There are two sides to learning English.
Let’s call them “games.”
There’s the inner game and the outer game.
The inner game is the game you play against yourself.
When you play the inner game, your field / pitch / court is in your head.
When you play the outer game you’re practicing and learning.
Or as I like to call it, you’re Doing English.
Which is more important?
The inner game.
There’s no question about it.
I’ve seen smart students play the inner game badly and fail.
And I’ve seen average students play the inner game well and succeed.
Here’s tennis champion Pete Sampras in his book, The Champion’s Mind:
“The most important guy you have to beat is yourself”
The man who played the outer game against the world’s greatests — John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker — said the inner game is more important.
When you play the inner game well, you have confidence… motivation… certainty… optimism… and EXCITEMENT.
When you play the inner game badly, you have low energy… fear… doubt… and eventually, you quit.