Heavy Repetition Is The Key To Learning Any Foreign Language

avatarMille Larsen
4 mins read

As most of you already know, I live in Chicago. With a Chicagoan in the White House, you may have figured out that basketball is a tradition here in Chicago. You might even remember a guy by the name of Michael Jordan being kind of good at it. When I was growing up, I loved to play basketball. Just like everyone else I knew, I liked to dream that I was Michael Jordan.

When the Bulls won six championships with Jordan, I was in my teens. Today, I'm 35 years old, and Chicago has a new MVP — last night, Derrick Rose became the youngest player ever to win the MVP trophy at just 22 years old. Rose is also a Chicago native, but at just 22 years old, there's no way he grew up watching Michael Jordan the way I did. (Believe it or not, Jordan is 48 years old!) So it's interesting that you can see a lot of similarities.


When asked about his expectations for the year during a media interview at the beginning of this season, Derrick Rose said, "[my expectations] are high. The way I look at it, why can't I be MVP of the league?" It sounded kind of cocky at the time, and no one really paid much attention to it — most people said he couldn't shoot a jump shot.

But while no one was paying attention, Rose set out on perhaps one of the most rigorous training schedules I've ever heard of. He spent the entire summer doing two practice sessions a day, six days a week, shooting at least 500 jump shots in each practice. That's more than 6,000 practice shots each week!

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, and his assertion that, in order to do something well you must put in 10,000 hours of practice. Now, I don't know how many hours went into these practice sessions, but I do know that after taking 70,000 practice shots (3 months x 4 weeks x 6,000 shots), one can't help but improve. And it should come as no surprise that his jump shot has been a key factor in the Bulls' #1 record this year.

Are you taking those practice shots?

Not long ago, I read an excellent post on this subject by Khatzumoto (AJATT) about showing up, in which he mentioned a fitting quote from Bruce Lee:

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

Imagine if he practiced that kick 70,000 times, eh Bruce?

You want to speak a foreign language well. Of course you do, that's why you're reading my blog. You want to speak well. And I've just told you the secret, absolutely free of charge.

The most important thing you can do is practice. The more you practice, the better you get. Want to speak fluently? Put in the speaking time that a fluent speaker puts in. Want to speak like a native? Put in the time that a native has put in.

Want to get really good, really fast, just like Derrick Rose? Then practice. Identify that thing that's troubling you and do it, over and over, 1,000 times a day. Turn your weakness into a strength.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.