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Some recent research has come out about loyalty. In most contexts loyalty appears to be important in these situations:

  1. Workplace
  2. Relationships
  3. Customers

Now I’m going take it one step further – if you are loyal to the learning of English, the chances are that you will find it difficult to stop after three years. Possible?

Though we would all like to think we are different, the truth is that there are many patterns of behavior that just follow a rule of thumb. One is about how to know if someone is loyal to you.

I have seen a pattern in loyalty myself:

  1. End of the first year – the loyalty factor it’s it first pain point. Does the person want to continue with this or is the temptation to go further afield too strong.
  2. End of the second year – the person has moved through the first pain point and for whatever reason has decided to continue. The second pain point comes at the end of the second year and this is more serious. Does the person feel that there is something worthwhile here or have they squeezed everything they can out of it.
  3. End of the third year – this is the most critical turning point. If the person couldn’t quite decide if they were loyal or not during their third year and just let things go, for sure things will come to a head by the end of the third year. This is a big flight time. Most people have had enough by now. But if they find they can’t leave, it is because whatever they have been through for three years is now deep inside their heart.

In the work place I have seen it again and again. Staff who have stayed with us for more than 3 years are so loyal, the thought of leaving (though some have to for other reasons) is extremely painful. Anyone who leaves gives us plenty of notice and we see them all go through something psychological in their last few months. The reason being that a deep connection has been made and it isn’t easy to extra that from their life.

Now moving onto the English side of things. Imagine you are someone who started to learn English from zero and it took at least one year to master a reasonable level of proficiency.

  1. FIRST ESL PAIN POINT: The end of the first year. The point where you have to ask yourself – am I going to continue with this or should I just move on to another topic.
  2. SECOND ESL PAIN POINT: The end of the second year shows that you have not only mastered the English but you have used it in relation to your job or your studies and have found some success with it, however you have reached a plateau in your English where you wonder, are you going to just let it be something related to your business or are you going to let it be more into your social life as well.
  3. THIRD ESL PAIN POINT: The end of the third year sees you either fumbling to improve your English skills, so tend to fall back into the broken English approach and stick with that for the rest of your life, or you make that full and final decision that your use of English is a huge part of who you are. This is a wonderful level to reach because it’s completely a part of you, deep in your heart, you even think and dream in English now. Your loyalty has been proven.

So when you start thinking next time, how long does it take to get good at English? Your answer should be about how loyal are you willing to be to get competent. If you can do three years, it’s in your soul – congratulations!

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