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For last year's words belong to last year's language,
And next year's words await another voice.
TS Eliot
Old Year and New Year by Christina Rossetti

New Year met me somewhat sad:
Old Year left me tired,
Stripped of favourite things I had
Baulked of much desired:
Yet further on my road to-day
God willing, further on my way.
Learn English at Home
This month's beautiful illustration was created by Paulette.

What can you achieve by doing something little by little?

FrankFrank ModeratorPosts: 6,891 mod
edited July 2021 in Let's Practise and Learn
One of the ways to achieve something, such as learning a language, is with patience and regularity. And sometimes the trick is not to want to do too much at once, because then you quickly get bored or frustrated. By doing something little by little, you develop a new habit. Then you learn the language, or anything else you choose, without much effort. Do you want to learn good English? Then let yourself be inspired by the following story.

Ferdinand Cheval (1836 –1924) was a French postman. On one of his rounds, he tripped over a rock and picked it up. Cheval was surprised by the beauty of the stone and decided to take it home. From that moment on he started collecting more stones, which he liked. Initially that started with a few pieces, but after a while he set out with a wheelbarrow, in search of even more (in his view) special specimens.

And while the people around him began to think of him as the village idiot, he spent 33 years working day and night on the construction of a unique building in Hauterives, France, which he called his Palais Idéal. He was inspired by the architecture of the global postcards he distributed daily. Brick by brick his creation took shape. In 1969 it was declared a national monument by the French Minister of Culture. The temple, now considered one of the most remarkable expressions of naive architecture, can still be visited.

Here you can watch Cheval's Palais Idéal:

It took Cheval 33 years to build his palace, but he achieved it by working step by step. Apart from this educational story I wonder: did you already develop special habits by doing something daily for a short period of time or step by step? Tell us about your habits. You might also have some advise for us how you can learn something by doing it one step at a time. Then share this with us please.
Post edited by Teach on


  • MarcosMarcos Posts: 342 ✭✭✭
    The best example I can think about my own life was when I started to learn to play guitar. At first, I was just watching my father playing the guitar, it seemed so easy, and funny and at the same time, so magic. Then, when my father put aside the guitar, I always took it and started to scratching its strings, but I was wrong, it was not so easy and the sound was so weird. Then, my father started teaching me the names of the strings and how to do some chords. I forgot to mention that the strings were steel strings and that's not the best choice for who is starting on it. I spent days and days replaying the same notes and chords, my fingers did hurt, but the pleasure of achieving new skills made me keep on track. So day after day I became better and better. Of curse, I'm not an excellent guitarist, nowadays I almost never train it, but I can play my favourite songs and I even know the major, minor and altered chords. That's enough for me. If I want to improve my level, I already know a quite things that will help me. So my little tip on this subject: it doesn't matter if you will spend all the time learning a subject or will spend a few hours a day, what matter is learning to enjoy what you intend to do. So you'll learn while you have fun.
  • SuliemaSuliema Posts: 2
    I really loved the story alot it's very useful
    You know what when I feel angry I sometimes write 📝 to control my feelings and one day I noticed that I fulfilled my notebook 📓 I wrote a novel guys 😍😌
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 50,828 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 12
    I think most of us are impatient @Suliema. We want results immediately. But when we can force ourselves to slow down, the results tend to be much better.
    Post edited by mheredge on
  • PoweragePowerage Posts: 90 ✭✭
    When it comes to sports, I'm not much gifted person, but I run three times a week because I want to finish a marathon in the near future. You must be very disciplined if you want to achieve something in running because your condition starts decreasing when you not run through three or more days.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 50,828 ✭✭✭✭
    I often try to run before I can walk @Paulette (not that I'm referring to running as a sport!)
  • VokVok Posts: 2,761 ✭✭✭✭
    I think it's very common among lanuage learners and I'm no exception @mheredge . We're trying to run before we can walk.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 50,828 ✭✭✭✭
    As I am a very impatient person @Vok, I have to reign in my enthusiasm and try not to bite off more than I can chew.
  • MarcosMarcos Posts: 342 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge you made me remember the song ''My way'' by Frank Sinatra that says ''Yes, there were times
    I'm sure you knew
    When I bit off
    More than I could chew''
    Is that a idiom in English?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 50,828 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 16
    I am always biting off more than I can chew @Marcos. It is an idiom used very often when you take on more than you are capable of doing.
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