Goals – Main Lesson
Hi, I’m A.J. Hoge and welcome to our main lesson.
Many years ago, I was in Japan New Year’s Day and I was climbing a mountain. The
mountain was in northern Japan and it was snowing. In fact, I was climbing the
mountain during a very intense snowstorm. The snow was up to my waist during some
parts of my climb, so it was very difficult walking, moving through the snow up the path
to the top of the mountain. It was hard work climbing the mountain in the snow and my
body was sweating. Little by little, step by step, I went higher and higher until, finally,
after maybe an hour and a half, I reached the top of the mountain.
It was still snowing and I looked out over the landscape, over the countryside. I could
see far into the distance the snow-covered landscape. I sat down and thought about my
life. Specifically, I thought about my career as an English teacher. I thought about all of
the problems I saw in English teaching, in English education. Of course, the worst
problem was that most students never learned to speak English fluently and clearly like
a native speaker.
This bothered me and then I got a vision. There at the top of the mountain with the snow
coming down, a vision of a new way of learning; a vision of English students smiling and
laughing and enjoying English class; a vision of English students really learning to
speak English well, not just memorize grammar and vocabulary lists. And I decided
there on that mountaintop that this vision was my new dream, my new big goal for my
career, my purpose, my mission. I didn’t know how I could do this, but I decided that
eventually I would.
After that, for several years I researched about different teaching methods. I read books.
I read articles. I went back to school and got a Masters Degree. Whenever I met
someone, especially an adult, who spoke English very, very well I always interviewed
them. I asked them about their study methods. How did they learn? How did they get
After doing all of this research, all of this searching, I then decided on some new goals,
some smaller goals to help me achieve my dream. I realized that first I needed to try all
of these new ideas and new methods with real students, so I got a new job where I had
more freedom to teach and then in my new job in each class I tried these new and
interesting methods I was learning about and thinking about. Sometimes those methods
were successful and sometimes they were not, but little by little I found more and more
and more powerful methods and little by little my students got better and better and
Step by step I developed a completely new system for teaching English, listening and
speaking and I thought that I was getting close to my dream. However, I soon faced
another big problem. At my new job, my bosses found out about my new methods. They
found out I was not following the normal, traditional, textbook methods and they were
not happy. In fact, they called me into a meeting, they criticized me and they told me I
had to change. I had to go back to using the old textbook methods. I was very upset, as
you can imagine.
I thought about it for a few days and I decided that my dream, my vision, was more
important than just one job and so I quit that job. I quit the job and then I moved to San
Francisco and eventually found another job, a job that had more freedom in teaching
and, once again, I continued to try new methods, continued to develop my own method,
my own system.
However, eventually I realized that I would never have total freedom unless I started my
own business. I would never achieve my dream, my big goal, unless I started my own
business so I could have total freedom. This scared me. This was a big difficult step to
start my own business. I was an English teacher, I didn’t know anything about
business, so I created more new goals to learn about business, to learn about
marketing, to learn about the Internet and for another year I studied and learned and
achieved each of these little goals.
Until, finally, in the fall of 2006, I started Effortless English and Effortless English quickly
became a very big success. Students, learners, loved Effortless English. They loved my
lessons because they were effective. The lessons were effective and after about six
months I started to get lots of great comments and emails from Effortless English
members telling me about their success, telling me about their improvement with their
English speaking and, of course, that excited me. That made me happy. It gave me
even more motivation to continue improving my methods, to continue improving
Effortless English, to keep going for my dream.
Now, many, many years later, I’m still trying to improve Effortless English. I’m still
working to be better. I’m still going for my dream because my dream is huge. I want to
change English learning, English education, everywhere in the world. I want to help
people all over the world be happier and more confident and have better lives using
English to help them achieve their goals.
It’s a big dream. It’s a lifelong dream. It’s a huge lifelong goal. I’ll always be working on
it. I will always be trying to improve and get better. I’ll always be making new goals to
help me get closer to that big, big vision, that big, big dream that started so many years
ago on a mountaintop in Japan. That big dream and all of the smaller goals that I’ve
worked towards since then have brought me where I am today. As a result, Effortless
English is a huge success internationally. As a result, tens of thousands, hundreds of
thousands, perhaps millions of people have been helped and now speak English
confidently and powerfully.
That’s the power of goals. Goals have helped me completely change my life and goals
have helped me help many, many, many other people. Goals are powerful.