Last week, I had this conversation with one of English students, who needs to rapidly improve his English to pass an upcoming exam:
Student: ‘My brother is an English teacher in Saudi Arabia. He told me to read books to improve my English but I don’t have time –I’m too busy.’
Me: ‘Why? What do you usually do in your spare time?’
Him: ‘Catch up with friends, go out, shopping…’
Me: ‘So you do have time. You just don’t want to read.’
Him: ‘No, I do want to.’
He doesn’t. He wants to want to. There’s a huge difference.
Want vs wanting to want
If you want something, it’s always in your reach. If you’ve figured out what you want (and if it’s worth it and why), it’s possible to go get it.
But if you want to be the type of person who wants it (which you’re not) it’s never in reach. And you have an easy excuse to fail because put simply, that person is not you.
I wouldn’t mind being the type of person who wants to learn how shred the shit out of a guitar and play every Slash solo with my eyes closed, with the axe behind my head. But do I actually want it? No.
Think about if you actually want that thing you want (and why) because if you merely want to want it, you actually don’t.
Sidenote: Trying to do something in another language that you can’t be fucked doing in your own is a terrible strategy for learning a language. If you hate doing something -like reading books for example- in your own language, you’re going to dislike it even more in English.