooner than at the third time did I confess to myself that it was handy from my point of view.

$ Congratulations on your insight! I feel overwhelmed!

$ What can I do about this habit?

$ Let me start with the other aspect: calling off the classes. Paradoxically, what occurs to me is to suggest not buying packages because they give you an illusion that your coach can perform your tasks in your place. You know how to learn foreign languages. Buy single classes once a month or less frequently and reserve our time no sooner than when you have 20 questions to ask me, you went through 3 Units etc.

$ I am able to do nothing half a year long.

$ If this is your path to understand that the results of your study depend exclusively on you, follow it. If appointments with your coach are your unique impulse to learn, you know better than me how to stifle this impulse. And as for getting distracted while learning, I was very much impressed when you said: Today I will get around to learning in spite of my doubts in success. In my opinion “today” is the key word. Or even: “within the next 30 minutes”. I eat and drink before if I need to, I switch off the radio, the telephones, the computer. If some thoughts start torturing me while I’m learning, I put it down and get back to it 30 minutes later. How is that for you?

$ I don’t know. I’ll have a look at this.

$ Good luck!

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