AELP 7 – Smelling The Roses
Learn how to improve English listening skills with a lesson about building English fluency through subject mastery!
In the sixth video in the series that will teach you how to improve English listening skills, I explain how to get fluent in English faster by mastering a few subjects rather than spending time trying to learn as much as possible, but only at a superficial level! It’s far better, when doing something like learning a language, or trying to develop any other skill, to focus on a single or limited set of topics you can go deep into. When you try to learn everything, you end up learning nothing.
Enjoy this advanced English listening practice lesson video featuring me speaking at faster-than-native speed that will help you understand English speakers, and let us know what you think in the comments!
(As you learn how to improve English listening skills with this advanced lesson, practice English speaking along with it using our customizable fluency-training video player! Select the speed of the video, the amount of spacing between speech sections, and the the number of times each speech section repeats. You can also click on a speech section in the transcript to jump to that part of the video to help you understand native English speakers.)
Well, hello out there in YouTube land.
I thought, uh, it was kind of a rainy day, but it’s now starting to become fall here in Japan,
a little bit, anyway.
It’s still kind of hot.
But I thought for this advanced listening practice lesson I’d give you some interesting background to look at.
Uh, I am near my home, actually, here in Japan, and so I had, a, uh,
lovely Japanese garden, or a kind of small one behind me, just for a little bit of ambience,
but I like it, uh, especially being able to sit here,
uh, in a Japanese room and look out, and I get to see some lovely trees and a little bit of rain falling.
So I hope you enjoy that as well.
As always, this is our advanced listening practice, this new series.
I will be speaking much more quickly than, uh, maybe you’re used or if you enjoy English lessons here on YouTube.
So if you’re not, uh, familiar with me, or my channel, you’re new to the channel,
I do highly recommend you go back and watch a lot of the previous videos,
so you can get used to my voice.
So that way, when you’re listening to me, you can start, uh, you know, enjoying a lot more of the faster English I’m speaking,
and this will help you get used to watching the fast spoken English in conversations in movies,
or in just everyday conversations you’re having with people.
So, if you’re understanding that, and you’re ready to go, let’s begin.
Well, today I wanted to talk about something, uh, pretty interesting, actually.
Uh, so, you know, I have a new baby.
I had mentioned that in a previous video, if you’ve been watching these already.
She’s doing very well.
Thank you for all the congratulations and the well wishes, again.
Uh, but this was actually something, uh, a few days ago.
So I was, you know, just sitting at home and we had, uh, some visitors come over.
Uh, these are two elderly women, uh, so they came over.
These are family friends, we’ve known them for a long time, and obviously, you know, you have a baby and everybody wants to come look at the baby,
especially a half baby.
Now, in Japan, since, you know, it’s a mixed baby, they call them half kids out here.
You probably wouldn’t use that in America, but out here, you know, she’s known, Aria, my daughter, is known as a half baby.
So they’re very cute, and, you know, obviously people want to come over and take a look and see what they’re like,
especially if they’ve never met one in person before.
Anyway, so we had these two, uh, elderly women come over.
One of them, I think, is about maybe 80 years old, and another one is,
uh, in her, I think maybe next week or next month she’ll be turning 90 years old.
So the, uh, slightly younger one is actually still quite active, and likes to do a lot of stuff,
uh, and so is the, uh, the older one, uh, or so does the older one, I should say.
But, you know, she’s still moving a little bit more slowly, and it’s a bit more difficult for her to get around,
so, you know, she has a cane, and we try to help her move, but, so, anyway.
They came to the house, they relaxed with us for a little bit, got to see the baby, and hold the baby a little bit.
So they really enjoyed that.
But I happened to be going back downtown when the, uh, the both of them were leaving the house,
and I actually went home,
or I didn’t go home but, you know, I was going out for the day.
I was going out to do some errands or something like that after they left.
Uh, and so I took the same train as the, uh, the 90-year-old woman, or
the one that’s about to be 90 years old.
Now, what was really interesting about this,
uh, and this is actually something very important for fluency or for whatever it is you happen to be studying,
uh, when you’re, you know, thinking about…
Well, actually, before I get into this, I’ll let you kind of explore the uh, get, get, get used to the, um,
uh, just the story a little bit.
But so anyway, so we’re going to the, uh, the train station, and we’re walking downstairs, and everything is taking a lot longer.
I’m actually holding her by the hand,
and walking really, really slowly as we go to the train station.
And then we get on the train, and then we take the train all the way downtown together,
and then we’re talking on the train about different things.
About how she had like, uh, an open heart surgery.
So she had a, uh, a double bypass 21 years ago, and she’s still alive,
so she’s still doing very well.
And she’ll get into the pool, and do some walking, and things like that.
Now, that, in and of itself,
that by itself, is not so interesting, but when we got to the train station
I actually held her hand as we walked all the way to her house.
Now, if I’m walking by myself it would probably take me maybe two minutes to get where she lives, but it took us about 20.
And she was still winded.
This is a great word here, winded,
To be winded by something means you’re kind of tired,
like you’re doing a lot of running or exercising, and then, heh, heh, heh.
Then you get tired like that, so you’re feeling winded.
So, anyway, so I’m walking with her,
and I really noticed a whole bunch of things that was much different from my normal walking, because I’ll put some headphones on,
uh, and I’m usually, you know, I’m a, you know, fairly tall, I’m about six foot one,
uh, and I move through the, through the city pretty quickly.
I like to walk around, and it’s, uh, nice and relaxing for me.
That’s my exercise sometimes.
Instead of taking a tram or a bus around the city I’ll just walk from different places.
And in Nagasaki there are a lot of hills, so we can, you know, climb up and get a little bit of extra,
uh, you know, get a little bit of extra workout like that, like working on a, uh, a treadmill that’s going up, like that.
So, anyway, I’m walking with her, and instead of what I normally do, walking really quickly I’m really, really walking slowly.
And this isn’t even normally, like just slow walking like I’m in a museum looking around.
It’s like even more
uh, more slowly than that.
But I really appreciated the chance to do that.
Now, I wouldn’t walk around by myself normally that slow, as I’m saying,
but walking with her I’m kind of talking with her, and I’m noticing all these little shops and things like that that I wouldn’t notice normally.
Now, you’ll probably get a good feeling for this if you maybe take a car, or you take a train, or something like that.
With each mode of transportation you’re getting to the mode,
or you’re getting to the location you want to be, uh, at faster.
So if I take an airplane, or if I take a train, or a bus, or something like that, or even a bicycle,
I’m getting there faster than by walking.
But what you sacrifice is not being able to notice a lot of the things very quickly.
And this really gets to the heart,
uh, of what I wanted to talk about today, and something that’s very important and really part of the way that I teach and try to help students learn.
And this is about how you can really begin to focus by deciding on what your real objective is.
A lot of people want to get to fluency quickly, and, you know, we really try to help people get there as quickly as possible.
But really, one of the best ways to get there quickly is to get there slowly.
Now, I know that sounds weird, but what you’re really trying to do is focus on things,
and in the same way, instead of walking really quickly to try to get to this, this end destination,
all of the things that you’re missing in the middle of that when you move so quickly,
those are the things that, you know, really are going to help you get fluent.
So right now I’m using a metaphor here to try to connect,
uh, the speed at which I’m walking.
So I notice all these things, and, you know, I’m speaking with, uh, this woman, and she was explaining to me what’s changed in the neighborhood,
uh, and some new things that happened, and other things like that, and where she lived.
And so I walked her all the way to her house, and we saw all these interesting things, even in…
It was only like two or three blocks that we walked.
We walked, uh, across an overpass, down, uh, from Nagasaki Station,
and then we just walked up two streets and walked over another street, crossed a river, and that was her home.
So it was actually a really quick walk, but within all of these spaces all of these different things were happening.
And my view of all that had changed because, even though I had walked that same way before,
you didn’t really noticed those things.
It’s not the same way you would, you would think about that.
You’d maybe, you just don’t care, it’s not so important to you.
But what I’d like you to think about, is instead of trying to rush through things, you know, maybe you get a,
like a video lesson from me or somebody else, you get really excited, you want to watch the whole thing, and that’s what you do.
What I would really encourage you to do is to take time with things like that.
Let’s say I make, you know, even this video.
It’s longer than a few minutes, or
I have some videos that are longer than this, maybe 30 minutes long.
But you don’t have to watch the whole thing.
You can focus on maybe five minutes on that thing,
and really try writing it, or reading it, or you could try speaking along with me as I speak.
There are lots of different ways to practice,
and instead of rushing to try to get to something because, like, you, you think that fluency is a, is a location or a place you have to get to as quickly as possible,
really the fluency is the journey.
Now, I know this is kind of a cliché.
Like a cliché is something that, well, everybody knows that and,
you know, it’s just not, you know, something worth saying.
But it’s really important,
and I think it’s something that a lot of people forget.
So same thing with business or anything else that takes a lot of time, the actual journey,
but especially with fluency,
all of these little things that you’ve learned, like even just, you know, sitting around in this, uh, this room right here.
You know, I’ve got names of plants behind me,
or I’ve got the, uh, the style of the room, or, you know, even this like the names of physical objects that you wouldn’t think about,
like the window pane, or the windowsill, or the window cover,
or other things like that.
And, you know, there’s lots of different things that if we take our time instead of just learning the word room,
we can really dive into a particular thing.
Uh, and what you should be using for that is something you’re really interested in.
So, as an example, you know, I’m here with a lovely Japanese garden behind me, because I’m interested in that,
and I want to share that with you a little bit and, you know, get you involved in the atmosphere.
And part of the reason I came to Japan was because of this.
Actually, the main reason I came to Japan was because of what you see behind me.
There’s actually, uh, a Japanese maple in the background,
that taller one, uh, of these couple of bushes here, but that’s one of my favorite trees.
Uh, and it’s, uh, it’s really beautiful to look at, especially, you know, you can see the rain coming down a little bit, after it’s got a little bit of light
rain, uh, just, just covering the leaves a little bit.
But, anyway, you can see that instead of trying to rush through things, that taking your time is really the secret
to getting, it is, you know, whatever the, the particular thing you’re after, but especially fluency.
So just like me taking that old woman by the hand and walking and talking with her, and taking a moment to really walk,
you know, not just, not just slowly but extra slowly.
To really take even more time, and almost to…
It, it kind of felt uncomfortable for me.
But really, when you think about something feeling uncomfortable for you, it just means that it’s new and different,
but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
Our bodies and our minds, they naturally want us to be doing things that we are feeling comfortable with,
so it’s easy to do what’s comfortable, what’s every day, and all these other things.
But if you really take your time
and try to do something new and different, it’s going to feel uncomfortable, but it’s probably going to be worth it for you as well.
So I highly recommend you do that.
A great English phrase where we kind of talk about this, or the idea is connected with, is,
is stop and smell the roses.
So take time to stop and smell the roses.
This means if I’m walking down the street I should stop, and maybe take a look at some things, like some beautiful flowers by the side of the road,
and smell them.
So take a moment to enjoy that.
Not be so hurried and trying to do things quickly all the time.
If you look at people, the people that get fluent are the ones that steadily improve a little bit each month.
And this is exactly why we teach people how to do this in Master English Conversation.
That’s why we don’t give thousands of phrases,
we give maybe a few hundred,
and let you maybe do two or three phrases a day that you can learn, and then that’s what’s really going to help you get fluent.
So when you can really build a foundation of things that you really focus on,
you come at that information from a lot of different angles.
Then you have a really solid foundation of information that you won’t forget,
and then you build on that each month.
And that’s why Master English Conversation members really enjoy the program.
They know they’re not moving as quickly as possible, but they’re going to be overall
approaching fluency much faster, because they’re actually
learning things and remembering them, and they won’t forget them later,
so that way they won’t have to study things over and over again.
So that’s just another fantastic reason,
uh, to join the program, if you’re not already a member.
If you’d like to learn more about Master English Conversation, you can also click on the link in this video or in the description below this video.
But whether you learn with me or not, it doesn’t matter.
The point is I really want you to see improvement in your fluency and other aspects of your life, your health, your wealth,
all of these things, and a lot of that is going to come from stopping and smelling the roses.
Well, that’s it for this, uh, advanced listening practice lesson.
I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
I look forward to seeing you next time, as soon as this gets to 100 million views.
All right, we’ll just make it easy, we’ll just say 10,000 views again.
You guys have been actually doing that pretty quickly,
but, uh, you know, if it gets 100 million views maybe I’ll do something even crazier.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson video.