Book: Positively Productive

51x54PTOFJL._SL250_Positively Productive

Trisha Collins-Dunbar 

Positively Productive offers a more holistic approach to language learning.

Learn simple, yet very effective psychological techniques that have been scientifically proven for success. Techniques used by the likes of successful athletics, entrepreneurs, and actors.

The workbook focuses on how to apply these skills to language learning to succeed and achieve your goals.


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Also Available as an eBook!

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25 Simple Ways to Make a Difference

Do you think one person can really make a difference in the world? I personally believe so. Here are 25 simple ways you can make a difference to others, yourself and the world...

1 Make a Better World 

When someone informs me that one person can't change the world I always think back to the story of the Hummingbird and the Forest Fire. An extract of the story is below. It only takes one person to inspire others to act. Speak up for what you believe in.

hoose your off-the-grid adventure now at (1)

2 Spread the laughs 

I am not going lie, people can be really shitty at times, but when faced with a situation when someone is talking badly about another behind their back arm yourself with humor or diffuse with a silly story! Life the negative tone to something way more positive.

3 Read and Respond 

What about all those messages you haven't responded to?  Why not take some time out today to reply to them or just send a friend a random message. You never know what a difference that could make to them today.

4 Spend Time in Nature 

Recharge your batteries and take 10 minutes each day for the next 7 days to get out and about. Especially if you work in an office and have been at your desk all day.

5 Help a Homeless Person 

It is sad to see so many people walk by homeless people with no contact whatsoever. Whatever the reason this person is on the streets the simple fact is they are still a person, a son or daughter, maybe even a brother, sister, or a mum or dad of someone. Even if it is just to make eye contact or a smile that recognition could make their day. Okay so it will not solve homelessness, but you may someone who has fallen from society feel connected again.

6 Patient is a Virtue 

"What is that checkout person up to I have been in this queue for half an hour" "I can't believe she is paying in pennies" Take a breath and practice the art of patience. Some people are quick to get annoyed if they have to wait especially if they are super busy. Slow done and be patient because the only person you are hurting is you. Learn to show a little more compassion to yourself and others.

7 Green Fingers 

Why not try a spot of gardening. sow some seeds, nurture them watch them grow and taste the fruits or vegetables they deliver. Something as simple as growing a tomato plant can give a person a great sense of achievement. Plus you are outside (unless you have an indoor plant) getting some fresh air. Bonus.

8 Never Go to Bed Angry. 

This was something often said to me during my teen years. So no matter how annoyed I got at my parents I would always say I love you and 'try' to resolve differences before bed!

9 Make Some Time for Yourself 

It really is important to get some you time. You can't help others if you don't help yourself.

"Your can't pour from an empty bucket" 

10 Recycle and Reuse 

How wasteful are you? Do you recycle? Is there anything you could reuse that you normally throw away? Not only can this save you some money, but you will be helping the planet too!

11 Learn a New Language 

Learning Languages has a lot of health benefits as well as social benefits. Plus when you learn to speak another language it makes you more culturally aware.

12 Set Goals 

If you want to make a difference start setting goals about what you want to achieve. Not huge goals, but little chunks that maybe make up a much bigger goal.

13 Appreciate Friendship 

Do something nice for a friend does not have to be costly. Maybe just chilling out and having an ear to listen and a month to offer encouragement.

14 Random Act of Kindness 

This week do 3 random acts of kindness to some strangers. Could be to 'pay it forward', hold a door for someone or just a kind word. To get some inspiration check out my post 18 random acts of kindness you can do online.

15 Share Your Success 

Often we share our negative experiences, but share some positive experiences and then give credit to those that have helped and supported you. Another idea is to write down 3 positive things each day that has happened to you.

16 Run Some Errands

If you are off to get a sandwich at work ask around to see who else wants a sandwich. If you are off shopping maybe check in with a neighbor to see if they would like something too?

17 Saying Sorry 

Learning to say I am sorry or admitting to your mistakes can be really powerful.

18 Volunteer 

If you have the time to do so volunteer and give back to your local community. Even if is only a couple of hours a week. Find your skills and use them for the greater good.

19 Give to Charity 

Every year I pick a charity close to my heart and raise some money for them. Over the years I have done many things from cutting off all my hair and giving it to a charity that makes wigs, to baking cakes and living off an as little as £1 a day for food. What would you do for charity? It does not have to be a marathon. Even donating a bag of clothing to a charity shop counts or donating to a local food bank.

20 Who Made a Difference to you? 

Has someone made a difference to you in your life? If so why not drop them an email, message. text or letter to let them know. It could be a teacher, friend or even a stranger. If you are unable to thank that person why not pass that insight they gave you on to another?

21 Be Optimistic 

There is lots of evidence that show that people who are more optimistic tend to be healthier and more successful.

"A negative mind will never give you a positive life"

22 Car Driving 

Why not take a break and bike it to work, school, college or university. Maybe even walk for a week? Not only will you improve your fitness, but you once again will be helping the planet too.  If you have to drive then make an extra effort to 'keep your cool' on the roads and be more courteous. Try smiling when driving and you may be surprised how more people seem to let you out. Try to use humor instead of anger.

23 Eat Fresh 

How much fruit and veg are you really eating? Try to take small steps each day to improve your diet. For more information on healthy eating and improving your wellness check out 'Positive Health Wellness'

24 Quality of Life 

What small change could you do today that will improve your quality of life or that for another? It could be to change a lightbulb for an elderly relative or neighbor. Do one thing today that will make a difference to you or another.

25 Take a Break from Social Media or the Television 

If you really want to make a difference then share this article, then turn off your digital devices and get out in the real world and make a difference.

What difference would you like to make to yourself, others or the world? What impact do you currently have?


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Language Learners Journal 









How to be More Productive in Language Learning

We are not born with a positive mindset. It is our experiences, culture and religious beliefs that shape who we are.  Although our genetics do influence the chemical makeup of our attitude. All that said being more positive is actually a skill that anyone can learn. It takes hard work, consistency and persistence. There will always be highs and lows that life throws at you. You mould your own perspective and are responsible for your own success.

Remember you shape your perspective and are ultimately responsible for your own success.

By limiting exposure to negativity, focusing more on the positive, offering and asking for help when needed, you’ll feel better prepared for learning a new language. It can be very challenging to remain positive when faced with the challenges that can arise. For example, a language partner might not show, a tutorial may be cancelled or you may not be feeling confident about an exam. These experiences can have a negative result and over time may impact on your attitude for study and make you less motivated. However, it does not have to be that way. You can shape your own response to negative experiences and improve your performance.

Focus on the Postive to be more Productive

Step back and take a deep breath and remind yourself of all the reasons why you are learning the language. Write down all the things that are going well for you. A good idea is to invest in a journal. To get some ideas on how to use a language journal check out this post.

Look for the Good

Many people find it hard to stay positive when faced negative situations. If you are struggling with learning a language, always remember that this difficulty will
pass and if it doesn’t you will adapt your learning to better cope with the challenge. Be grateful for the things that are going well for you.  Honour even the smallest of successes that you have when learning a language.  Noticing and pointing out the good will help you to stay more positive, motivated and will build greater confidence. A positive attitude can also influence those around you. Give thanks when someone makes an extra effort to help you. If you're impressed with someone, tell them. Praise encourages an appreciation and this positive reinforcement back will be returned. Looking for the good can also reduce unconstructive competition and comparison between other language learners too.

Reward yourself

If you’ve just completed a goal, gone up a level in your fluency or you’re feeling
really exhausted, consider taking a break from studying for a couple of days. A long
weekend can improve your productivity and leave you feeling refreshed and more motivated too.

Social Stimulus

Developing relationships with other language learners is one of the most effective ways to improve your attitude and performance. Feeling supported will help you have more fun with your language learning, Reach out and realise the value of study partners. If you begin to feel negative, look to upbeat language learners to put things back into
perspective for you. Language is key to being social and developing people skills is an important part of language learning. Check out the 24 soft skills that are required to be a successful language learner.

Escaping Negativity 

If someone is being rather negative about another language learner refuse to join in. My trick is to turn the conversation around with some humour or telling a story of something else thus changing the topic. Joining in with negativity not only hurts those around you but over time you could develop a 'toxic' mindset too. A toxic mindset is detrimental to your own well-being. There will always be people who like to dwell and suck up positive energy like a vacuum and leak out negative vile. They think that the world is against them and they have a right to have whatever they want with little regard for those around them. They always complain and are quick to criticise others. Be aware of these people and try to avoid them because their pessimistic outlook will start to impact your own. Although sometimes it can be our very own thoughts that are negative check out this post to learn how to manage negative thoughts. 

Setting Goals for Language Learning 

If you say "I want to learn French" that isn't a very precise goal and sounds very overwhelming. Break goals down into smaller more management chunks over a specific time period.  You will find more enjoyment in learning if you’re always aiming to do better. Acknowledge what you can’t change and work on the things you have control
over. Ask yourself what your ultimate goals are? Where do you see yourself in
6 months, five or ten years time? Then ask yourself what you need to do to get there.
For some ideas on goals check out my personal plan for June.


What helps you to be more productive in your language learning?

For more ideas on how to be positively productive when learning a new language check out my new eBook/Book 'Positively Productive' from Amazon now!


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25 Powerful Quotes to Inspire Positivity

© Will van Wingerden

You may have come across the quote "The pen is mightier than the sword" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The power of words is the very thing that could lift that sword or inspire peace! Here are 25 of the most powerful quotes that will help inspire positivity and motivation

1 "Positive anything is better than negative nothing." - Elbert Hubbard


2 "When life gives you curdled milk, be patient. You get very good cheese!" - Braum


3 "You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind." - Joyce Meyer


4 "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." – Lao Tzu


5 "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ― Albert Einstein


6 "Of all sad words of mouth or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been." — John Greenleaf Whittier


7 "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves." ―Mahatma Gandhi


8 "Even heaviest door can be opened." - Braum


9 "I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks, but I do fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times." Bruce Lee


10 "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." — Jiddu Krisnamurti


11 "To love is to recognise yourself in another." – Eckhart Tolle


12 "And when you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." — Friedrich Nietzsche


13 "Don’t let schooling interfere with your education"-Mark Twain


14 "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." — John F. Kennedy


15 "Every man dies, but not every man truly lives."— William Wallace


16 "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." — Plato


17 "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." — Albert Einstein


18 "Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go." ― Oscar Wilde


19 "Have I not destroyed my enemy when I have made him into my friend?" — Abraham Lincoln


20 "Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." — Indian Proverb


21 "And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." –Kahlil Gibran


22 "Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." – William Saroyan


23 "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." ― John Lennon


24 "You never fail until you give up trying." - Albert Einstein


25 "Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Llama

Share your favourite quotes below...


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Learning Chinese Mandarin in 3 Months

DISCLOSURE: From time-to-time, this site may contain affiliate links and advertising. This means that I may get paid commission if you click on some of the links or buy a product. This will be at no extra cost to you. If anything due to the relationships I have established with my affiliates you might even save some money.  Money raised will go towards hosting this site, my blog and setting up language learning projects in my local communities and online.  All opinions are that of my own. I only recommend products and services that I personally use and also feel would be a valuable asset to other language learners.

Ready, Steady, Go - Week 0


On the 1st May 2017, I was lucky enough to be invited to test pilot the Step Up Language Program, #SULP. I have selected Chinese Mandarin as the language I will study for the next 90 days. My goal is to study for 45 minutes, 6 days-per-week.

I have started Mandarin in the past and even managed to have short, very basic conversations with native speakers, but I am feeling terribly rusty. Having done 3 months of Spanish, followed by 28 days of Icelandic I feel like I need to retune myself for Chinese. I really do admire people who can switch quickly between languages.

Having successfully kick-started Icelandic with positive psychological techniques I intend to apply the same principle to Mandarin. This will also help with my independent research into positivity and language learning.

My Chinese name was given to me by my friend and Chinese Teacher Sun Tong. I clearly still have trouble trying to pronounce my own Chinese name!

但唐明 (Tong En Ming ) 

Tong ~ Family name. When introducing themselves Chinese people often start with the family name and then the given names. The surname comes from my original Chinese Teacher as a mark of respect.

En ~ Given names tend to have meanings in Chinese. En means kindness, mercy and charity.

Ming ~ In Chinese this name means bright, light, intelligence and clever.

90 Day Resource Plan

I dare say that my resource plan will be tweaked (a lot) during the next 90 days or so. I will be adding to this list so do check back or if you know of any other Mandarin resources please let me know.


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8 Ways Positive Thinking Can Make You More Productive

More than almost any other factor it is your mindset that equals productivity. Your perspective of a current situation will impact on the ability to learn something new.

If you need to be more productive, that is is paramount that you use positive thinking. Do you let anger, disappointment, and complaining take over your learning? OR Can you keep a positive mindset even when faced with a difficult situation?

When you are faced with adversity, it is your choice to let your mood change for the worse or you can choose to look on the positive side of the situation. Positivity is worth almost as much as hard work determination and perseverance when it comes to productivity.

1 What is your Current Mindset?

How are you feeling right now? If you are stressed your brain will be less likely to retain information. It would be better to do some techniques to help calm down first of all. Check out how to manage negative mindsets here  

2  Fake it Until you Make it!

Not feeling confident then fake confidence. By acting confidently even if you do not feel it can release the same chemicals as if you were really confident! Check out the video from Amy Cuddy. If you can only watch one thing today make it this!

3 People Tend to Help Happier people

A positive mindset actually makes others want to help you. No one wants to get near the person who is complaining and being all negative about everyone and everything. However, everyone wants to come to the aid of the person who is always smiling, joking and holding their head high despite bad things happening. Check out this article about what happier people do differently that in turn helps them to be more successful

4 Avoid Wasting Time and Energy Complaining

As above instead of wasting time being negative use that energy more productively and put it into doing something to improve the situation.

5 Recharge Energy Levels  

A positive mindset can give you a lift even during difficult times. Boost your energy level by looking on the bright side of any situation. No matter how bad things get, there is something you can look positively at.

6 Teamwork 

A positive mindset is contagious. It brings people together. Others want to be around people who are positive. Nothing brings a team together and builds relationships like positive energy.

7 Problem Solve 

Have you ever disarmed a tough situation with a smile? Your brain can not tell the difference between a real or fake smile. Once again  Positive mindset is sometimes all it takes to turn a bad situation around. On the other side, a bad attitude can take a problem and quickly make it worse.

8 Positive Mindset improves Decision Making and Learning

When you let yourself get upset, you impact your ability to make good decisions and take in new information. Thinking positively helps us to act more logically rather than reacting to our emotions.


22 Things Happy People Do Differently -


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