The magic of diving in
"Yes! I want to speak great Dutch and one day I will."
This is something many internationals in the Netherlands say (or think) to themselves, but somehow this "special" day never comes. Ever wondered why?
Well, most people tend to wait, or they make very slow progress. They are not sure what they are waiting for (or, perhaps, why they are procrastinating), but they feel somewhat assured that since they are slowly doing something, it will eventually happen.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this.
Just like swimming
It’s a bit like going for a swim. Think of that moment when you test the temperature of the sea with your toes. Yes, it’s so cold, but chances are that you keep walking. Now, remember that moment when the freezing cold water (especially if you’re at a Dutch beach!) has reached your knees.
Almost all us have been is this situation before: one part tells you to stop - why endure such torture? - while another tells you to go for it because you know it will feel good in the end. Once again, you continue slowly (and painfully).
At some point, however, you have to make an important decision. Your body is telling you to go back to the warm sand, while your head tells you to continue.
So you keep going slowly until your whole body is immersed. It’s freezing at the beginning, but after a while you begin to enjoy yourself, just like hundreds of other people around you.
But was there an easier way to accomplish your goal?
Let’s sum up the whole the experience:
› You really wanted to swim because you (and everyone else around you) know it’s fun.
› You entered slowly, constantly trying to remind yourself why you are doing this.
› Once in, you enjoy yourself, having forgotten how cold it was.
In a nutshell, you made a (relatively easy) decision a bit harder for yourself. Of course, now that you have reached your goal, you barely remember the whole procedure, but you did lose time "trying to enter" and there was a slight chance you might quit.
Doesn’t sound very efficient, does it?
Let’s propose an alternative way: why not take a deep breath and just dive in? It might sound a bit radical, but the real question is: would that work better?
Go for it!
I bet it would! To start with, you wouldn’t have to feel the freezing cold water rising up your body inch by inch! You wouldn’t have to persuade yourself that you have to keep going and, more importantly, you won’t remember it when you are enjoying yourself, surrounded by all those other people.
Here is a mini Dutch lesson. Koudwatervrees literally means "cold water fear." Ik vrees means "I fear" and you may also have heard the word vreselijk (terrible). The logic here is that if you find something terrible, you also fear it, because somehow it feels that you must avoid it.
But the most important thing to remember is why you are doing this: you want to swim, to have fun, to mingle with everyone around you.
Just like learning Dutch
Doesn’t that sound a lot like learning Dutch? You know that when you learn the local language you will have fun, enjoy yourself and have a better quality of life.
The only real question is whether you will take it slowly and question yourself and your motives at every step, or just go for it! I always choose the latter and advise you to do the same.
Learning Dutch is easy. All you have to do is to take a dive!
Albert Both is a specialist on learning Dutch fast while having fun.
Check out his new site DutchFlowNow.nl for people that have been waiting for quite some time to speak great Dutch, and:
› Download his e-book "Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It"
› Join his workshop "Finding Dutch Flow, How to Open The Flood Gate to Dutch Fluency"
› Visit his website Talencoach.nl or simply comment below for inquiries / remarks.
All free of charge!