30 Day Spanish Challenge

Have you spent years in language classes at school with nothing to show for it but a pathological loathing for verb tables, useless nouns, the weather and classroom objects?

Have you ever thought… “If only I was a kid again! If only I’d had the chance to learn Spanish as a 10-year old!”

Do you think you’re past your prime for learning languages? That you’re too old? Do you look on to those small kids growing up in multi-language househoulds with envy?

Or do you think that you were just born a loser in the genetic lottery? That you’ve not got a language learning gene? That you’re destined to spend the rest of your life speaking English?

And despite all of the above… you still, deep down, would LOVE to speak another language? And Spanish, being the 3rd most spoken language in the world, seems a good place to start?

My friend, I’ve been there. I’ve been in your boat. I know exactly how you feel.

After seven years of futile French class, I thought I was destined to spend the rest of my life speaking English too. I cursed that I didn’t have the language learning gene and opportunities that others had. I thought I was past my prime.

But four years later, in a kitchen in Madrid, half an hour into a conversation with my Spanish flatmate, everything changed. I realised… I’m actually speaking Spanish!! Without even thinking about it!!! The proverbial light bulb moment.

And know, typing from a small internet cafe in a small town in Mexico, I realise that on my crazy spanish journey, I’ve learned that if I can do it, you can do it too.

You don’t need a language learning gene. You don’t need to ace languages at school. You don’t need to be 10 years old and go on summer camps and have a trilingual nanny. You don’t need any of these things.

What I’ve learned is that what you DO need are the following:

  1. WHY.

The stronger your why, the greater your chance of success. Plus, when the going gets tough, your WHY is going to see you through.

This slapped me across the face when I put said years of futile French behind me, and signed up for an advanced Spanish class in my final year of high school. Despite skipping the 2 years of easy classes, it dawned on me….

Despite being a total spanish noob, I had an incredible advantage over almost everyone else. I had a WHY. Whereas everyone else was motivated by exam results, I’d seen my Dad have hilarious hand-wavy conversations in halting Spanish in Spain. Spanish has become ALIVE. I didn’t care about exam results, my WHY was wanting to speak and use spanish in Spain.

With a WHY, for the first time in my life, I succeeded in a language class.

Then, four years later, having forgotten everything, I went to Madrid. No money, nowhere to live, no job, no friends… and no spanish. I’d jumped off the cliff, and was learning to fly on the way down.

If I didn’t learn to speak Spanish, I was facing 4 months of homelessness and starvation.

And just three and a half weeks later, I had that lightbulb moment with my flatmate in the kitchen.

I realised.. you need a WHY.

The second thing you need to learn a language is…

2. A HOW.

You need a method. And this is where schools go so wrong. Why? Because they teach us that the goal is perfection.

But language isn’t about perfection. It’s about communication. 

One more time: the goal of language isn’t perfection, it’s communication.

So in school, and in all these heavy-going textbooks, we get caught up in endless grammar lessons, and we stress about getting each tiny little detail perfect.

This approach gets us nowhere, and it leaves us frightened to talk to people. What if I’m not perfect?! What if I make a mistake?!

What you actually want to focus on is guessing. On trying. On having the confidence to get things wrong. You want to focus on not being perfect.

And here’s the catch. The more you try, and the more you get things wrong… The more things you get right! How’s that for irony!

Now, you might be thinking..

Iain, I’m not very confident. I don’t think this approach would work for me…

First, confidence isn’t something you’re born with. It’s not a fixed quantity. It’s something you develop. And that’s the main goal of this course – by the end, you’ll have the confidence to throw yourself into ANY spanish situation. Madrid, Malaga, or Mexico City.

How do we do this?

You’re going to become more confidence by a) cultivating what I call the Guessing Mentality, by b) overcoming the 30 Day Challenge, and c) by learning the most useful spanish first.

This last one – learning the most useful spanish first – is the focus on the third thing you need to learn a language.

3. WHAT you learn.

In school, what do they start with? Nouns. Hundreds of useless nouns. Pets, classroom objects, days of the week, weather…

Yet, despite living in Madrid and Mexico, I’ve never had a conversation about any of these things.

If you learn a thousand nouns, you can’t build a single sentence.

But if you learn a handful of key verbs, then every word you learn on top allows you to build thousands of sentences.

In this course, we’re starting with the most important first. By the end of the first week, you’ll be able to build hundreds of your own sentences. This is where confidence comes from – knowing that you don’t need a phrasebook.

A by-product of this means that the teacher comes SECOND to their material. I.e WHAT you learn is more important than WHO you learn from.

Even the most amazing teacher will hamper you if they’re teaching you useless materials.

Does this mean that my course material is more important than me, the teacher?

It absolutely does.

And this also means that you don’t have to learn from me. There are loads of great teachers out there. And a lot of them are better linguists than I am. Look at guys like Benny Lewis. He not only speaks Spanish better than I do, but the guy’s learned like 17 different languages!

Whether you decide to take the 30 Day Challenge or go with someone else, just remember. Look for the WHAT, not the WHO. Or, better, look for someone who knows the WHAT, and is also a great teacher.

My course has the WHAT. I’ve been in situations where I had to learn Spanish in the quickest time possible, so I know WHAT is most important. I’m not an Ivory Tower linguist – my Spanish is all street spanish. Stuff that I know works. And I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned to achieve your dream of speaking Spanish.

So, the three things you need: WHY, HOW and WHAT.

How do I know that this course is right for me? And why does it cost $30?!

Let me explain a little of how the course works.

  • The course is a 30 Day Challenge. Why?

Aristotle said,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

So, to change anything in our lives, we need to start by changing our habits.

30 Days just happens to be the amount of time you can build a habit, and because 30 days is roughly a month, you’ve got 12 opportunities to add new feathers to your cap every year. Hence the 30 Day Challenge.

I discovered the immense power of 30 Day Challenges after turning my weakest part of triathlon (cycling) into my biggest strength. After this, I was hooked.

30 Day Challenges work because they take into account human nature.

You might be one of the lucky ones, but for alot of us (myself included), we massively overestimate what we can do in the short-term, and massively underestimate what we can do in the long term.

You see this all the time in people who do New Year’s Resolutions. They start out by going to the gym for an hour a day, every day. A week later, their burnt out, and quit. Ahh well, there’s always next year.

Instead, we’re going to focus on small wins, every single day. They may not look like much, but 30 Days of small wins add up into something that is definitely not small.

Now, a common question..

  • Iain, I’m worried I’m not disciplined enough to build a habit, to do a 30 Day Challenge.

If that’s you, then don’t worry. Discipline isn’t something you start with – it’s something you build. Discipline is forged in the fires of challenge. If you think you’re not disciplined enough, then a 30 Day Challenge is exactly what you need.

Every day, you’re going to build a bit more, and a bit more, then 30 Days later, you’re going to look back and realise you’re a different person to when you started.

  • Why do I need to pay to learn Spanish?! Especially since there’s so much free stuff out there that I can use. 

You’re absolutely right. There’s an absolute mountain of free stuff out there. From DuoLingo, to CoffeebreakSpanish… never has there been more free stuff.

The thing is.. you want yourself to succeed. You want yourself to follow through, to commit.

Have you ever had the experience of being given something for free?

If so, how much did you value it?

Have you ever had to work for something, and pay for it with your own money?

How much more did you value it than when it was just given to you?

If you’re like me, you value what you pay for. Because you’ve invested in it.

And that’s the beauty of paying to learn. Because when you pay for something, you value it. You become emotionally invested in it. You take more pride in it.

Paying to learn is a simple way to ensure you’re going to follow through. It’s a way to commit to yourself, and to your goal of learning Spanish.

I learned the value of paying to learn when I did a course called the 67 Steps to the Good Life. It cost £67, and I really wanted to do the course, but I was terrified.

What if it was a scam? What if the course was rubbish? What if I lose my money?

I remembered what my mentor told me.. Iain, “if it’s not scary, it’s not worth doing.”

I took the leap of faith. And not only was the course life-changing, but I learned the incredible value of paying to learn.

I learned the difference between an expense, and an investment. Paying that £67 was an investment in myself.

If you’re a bit worried about handing over your hard-earned money for a course, then I invite you to ask yourself, “Is this an expense, or an investment?”

Is learning Spanish an investment in yourself? Is learning Spanish, and all the incredible opportunities it brings, worth it?

If you don’t think it’s worth it, if you don’t want to commit to yourself, if you want to use all those free resources out there, then I wish you the best of luck on your spanish journey.

If you do want to commit to yourself, to invest in yourself, then this is definitely the course for you.

If you’re still on the fence, I invite you to simply try it. If you don’t think it’s been a worthwhile investment afterwards, then I’ll give you your money back. Absolutely no questions asked.

All I can say is that I wish I had someone who’d been there and done it, who could tell me that I’m worrying way too much on this area, and would be better spending my time on this. I wish I had someone who knew the WHAT, the HOW, and encouraged me to think about my WHY. I wish I’d had someone to take by the hand and show me what I actually need to know. Maybe I’d have something to show for those seven years of French in school.

  • How hard is this challenge going to be?

You don’t need to be disciplined. You don’t need to be confident. We’re going to build those along the way.

But you DO need to be committed. Because let’s face it… a 30 Day Challenge… it’s 30 Days. And inevitably, one of those days, you’re not gonna feel like it. Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, maybe you woke up hungover after a night out, and all you want to do is give it a miss.

These are the best moments in the Challenge. Because when you keep going despite everything else, that’s when you become a different person.

And those are the moments you need commitment.

If you’re not committed to yourself, and to your goal of learning Spanish, then I don’t want you on this 30 Day Challenge. Save yourself the time and energy, and go to DuoLingo instead.

I don’t want a million people who aren’t committed. What I want is 300 Spartans who are committed to the end.

This is another reason why you’ve got to invest your own money in the course. It tests your commitment. How seriously are you committed to becoming the strongest version of yourself?

If you’re ready for this challenge, then I’ll be seeing you tomorrow. Bring your A-game.

As Always,


Mucho amor,