When I moved to Italy, my husband’s uncle–Zio Franco–offered to help me learn Italian. He’d been teaching his whole life and said it’d take me three years to speak the language fluently.

Zio Franco was wrong.

After two months, I was reasonably proficient — buying pumpkins at the local market and playing scopa with seriously competitive geriatrics. At the end of my first year, I was chatting like a native.

Now, here’s the funny thing: I didn’t have any special linguistic aptitude. If you’d asked my high school Spanish teacher’s assessment, he might have retorted: “When she’s not falling asleep in class?”

I also wasn’t using any of those rapid learning programs on the sly. And I didn’t have any other apparent advantage, such as childhood exposure to languages or genius genes.

… BUT I did have three fundamental (ahem, stubborn) qualities (ahem, quirks) that accelerated the learning process. And these same traits can be applied to quickly pick up any new skill.

1. A Burning Desire. I had what Napoleon Hill called “a burning desire.” Speaking Italian like a local was all I could think and dream about. It was more important than sex or sleep or even, yes, my avocado addiction. It represented romance, adventure, a new start. In short, it was an OBSESSION.
Question for YOU: What are or could you be obsessed about? Answer that and you’ve got the most important ingredient to speed learning.

2. An Unwavering Commitment. No matter the embarrassing goof-up or setback–like that time I exchanged the word “tetto” (“roof”) for the word “tetta” (“tit”) and had everyone rolling when I described it as “bellissima” …or any of those times I was mimicked or laughed at in public, I was dead set on speaking un ottimo italiano.
Question for YOU: When have you felt that kind of commitment? Can you remember the last time you faced down adversity and excelled despite all the odds? Apply that same spirit to your burning desire and you have a winning hand.

3. Unrelenting F.O.C.U.S. Learning Italian was my principle focus. And all my actions served to enhance that focus. Whether I was reading Faletti’s latest or listening to “Ruggito del Coniglio” on the radio, it all connected back to my burning desire.
Question for YOU: How could the activities you enjoy feed into your desire and commitment? Find a way to associate as many of your daily activities as possible to your dream and you’ll soon be living it.

Come to brew on it, these three qualities really bubble up to one essential winning trait — the fighter in us all. The one who simply won’t accept “no” as a final answer. The one who insists we play a bigger game. The one we’re all rooting for in the end.

So… When is YOUR fighter spirit on fire? When are you fully engaged and focused and playing BIG? Share your GLOW. We need it!

Also, tell me: What ONE burning desire will you commit to in the New Year? Come on, it’s time to share your gifts with the world. Let’s hear about it.