How do you use NLP to learn a foreign language? Sure there are magic tricks, specific ways of using the brain. But an understanding of learning, the levels of learning and the emotions with which those may come, is the real magic trick.

Unconscious Incompetence: this may be the point that you don’t even know the foreign language exists, and you also can’t speak it. But then you figure at some point, that you would like to learn a foreign language, and you imagine all the benefits you would have being able to do so. Anyone who has taken an NLP training future paces themselves into an amazing future, and associate themselves into the sensation of fluency in the language. How cool is that going to be? It feels great. Lets use my NLP training to set some well formed outcomes (goals.)

Conscious incompetence: the amazing feeling standing inside that future, then for many comes with a rough awakening while you start to take lessons. It is not as easy as you thought. But then people start to get a sensation that learning a foreign language is a LOT of work. It is, if you don’t understand what learning is. Confusion and frustration hits. Learning the language becomes a mountain of epic proportions. Some people like to hide around in the prison of their own world, they try to memorize more words, listen to the radio. Then surely competency will come. Or give up, because it is too hard.  Thoughts may start occurring how you are never going to get there. Fight or flight kicks in, our reptilian brain thinks we will be eaten alive in the real world out there. We lock ourselves up to practice. Book more language classes.

This is where your NLP training needs to kick in. To switch emotional states. To associate into what learning is. It means that you know you will at first be incompetent. Step into the shoes of the person (second perceptual position of NLP) who is talking to you. Have you ever gotten angry with someone trying to learn your language? Or do you want to help? Perhaps you are honored for them going through the effort. You know what it feels like as a listener to learn something you don’t know. Take those learnings and take these back into your own shoes (first perceptual position of NLP.) You can also simply dissociate (third perceptual position of NLP.)

The ONLY way you can achieve competency is not by hiding inside with class materials, classes and books, it is to go out into the real world and practice. Step into a super state, or the circle of excellence you learned in NLP training. And this is when people fail at learning a new language start to stumble. They step into a place where they imagine getting out there is a horrible experience. With their incompetence being in the real world with partial language skills, becomes the subject of confusion and frustration. The emotion around our own incompetence, the thoughts, is exactly that piece that is going to stall our learning. We run and hide.

The thing is though, the best way to learn when you have the basics down, is to get out there. To fail. To fail a lot. And rather than going into fear, frustration, confusion or another negative feeling. You could just be motivated, or curious. Or simply have a real understanding that mastery and knowing a language comes with a process of where incompetence is a requirement as an experience. So accept it. It is an expression of being in a state of learning, rather than being unintelligent, being inferior, disadvantaged. This is how you learned everything else. When you learned how to walk, it came with a lot of falling down. At no point was there a decision in your young self, that you were simply NEVER going to walk.  You just kept doing it, even though all the people around you could already walk. You watched them walk, to learn. Accept assistance.

Conscious competence: while engaging in the real world with the language. Talking to real people, you start discover that you actually don’t need to know all words. You need only 2000-3000 of them, depending on the language and conversation at hand. The amount of vocabulary you actually need in the real world, is much less than you think when you sit at home trying to master language. And while you fall down a lot initially, soon you fall less. And less. And then you start seeing the light. You still need to search in your head for words, ask someone a question or rephrase and you are likely going to be exhausted after one conversation. You need to concentrate. Your skills take a bit of a dip when you are tired, or emotional (again negative emotions could get in your way.) But it gets easier, and smoother as you go on. The trick is to just chill during the experience, your aim is being motivated to learn, rather than being a master communicator.

Perhaps you can use your NLP training to make this process fun! To understand you may not be feeling anxiety, you may be feeling excitement. Or pretend as if it is excitement.

Unconscious competence: and then suddenly you find yourself dreaming in the new language, you start to feel it, get a nuance. You achieve mastery. And you stop noticing you are even speaking a foreign language.

Anyone who has taken NLP training, may want to seek answers as to what the magic tricks are to memorize. And they are certainly there. The real game is to embrace incompetence. To manage the emotional states using NLP, and stepping into a true understanding of what learning is. You are doing a good job at learning when you are incompetent.

This is no different while learning the Milton Model and the Meta Model which are inherently at that time foreign language patterns typically taught inside an NLP training.