Creative Status: Episode 26: Angela Blanco: The Acquisition of Realness

Children don’t JUDGE so they LEARN ?

Back when I was in Japan, my ability to speak Japanese got so much better when I was drinking sake (or whatever).

Was this because of the magical properties that this drink had or was there something else going on?

Well…as it turned out when I was drinking sake something magical did happen:

I stopped analysing everything and just allowed myself to FLOW.

Without the “inner monitor” watching everything that I did and causing me to hold back I was able to let my brain do what it needed to do and the words started flowing.

These days, I don’t drink very often but I still let things FLOW in the way that they need to (not just with Japanese which, tbh, I forgot most of, but with LIFE itself).

The only real difference is that I TRAINED MYSELF not to worry, doubt, or hold myself back and now I spend a lot of time in the flow state just doing what needs doing and riding those reality waves where I wanna go.

Real life is a LANGUAGE and you can learn to speak it by being REAL with yourself.

In this episode of Creative Status, I have a chat with Angela Blanco (@light.spanish), a professional language tutor and founder of her own online language school.

She shares her philosophy of tapping into your CREATIVE SUPERPOWER and how this has application to life as a whole.

Angela believes that the key to learning a new language is not just in teaching it, but in helping students develop an effective and realistic routine of self-study.

By understanding their intelligence type, whether visual, kinesthetic, or whatever else, students can own their language acquisition process and acquire the language faster – in the process they face themselves and become more REAL so we can call this a creative process.

During the interview, Angela discusses how language learning can benefit mental health, self-improvement, and self-confidence.

If you’re looking to learn a new language, just interested in language acquisition and its benefits, or if you’re simply a curious and open-minded human being that wants to be more REAL then this episode is for you.

Listen on any podcast player or use the embedded player above.

All episodes on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6UG491sXbZv6fUKIMVrIT6


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Episode Links:

Do the ‘superpower’ test here: ⁠⁠https://www.lightspanish.co.uk/test-english⁠⁠

Angela’s Instagram: ⁠https://www.instagram.com/light.spanish/⁠

Angela on LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelablancospanish/

Creative Status Links:

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Show Transcript

Intro

Oli Anderson: Oh hi there, Oli Anderson here, you’re listening to Creative Status. This is a podcast about using your creativity to improve your life, basically by helping you to figure out a strategy for moving towards wholeness and connection to the wider world and universe around you.

Basically, again that word basically, this involves deconstructing your ego, looking at how your sense of identity is holding you back, looking at what hides behind that sense of identity in the shadow territory, and then integrating all of these different parts of yourself so that you can become whole, start flowing, manifesting, living a real life that you actually want to live where you feel truly that it means something because you’re not bullshitting yourself and holding back behind all kinds of illusions and blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, this podcast episode is an interview with Angela Blanco. Angela is a Spanish tutor. She has her own business where she helps people to acquire the language of Spanish. What we wanted to do in this conversation is basically to explore that from a kind of philosophical point of view, looking at how it relates to all of the realness stuff that we like to talk about on this podcast, how the process of language acquisition is actually a creative process, and what it can tell us about the wider human condition, human nature, how we all have different superpowers and how we can tap into those in order to get the results that we want from life.

So basically what I’m saying is that word again, basically, there is a ton of really interesting stuff here in this conversation. Hope you’re going to get some value out of it. I’m pretty sure you will if this is your bag, baby. So if you listen to it, let me know what you think. Hope it gives you some good stuff. And Angela, thank you so much for coming on and letting me interview you, asking you these questions. And everybody else, see you next Monday for another episode of Creative Status. Keep it real.

Stay in the flow. Boom. Here we go.

Interview

Oli Anderson: Oh, hi there. Angela, thank you so much for joining me today on this episode of Creative Status. We had a brief chat a week or two ago, and it basically revolved around how people can get in touch with their creative superpower as a human being.

So I’m assuming we’re going to talk about a lot of that stuff today. Before we get into it, do you feel like just introducing yourself and letting people know exactly what it is you do and what you’re hoping to get out of this conversation today?

Angela Blanco:  Sure. Well, thanks, Oli, for having me on your podcast.

It’s great to be here. My name is Angela Blanco. I am the founder of Light Spanish. We help people from all over the world to become fluent in Spanish.

And yeah, mainly our main desire is to make people feel more comfortable and confident in their own process of learning to speak a foreign language.

Oli Anderson: Wow. So obviously this podcast is about creativity. So where would you say is the main link between the work you do and the creative process? Like what kind of things have you learned through helping other people learn that might be able to help people live a better life in general?

Angela Blanco: Yeah. Well, the fact of being involved with the ability to learn to communicate and to, well, let’s say translate, although translate is not exactly the word because, well, the idea is that your brain is creating ideas and you have to be able to transmit those ideas in a new language. It could be your mother tongue, it could be any language.

So yeah, the fact of working on that process, I think is constantly making you think around these topics of creativity and abilities that can make that process more smooth and nice for people.

Oli Anderson: So just to open it up a bit then, would you say that learning a language is, is it just about remembering things by rote? So remembering what the word dog means in one language and then going through the process of just translating that in your head to the next language or is there something more going on?

Is there something where you have to be more intuitive or where you have to be more, I don’t know, just spontaneous or get out of your own way? Like what is the deeper thing that you might have learned around just language itself by doing the work that you do?

Angela Blanco: That’s a great question. Well, the thing is at the beginning, at the very beginning, it’s something very, I don’t know, basic of what you say, translating information in the tongue that you know, that you speak and the language that you are learning. But of course, that has to, if you want to become fluent, you have to change that because otherwise it’s very, exhausting. I would say that you were spending twice the calories than normally you burned, trying to think in your mother tongue and then translate it into another language and then say it right correctly to the people that would be exhausting.

So just imagine if I were doing that right now, this podcast would take hours, right? So the thing is that the ability to take that information that is given by dictionaries, books, tutors, whatever, and make it yours to make it something that you can transmit, that it becomes that your brain is going to connect your thoughts and your emotions directly to that language. That’s the thing that needs a lot of thinking and a lot of planning and that takes time and that was well, I’m very passionate about this topic. So it’s an amazing thing that happens in your brain and when you’re able to do it, well, it’s amazing, but it happens just through knowing yourself and learning about yourself and how you process information. Something that we don’t learn when we’re at school.

Oli: Yeah, at school they just teach you the words, this is a cat, this is a dog, this is a chair, but actually what you’re talking about is unconscious competence, like you can get to that stage of learning where you’ve integrated so much that the language like you just said, it becomes yours. So it becomes a personal thing and the way that we use language and the choices we make and the style, I guess, in which we speak and make our own, that actually is the highest level ultimately of being articulate with the language, but I suppose you could apply that also to any creative process.

It’s the same journey every time, isn’t it? Like you start with the basic building blocks, like a color palette or certain words or whatever it is, but then as you go deeper into it, it becomes part of you and like part of your experience as a human being and then everything you do with it is a true expression of yourself. So now I’m getting really excited and passionate about things, but thank you.

But do you think that’s, I don’t know, is that a fair thing to say? So basically language is a creative thing, language learning is a creative thing, because like any other creative process, you take in the building blocks, you play around with them a little bit, but then eventually if you keep going, you can get to that stage where it truly becomes part of you, I guess.

Angela:  Absolutely, yeah, that’s the case and it’s great that you compare it to art. Well, I play the guitar, so I know kind of the process of getting that music language into yourself and being able to transmit it. And I could say that there’s lots of things in common because of that, creating that connection that is between your emotions and this new code, let’s say, to transmit yourself.

So yeah, I mean, even if you or any listener is not into learning a language, let’s say, I would recommend just to research on that because it’s been, it’s been very interesting, the studies that have been existing around it about how speaking a language, for example, at the beginning makes your personality change a little bit because you are sort of developing your personality through that language and it could make you very rational and, I don’t know, logical at the beginning and it’s more difficult to transmit your feelings.

But I would say from my own experience that over the time, the more you are involved with the language and the more you grow, let’s say, in that language, the more you’re able to transmit your emotions. But both of these are process, so it’s very similar in that aspect to art or to any skill that requires that whole, I don’t know, connection with the skill, with the information.

Oli: Yeah, 100%. A major theme that keeps coming up in this podcast is that the creative process can actually be anything. It’s not just about painting a picture or taking photos or whatever it is, it can literally be anything that helps you to increase awareness of yourself and then allows you to express yourself to a heightened degree, basically. Because as you go through the creative process, you basically, you become a more holistic or whole version of yourself.

And so what you’re saying actually is something I never thought about, but just learning a language is exactly the same process. You start off, you’re in alien territory, you’ve got a right through uncertainty, you’ve got to fill your head with new information in that case. But as you keep moving forward, like I’ve kind of been a broken record, but as you keep moving forward, you and the form that you’re working with, which is language in this case, it becomes one thing, or maybe there’s a slight gap between the words and the person if you want to get philosophical, but ultimately, it becomes an extension of you.

So with that being said, if you agree with it, how do people, you know, what kind of journey in general, would you say, people have to go through to get from that stage of conscious incompetence, I guess, where they know that they’re not very good at something to becoming totally fluent and being able to truly express themselves just without even thinking with complete competence, if that makes sense?

Angela: Yeah, well, that’s the, that’s the one million question.

And there have, there have been lots of theories around it. What is, I mean, not only what happens, but what is the best way to make it happen? I would say that the very beginning, you have this data, right, that is, or sounds, maybe in the form of sounds that you just listen and you say, well, that means something to someone amazing, but for me, it’s just impossible to understand, or letters or in some languages, different alphabets for systems of writing, right? That’s the first approach you have when everything is just that extra information. And the question is how you’re going to acquire it.

How are you going to learn it? There is an aspect of memorizing that information, but also what is going to be more efficient for you to own it, right? So by asking yourself how I’m going to jump from seeing this information, memorizing it, and making it my own. Well, that’s the trick, and that’s what I mainly put more of my energy on.

And that’s why I talk a lot about learning styles as a way to solve that question. And yeah, we name it superpowers because I truly believe that we have that, that our brain has some skills that are stronger, and that that makes us actually very powerful and make us more creative and more able to jump those steps and become fluent in the case of my business. Yeah.

Oli: Yeah. So this is a perfect segue into that, then, the superpowers thing. So can you tell us a little bit more about, you know, your definition of what a superpower is and then maybe give some examples as well?

Angela: Yeah. Well, I use the word superpower. But definitely that has a theory behind. It’s more about the learning styles. That’s something that some psychologists in the past have been studying about how we are, let’s say, wired in a way that make us capable of processing information in an easier way through some income or some input, actually.

So, for example, some people are very good listening, maybe probably the people who is right now listening to this episode, they could be, I don’t know, washing dishes or going for a run or just going to walk. And some of the information that they’re listening to right now is going to stick in the brains and maybe they will be able to repeat it and to talk about it in the future. But not everyone is like that. And despite of being listening on radio, a very famous media system, there is also TV. So some people are more visual and are able to talk about those things easily if they were able to see, to watch what was happening.

So that’s for mentioning just two of them. But of course, we can be talking about musical visual ability to interact with others and learning through the interaction with others or that are more related to movement or more kinesthetic. Some people learn more when they’re able to move or act or apply things in a more physical way. So that’s the sort of what I mean through the superpower, that ability that you have.

And that, intuitively, you know that you have, but you think that you cannot use it for your own advantage because, well, when we’re at the school, we’re just passive, receiving information passively, right? So definitely, we think that maybe that’s not going to work, but we know that we have some abilities. And what we try to do is to motivate people to use those abilities, those superpowers again.

To use them for acquiring information and then for making it, well, to use it properly.

Oli: So the theory is that everybody has some kind of a superpower. And if they can tap into it or figure out what it is, then it’s going to make it easier for them to go down this path we were talking about earlier, where instead of just consciously having to think about everything and using the left brain for everything and just being very rational and logical and all that kind of stuff, they can go down this path towards doing things in a much more spontaneous, free, unconscious way where they’re making their art or their language or whatever it is their own.

So how do people find their superpowers? And does everybody have all of the superpowers? Would you say it’s a differing degree?

Angela: That’s a good question. Well, the way we find them through our way to react to information, as I mentioned, sometimes we see it more evidently. Sometimes we have to be told. Sometimes our friends know better about how we process information and they say, well, I always say this, you know, you’re good at this or you are very good at recommending music.

I don’t know, you have a thing for recommending good music or podcasts or whatever. So sometimes our friends or our family are better at detecting those things. But we know it as well. I think that people know deeply that they have some of those talents or superpowers. And yeah, sometimes we have more than one. I mean, mentioning that list, of course, there are eight different types of intelligences.

That’s how it is named originally. We have different percentages of all of them. So some people have a very high percentage that it goes to visuals. So they’re amazing, for example, with location GPS things or mind mapping or organizing concepts visually. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not good at listening, they’re not good into the, I don’t know, with interpersonal situations. But definitely, I mean, we can have different, different intelligences. We can have different superpowers. And the way to detect it, it could be through a very scientific way that there are some ways as tests and things that you can do.

But also intuitively, we know, we know what we’re good at. Somehow.

Oli: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you think sometimes people might make the mistake of, I guess, overly romanticizing or wanting to have a certain superpower because of how they might, how it makes them, how they think it’s going to make them look or because of their own self image and its desires and all that kind of stuff. And so sometimes people put themselves on the wrong path because they’re choosing things because of their own, I guess, emotional relationship with themselves.

Is that something that might happen?

Angela: Yeah, yeah, there are some intelligences, some superpowers that are more fashionable than others. So to speak, because, well, that’s cool, or in general, because of the way the world works. I would mention one of them that is the logical mathematical intelligence or superpower is considered way more important or way more useful in life. Or at school, we name it, we decide that the intelligent people, we can say, yeah, he or she is intelligent because they’re good at science, because they’re good at maths, because they’re good at chemistry.

I don’t know. So, so yeah, there are some of them that we want to have because our parents or our tutors or professors at uni have told us that those are great. But I think it’s a shame, but yeah, definitely, definitely we have that pressure to be in good quotation marks, intelligent by being good at maths or things like that. So yeah, that’s the one that we unconsciously aspire to, the society.

Oli: Yeah, like when I was asking that question, that’s kind of what I was thinking. So in general, our society in our culture is really only in love with kind of conceptual left brain intelligence that you’re kind of talking about, where everything is ultimately about just being very linear, very results driven, not really about relationships and all that kind of stuff. It’s about facts. It’s about remembering things instead of experiencing things.

All that kind of limited knowledge or that limited approach to knowledge, it stops us from truly expressing ourselves and getting in touch with the realist version of who we are. I think I’m not saying we don’t need that. We obviously need to use our brains.

I think a lot of people try and they rebel against that and say that they just need to be following their hearts all the time and all this kind of stuff. Okay, great. But it’s one piece of the puzzle. And so do you think it’s fair then to say that the education system is super limited in a way still, even in this day and age 2023. Do you think it still has quite a myopic view of what it means to be intelligent, but also to be a human being based on what you’ve learned with, you know, all the things you’re talking about?

Angela:  Yeah, well, you mentioned this day and age. The fact is that it hasn’t changed a lot during the last hundreds. So, so yeah, it’s still not working very well. I have this chat with, well, actually, with the people I teach Spanish to and I think the fact that you are in front, let’s say as a tutor that you’re in front of 30 or I don’t know, depending on the country in my country, sometimes 45 people could be in the same classroom.

I don’t know quite well how is it in the UK. But the fact that you have 45 or well 30, let’s say 30 to not to make it too dramatic, but very different, different human beings in front of you, right. And all of them with different experiences with different superpowers, right. And you have this book of information about who knows history or something like that.

You won’t be able to transmit or to guide people to acquire that information, mainly because there is just one possible way. Maybe this traditional way is going to work for some people, some of them. And that’s why sometimes you listen to people who say, actually, I learned that at school and you’re like, okay, I don’t remember anything from school.

Right. So maybe because the way of acquiring knowledge, luckily was similar to the traditional way of learning, right, that we have school. But some others just say like, no, I didn’t, I didn’t learn anything about physics or yes, I did. I memorized that for the exam.

I did my exam and never use it again. That wasn’t meaningful. That wasn’t a meaningful experience to you.

So your brain just playing it, you know, it’s in the short memory section because it wasn’t given to you in the right way. So I advocate for smaller groups or more personal interactions with information and with knowledge or the capacity of being autonomous because that’s the only real way that you’re going to learn. So, so yeah, yeah, I suffer a lot talking about education. But I’m doing my best to not to get too sad.

Oli: Yeah, don’t be upset.  It’s okay. We’ll figure it out. So basically what you’re saying, it goes back to what we were saying at the start about making things our own. So in the case of language learning, you can go deeply into the process and eventually it’s not just about the conceptual stuff, the words and how the grammar might work and all these little conceptual rules that we remember. It becomes something that’s deeply embedded within us and becomes part of our experience.

But what you’re saying is that the education system really only focuses on the earliest stages in general terms. It focuses on the earliest stages of that continuum or spectrum where it’s just about the conceptual stuff, the superficial stuff, the things that are easy to kind of, you know, test and analyze and to, you know, give people marks for and all that kind of stuff. But to make it truly meaningful, the education system needs to go deeper into, I suppose, like offering experiences or some kind of experiential understanding where people can actually really embed this knowledge that we’re talking about that they’re learning in their experience of themselves.

So if you agree with that, what are some things that could be done maybe to kind of take people deeper into this kind of thing we’re talking about of unconsciousness competence?

Angela: Yeah, no, no, definitely. I agree with you and what you say. And I think when you mentioned this experience that we have at school for when we learned, well, learned in quotation marks again, to speak a language. Yeah, we just get to the most superficial part of it, where the further the furthest that we go in this process is just to maybe decodify and very strictly the word to decodify some of the things that are being told in a text.

So you say, okay, this one looks a little bit similar to this word in English, so it should mean something like this. So you write it down and you do your best and you try to, yeah, literally decodify what is being told there, but you are not able to use those codes to transmit a new idea. You cannot create, you cannot talk about yourself when you are having a nice beer in the coast of Spain or who knows in Latin America, you are not able to have a chat, right, with a Spanish or with French or with a mandarin or with any language, because you’re just able to decodify.

So you just get to the very basic level of it. It’s like, I don’t know, for the case of musicians, it’s like if you learn to read a score and you know that that’s a C or that’s a B or whatever, but you don’t know how it sounds and you don’t know how to create a new song with it or you don’t know how those notes interact with each other and create a chord. None of those things are being told to school, we just know that, yeah, Gato is cat and yeah, I saw that somewhere and I’m able to decodify it. So yeah, yeah, it’s sad and then you learn that languages are impossible, right? It’s like, I don’t know how people make it because it’s very difficult, I learned nothing at school, I must be bad at it, I should suck at it because definitely I’m not able to do it, I’ve never been able to do it and it’s just because, well, we actually never tried a lot to do.

Oli: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So far we’ve kind of, I suppose, blamed the education system for making people focus on just the conceptual stuff, but in a way, I think a lot of people, they like the conceptual knowledge because it’s easier to control and you can decode if I let you say it, you can rearrange things, you can look things up in a dictionary or whatever, it’s all very, very easy to kind of work with, but in order to, I suppose, become more skilled at using the knowledge you’re picking up in that way – you kind of have to let go of it and that’s when it becomes kind of an inner journey.

I think everything is an inner journey, to be honest, but like in this case, it’s almost like if you don’t have a certain relationship with yourself and you don’t have certain qualities in yourself or that you’re not committed to developing those qualities, then you’re never going to be able to go down this path that we’re talking about from conscious to unconscious competence, if that makes sense.

And yeah, so what kind of, I guess, inner qualities or what kind of inner understanding do people need to get to or develop in order to be able to successfully navigate this path that we’re talking about?

Angela: Yeah, well, I was thinking about what you mentioned about this inner knowledge and that’s definitely the case. I think that’s why some of the words in every language that I’ve been able to speak, one of the words I love is autonomy, because I think that’s the capacity of telling to yourself what you should do, right? What you should be able to do for yourself, you’re responsible of yourself.

So when you’re autonomous, you’re able to own those things and you know that that depends on you. Yes, you’re right, we have been talking about this, the education system and all of it, that the only thing that it has been done to us is to create some misconceptions about what learning is, but it depends on ourselves to detach from that and say, okay, no, that’s not going to happen. Or why do I see, I land everything on the language aspect, but why do I see other people on the street speaking a different language and no, they weren’t born with it or that happened by magic or no, that didn’t happen that way, right? They had to put themselves into that task of learning to do it.

So I can do it as well. There must be a way and I mean talking about misconceptions around this topic, for example, people just say, well, kids are the only ones who are able to speak a foreign language. They are just, I don’t know, they learn because they were small and they’re sponges and they absorb everything. And we give that magical aspect to learning and we just look at it and cite, nostalgically saying, well, just if I would have been able to do it, right? But, well, I can say very fastly that that wasn’t my case.

I learned to speak English when I was already an adult. So it’s possible. It’s possible. And I’ve been working with over 500 students now.

And all of them were adults. I just work with professionals. I just work with adults who want to learn to speak the language and to be fluent for, I don’t know, relationships, traveling, professional development. So I know this possible is just only about what are you ready to do? And how much did you want to learn about yourself?

And how much do you want to try and possibly fail into the process of building your own path to acquire information, acquire the knowledge, acquire the language, and then be confident to speak it. So, yeah. You have to do it.

Oli: Yeah. And it does come back to that word that you’ve shared, “autonomy”, because ultimately it’s up to us and the choices that we make about our relationship with ourselves. And so if people, you know, they have too much shame that they need to work on or if they’re just insecure or whatever it is, then they’re going to be control freaks, basically.

And control freaks almost always need their conscious mind in order to kind of try and shape and mold reality to their expectations and social programming so that they don’t go out of their comfort zone and have to face uncomfortable emotions. And so actually, when you were talking, what I was thinking is whether it’s in learning a language or it’s in the artistic process or just creating things in general or learning a new skill, whatever it is, it’s in learning people’s life. If you’re doing something in life, the conscious mind and the programming that you get and the identity that you pick up because of that, it’s almost like the stabilizers on a bike.

You know, when you’re riding a bike, you’re learning to ride a bike as a kid, you’ve got the stabilizer wheels on the side. Like the conscious mind is like that. But eventually, you have to take those stabilizers off and just go your own way and find your own way to like maintain balance and keep going and all that kind of stuff and ride through uncertainty, basically. And this process that you’re talking about is exactly the same thing. The problem is, people obviously identify with their conscious mind and they identify with all the expectations and all the assumptions and so on and so forth that come with it.

And it holds them back. One thing that I experienced when I was learning a language, I learned Japanese although I’ve forgotten most of it now, but I lived in Japan for four years. That was great. Yeah, so I was getting lessons and everything and it was good. I could remember everything. I was picking up certain words like in the way that you’re talking about, like a neko means cat, for example.

So wow, go me. I can translate and all that kind of stuff. But what I noticed was, if I got really drunk and I was drinking loads of sake or something, my Japanese would be like a million times better. And it’s because the conscious mind was gone. Like I took the stabilizers off thanks to the sake.

And that’s it. I was just really not fluent while I was just going for it. I’d have no problems. I could understand people.

Etc, etc. And the only difference was that my mind and my self judgment and my ability to face uncertainty and be spontaneous had all kind of changed a little bit, but it wasn’t a major thing that changed. I just went from being really attached to my conscious mind and overly thinking about everything to getting further down this path you’re talking about of doing things in a more unconscious way. So first of all, have you experienced that yourself? It sounds like it with the alcohol thing. And if so, why is this a thing? Like what is going on?

Angela: Yeah, yeah. Are you feeling the sake has some hidden power to make people speak languages?

Oli: I think that’s what it is. You should start selling it like with your lessons, your Spanish lesson. I know.

Angela: I’m going to put it on the website.

Oli Yeah, throw some sake in there.

Angela: Yeah, I know what you mean. There’s been lots of jokes around it. Yeah, definitely because when we’re on that state, we don’t care too much about our ego. And I think you have mentioned that in all the episodes that I’ve listened and that your ego sometimes is your biggest enemy.

Oli: Yeah, 100%.

Angela: And that’s exactly the case with that effect that the alcohol can make in your ability to speak another language.

And it’s very theoretically about it. There is at the beginning of your process of learning to speak a language, you have a sort of monitor. This is called monitor exactly. That is telling you to tell you what is right and what is wrong in the language, right? Because consciously you won’t be able to do it yet.

At the beginning you need a little tutor, let’s say in your brain telling you, no, that’s actually not the right word. You should pick this one. Or remember that you see that in that movie? Maybe you should use that word instead of this word.

Whatever. That little, let’s say, angel that is in our brain telling us what to do. But we have to, I say to misstudies, we have to kill that little monitor after a while because it’s not going to love us to move forward. It’s not going to help us to get fluent because it’s all the time passing everything that you are saying into a sort of filter of what is right and wrong.

And that doesn’t help for speaking. You start thinking, and then your brain said, oh my God, we don’t know it. We don’t know it. Or we’re going to do, we’re bad at this. I told you we should have never learned to speak Japanese, for example.

Your brain is starting to get in dramatic and everyone is looking at you and you should be shy or ashamed because of not speaking the language. That’s your ego telling you. And we as adults, we’re not good dealing with that. We don’t want to look weak in front of others.

And cultural aspects is even more complicated. I imagine you know that. So that’s when alcohol could come where your help and help you to. to say deem down, that ego thinking yourself. And you don’t mind, you’re having a good time, you’re having nice food and enjoying, and people smile at you when you say a word is working, so let’s keep doing it. I don’t know what is happening, but this is working. So you have killed, again, that monitor that is not allowing you to move to the next step in the learning process of the language that is, well, to make it unconscious.

It’s still very conscious. I think that’s one of the things. I’m not recommending people to come to a language session or to speak languages, always being drunk. But that helps you to learn about yourself. So imagine that happened to you, Ollie. You realized that you were able to do it, and after that, even without alcohol, you say, well, I were able to do it that night, and I was feeling tired, and I was a little drunk, but I did it, so it means I can do it.

It means I’m able to speak. So yeah, yeah.

Oli: Wow. I love that phrase that you threw in there about killing the monitor. Like, one thing I love trying to do on this podcast is just taking random things that people do and work on, and kind of extrapolate lessons from it into life itself. And actually, what you just said about the inner monitor, some people spend their whole lives living like that, walking around, and they’ve got this monitor in their head, basically judging everything that they do and making them hold back from doing the things that they want to do, and say, oh, this is wrong, this is right.

They’re just obsessed with, I suppose, the correctness of their actions, and because they’re analyzing everything before they do anything, these kind of people just end up hesitating and holding back, judging themselves, and it’s always that ego thing that you mentioned, a lack of self-acceptance and a lack of acceptance of life and just how it works. And if you can kill that monitor in life or in the creative process or in language learning like you’ve shared, you can go down that pathway of conscious to unconscious really very quickly.

The only thing stopping people going down that pathway is themselves, in most cases, and their relationship with themselves and how they see themselves and all that kind of thing. So obviously we’ve used alcohol as an example of a way to kill the monitor, or at least put the monitor to sleep for maybe a few hours, but have you got any, I guess, more salubrious or healthier ways of doing that? Like what are some healthy, practical ways to kill the monitor in life or language learning or anything else, I guess?

Angela: Yeah, yeah, that would be not very professional from ourselves to have it as the conclusion. Well, in worst cases in areas, maybe you need it, use it with cohesion, but yeah, when you’re in daily life situations and you want to kill that monitor or that ego, I think we come back to the same thing, and it’s about mindset.

You have to approach the process of learning anything with the best mindset that you’re going to make mistakes, that you’re going to feel sometimes embarrassed, that is not going to be good. I mean, you’re going to say the wrong word in the wrong place, in the wrong case, and people probably are going to laugh at you.

I mean, I have lots of stories with English about these problems, but it’s going to be fine. It’s just normal. You have to approach life as a kid would, you know? Just like, okay, I did a mistake and kids are always being corrected about what is the right way to speak or the right way to do something, and they don’t mind, they just do it.

And I think that’s the biggest ability. Of course, there is a brain development thing, of course, that plays a role in all of it, but one of the aspects that make children better learners is because they don’t care about making mistakes. And they feel safe about making mistakes.

And I think that’s the trick. If you’re able to find, in any skill that you want to develop, if you’re able to find an environment, play zone where you can make mistakes with someone you’re very comfortable, I mean, I think that sometimes choosing the right music instructor or the right language tutor or whatever is so important because you don’t feel safe. comfortable with everyone to make those mistakes. I think if you’re able to find that plain zone where you are able to make mistakes and laugh at them because yeah, of course, it’s going to be funny, but who cares?

If you’re able to create that, I think you will be able to build that confidence without alcohol, having to drink or yeah.

Oli: Wow, actually it’s so true. You were talking earlier about how a lot of people have this misconception that kids can learn languages because they’re just sponges and they pick information up so freely and all that.

It’s true in a way, but also kids just haven’t developed that inner monotony yet. So they don’t constantly judge everything that they’re doing, they’re not hesitating, they don’t beat themselves up if they make a mistake, like you said, they’re just more real. And I think as we become adults, we can, not always, but we can pick up a lot of this external bullshit basically that just shows up as this inner monitor that just gives us all these reasons to not be who we really are.

I think that inner monitor is always some external judgment that we’ve just hypnotized ourselves with. It’s never like actually us. I think when we’ve been real, we never judge ourselves because when we’re real, you can only accept yourself.

That’s how I see it and that’s how I’ve experienced it. And so it’s just about understanding that that monitor, it doesn’t even need to be alive in the first place. It’s just something we keep alive because of our emotional relationship with ourselves. But then also another interesting thing is, like you said, you can create like a safe environment for learning and playing and growing and doing your own thing. I suppose as kids, those safe environments are just naturally sort of built or constructed for us in general. But as we grow up and become adults, we just don’t set healthy boundaries and we can let people in our lives that are toxic or whatever. And so internally and externally, we can basically make choices to kill anybody or anything that is monitoring us and trying to judge us and make us feel bad. And we can just focus on our own thing. And ideally, that is just going from conscious to unconscious in the things that we learn. So we can make the unconscious conscious.

That was a weird sentence and become more whole. But it’s all about the choices we make and autonomy, basically, that’s the word you used and the mindset stuff. That’s what it comes down to. So that was me rambling. As per usual, I always end up doing that towards the end of these podcasts. But we’ve covered a lot. If you were going to wrap up this conversation, I just summarise everything that we talked about, and the main lessons that I suppose we put out there, or the main insights.

How would you do that? Have you got any final words of wisdom? That’s what I’m asking you.

Angela: Yeah, well, I do like your summary. Definitely. That comment about the differences between children and adults are something I agree a lot on.

What could I mention by the way? I think that autonomy thing that my final thought around it is going to be developed when we learn or we decide to accept that we don’t know exactly quite well how we learned better. How our brain is going to work better. Sometimes that’s why we go to school or an academy or to the university expecting something to happen that they’re going to give us the information we need. And the truth is that not necessarily, that’s not going to happen unless you are able to know yourself and to create that ability to learn.

My invitation for everyone is to be curious about it, to realise that that’s something we can do and create not only for languages, which is the topic that we have, but it could be for anything. And any skill that you want to master once you learn what is the best way to help your brain to process information and to acquire it, you will become autonomous and you will be able to extract information. A little example when you read books, not everyone is good at reading books, right? Some people say, oh, I’ve learned more through books than the university.

And someone would say, not my think, not my think, right? I can’t pass from 10 pages and I’m falling asleep. So that definitely will, it’s a warning alarm instead of feeling bad because some people learn through books and so this is a point of myself, I’m not intelligent enough or whatever. Just think what is going to be the best way for me. Make it a game.

Again, as children, they play and all of it, make it a game. What is going to be the best way for you to do it? And well, that’s mainly what we carry about in our language school and is finding that way and helping our students to create the routine of making the language part of their days based on that. So yeah, that’s how I could summarize it.

Oli: Yeah, I love it. It’s so true. Basically, we’re all different. We can’t compare ourselves to each other really.

There’s no point judging. And no matter who we are, what we’re trying to do, the path of learning and growing is the same. It’s about accepting ourselves more and more by making the unconscious conscious and in relation to the learning stuff that you’re talking about, it’s about getting out of our conscious minds so that we can basically kill this monitor inside of our heads and actually just do what we need to do and just kind of flow with life. So it’s amazing how it’s always the same underlying process for me. It’s a very human thing that you’re talking about. Can you let people know where they can find you?

If they want to learn Spanish or they want to send you an email or go get really drunk with you somewhere, what do they need to do to be able to do that?

Angela: Well, yeah, definitely. Talking about these superpowers, I’ve created a little version because well, of course, the whole test could be a little bit longer.

But I created this little quiz to detect what is your superpower. And well, this is on my website where you can find all my email and all the information as well. So it is lightspanish.co.uk. You go there, you’re able to find all the information about the school. You can contact me there. I have also my Instagram there.

All of it is there. But you can take the test and it’s going to give you the result about what is your brain superpower and how you’re explaining in a funny way, what your brain is good at and what you can do with it. Not only for languages, well, for anything, I mean, it’s going to help you for many, many things.

Oli: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. You can use it for many things. Well, I think I’ll go do that now and find out what my superpower is.

But everyone else, I’ll share it, I’ll share the link in the show notes. And yeah, you’ve given us lots to think about, I think, in an unconscious way, of course. But Angela, thank you so much for coming on here. It’s been a really good chat. And I hope you enjoyed it too. I did. And I’m going to go get that drink. So thanks a lot.

Angela:That’s great. No, thank you so much again for having me. And it was a pleasure talking with you.


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