Into the Story



Episode 37: A Story About Building Better Habits

Nivel: Intermedio
Acento: Inglés

A habit is something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it. Hay muchos hábitos que son útiles y necesarios en nuestras vidas, como lavarse los dientes o subir escaleras, pero hay muchos otros que no. How do we figure out what’s helping us and what’s harming us? And once we have discovered a habit we do not want to keep, how do we change it? Craig, today’s guest, managed to figure it out. 

Today’s episode of Into The Story is about how to build better habits. Mientras escuchas a Craig, un profesor de inglés super experimentado (ver más sobre Craig al final de esta página) , explicando cómo consiguió adoptar mejores hábitos, aprenderás el significado de expresiones como ‘OUT OF THE BLUE’ y ‘PAY IT FORWARD’.

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[00:00:00.250] – Bree

Hey there, listeners. Have you ever given up a bad habit? You know, like maybe you used to eat an entire chocolate bar or drink several cups of coffee. And then one day, finally, you realize this needs to change. I have to stop doing this. I need to give it up. And what does it take to make this change in your life? Well, that’s what we will discover with today’s storyteller. If you listen to podcasts to improve your English, you may recognize his voice, Craig Wealand, from the very popular Inglés Podcast. But what you might not know is that before that, he started creating courses for the website La Mansión Del Inglés, and before that, he was just one of many English teachers trying to make a living in Spain.

[00:00:54.350] – Craig

If I hadn’t started creating online courses for the website La Mansión Del Inglés, I’d probably be an alcoholic by now or maybe even dead.

[00:01:06.890] – Bree

Today, Craig will tell us about his life when he first arrived in Spain, how he realized he had a problem and how he discovered a way to fix it. And of course, we couldn’t talk to an English teacher without asking him for his tips. So stay tuned until the end of the episode to hear his advice on having good English learning habits.

[00:01:29.810] – Bree

And a really quick thing before we get into it. Do you enjoy improving your English by listening to true stories? If Into the Story brings value to your life, if we’ve helped you in some small way, could you please leave us a five star rating on Apple Podcast and Spotify? It helps us continue producing this podcast and also helps other listeners find us. Thank you so much.

[00:01:56.790] – Bree: Vocabulary

Okay, before I let Craig tell his story, we’re going to look at five words and expressions that he uses.

[00:02:04.770] – Bree: Vocabulary

First, ‘out of the blue’. So when something happens out of the blue, it means that it is unexpected, a surprise that it happened without warning. For example, I hadn’t spoken to her in years, but she called me out of the blue and said we should meet up. Out of the blue.

[00:02:30.750] – Bree

Next. ‘Cheeky’. So ‘cheeky’ is a common adjective in the UK, so to be cheeky means to be funny and charming in a slightly rude and bold way. Craig today says his class had a cheeky sense of humor.

[00:02:51.990] – Bree: Vocabulary

Next, ‘to get a taste for something’. When a person is very used to having a certain food or drink and they especially like it so much that it becomes a habit, we can say they got a taste for it. To get a taste for something.

[00:03:11.610] – Bree: Vocabulary

Next, we have ‘dependency’. Dependency or dependence is the state of being controlled or influenced by someone or something. It’s the opposite of independence. For example, babies depend on their parents for food and safety. Dependency.

[00:03:34.590] – Bree: Vocabulary

Finally, we have the expression “pay it forward”. Basically, to pay it forward means that when someone does something nice for you instead of paying that person back directly. You can pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. Listen to the end of the story to discover how this idea of paying it forward influenced Craig’s life.

[00:04:00.870] – Bree

In addition to these words and expressions, you have an extended vocabulary list, the transcript, and a quiz on our website acingles.com. Okay, let’s get into the story.

[00:04:15.870] – Craig

If I hadn’t started creating online courses for the website La Mansión Del Inglés, I’d probably be an alcoholic by now, or maybe even dead.

[00:04:28.170] – Bree

Craig takes us back to when he first moved from London to the vibrant city of Valencia, Spain. He immediately falls in love with its lively culture and finds work as an English teacher with the British Council, but only a few hours a week looking for some extra classes, he begins teaching for a company in the Port of Valencia. And it’s there that he meets a very special group of students.

[00:04:59.130] – Craig

One class I really enjoyed, even though it started at a half past eight in the morning, which was ridiculously early, was a class with a group of seven or eight guys who worked in the computer department of the Port. I called them ‘The Wolves’, which in Spanish is ‘Los Lobos’. They were very rowdy, cheeky, funny students, very lively. The class was very dynamic and they had a really strong, acidic sense of humor. There was one guy called Luis who used to grab me to one side during the coffee break because he loved to practice his English. And over the course of a few weeks, we became quite good friends. We developed a relationship. Every coffee break at 10:30 we’d find a corner of the cafe and we’d speak in English. Now the course finished and I moved on.

[00:05:56.040] – Craig

But a couple of years later, 18 months, two years later, I suddenly got a phone call out of the blue from Luis and he invited me out to dinner. He said he had a proposition for me and it was all very secretive. I had no idea what he wanted. Maybe private lessons to learn English? I didn’t know, but when we went out for the meal, he said that he’d started a website called La Mansión Del Inglés to help people improve their English. But he was getting nervous because it was getting very popular and the material he was putting on the website wasn’t exactly original, Copyright free content, and he was looking for somebody, a teacher, to write original material for the website. And he said to me, what do you think?

[00:06:52.890] – Bree

Out of nowhere, Craig suddenly has an opportunity to work on something new and exciting. But there’s only one thing getting in the way: his love of spending time at the pub and alcohol.

[00:07:06.450] – Craig

Now I’m British, I’m from the UK. There’s a heavy drinking culture there. I grew up in and around pubs most of the time. And of course, when I came to Spain, it was fantastic because the bars and the pubs never closed, they’re always open. Valencia’s a really lively place. But I think I was probably drinking a little bit too much. And my girlfriend at the time suggested I go to see a therapist and I have a therapist. Why? I don’t need a therapist, I don’t have a drinking problem. But I did go and I was diagnosed with a psychological dependency on alcohol, which means I didn’t need a drink every day. But when I started drinking, I found it very difficult to stop. It wasn’t a severe crisis, it was the kind of thing where I’d go to a pub with my girlfriend, who is now my wife. And we’d arranged to go and see a film at the cinema. And I said, let’s have a quick drink before we go. And then I’d meet people in there and start drinking, get a taste for it. And then obviously she’d get really annoyed because she’d plan to go to the cinema. And 3 hours later we’re still in the pub drinking beer. And the psychologist said to me, what do you think is a normal amount for people to drink for you? What do you think is normal? And I said, Well, I don’t know, maybe two pints of beer twice a week. That would be a normal amount to drink. And he said, okay, come back one month from now and let’s see if you’ve managed to keep to two pints or two large beers two days a week. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I wanted a third. I wanted a fourth. I found it very difficult to limit myself when I started drinking and it started to affect my relationship, it started to affect my life. So I decided to stop.

[00:09:06.210] – Craig

But here’s the thing, when you’re going to bars four or five times a week and spending most of the evening in a pub or in a bar, and suddenly you stop going, there’s a void, there’s an empty space. What do you fill that time with? And that’s more or less the time that my friend Luis suggested I start writing material for The La Mansión Del Inglés.

[00:09:33.510] – Speaker 2

So luckily I began writing material. I sent it to Luis in Microsoft Word and Luis, as the webmaster put it up on the website. And suddenly I had found something to fill that space in my life. That void. And I was really interested in creating material. Now, if we fast forward a few years, we started growing. We gave a lot of material away free to people who are interested in learning English. And we also sold some courses by CD-rom. In those days, we sent CD-roms by the post to people and obviously now it’s downloads. I also started creating audio for the website and that became a very bad podcast in 2008, hosted only by me. But luckily in 2013 my friend and colleague Reza joined me and we’ve been podcasting together ever since.

[00:10:38.310] – Craig

So I think there are two takeaways from this story, two important lessons that I’ve learned. Number one, be nice to people, be kind, give with an open heart. I strongly believe in something called the law of reciprocity. We pay back what we receive from others, so pay it forward. You can call it Karma, whatever you like. But when you reciprocate with something good that’s been done to you, you’re exchanging things for a mutual benefit.

[00:11:14.130] – Craig

And I think if I hadn’t spent time speaking to Luis during those coffee breaks, he wouldn’t have remembered me two years later and offered me the chance to write English courses for La Mansión Del Inglés. And I also think that if Luis and I hadn’t given so much material away for free in the beginning, we wouldn’t have created such a huge online community and had so much success. And the second thing I think if you’re trying to change your life for the better, if you’re trying to cure an addiction, stop a bad habit. You have to replace it with a good habit. You have to replace it with something positive. If you want to stop smoking, start jogging. If you want to stop watching boring TV, start a podcast. If you want to stop going to bars, start a blog, create something and help people and your life will improve.

[00:12:14.590] – Bree

Craig continues creating courses for La Mansión Del Inglés, and he hasn’t had a drink since he gave up alcohol shortly after moving to Spain. I just love the takeaway of Craig’s story. He said, “if you’re trying to change your life for the better, replace a bad habit with something better.” This is so true. After Craig told his story, we spoke a bit longer about habit building and learning English.

[00:12:44.170] – Bree

What kind of habits do you think are necessary to learn a new language?

[00:12:51.670] – Craig

I think you’ve got to look at it in two separate areas. I think one area would be just generally creating positive habits for anybody, which means that you kind of got to recognize your bad habits. For example, a student that says, I don’t have time to study English. Well how much TV are you watching? Oh, about three hours a night. Okay, so hang on a second. Maybe you could watch an hour. They could have two hours to study English. Also, the idea of the old adage of flossing your teeth, we’ll just start with one tooth a day, but once you do one tooth, you want to do all of them. So there’s that, well just learn a word a day, and the student maybe will expand on that and end up learning eight words a day.

[00:13:39.070] – Bree

Since you’re listening to this podcast, you already have the super good habit of listening to podcasts to improve your English. So good for you. If you’ve been living in a cave and you haven’t listened to Inglés Podcast, I highly recommend you do. One thing I especially love about it is that Craig and his co-host Reza are really fun and genuinely friendly guys making every episode a joy to listen to. We’ve left you links to their podcast and the website La Mansión Del Inglés on acingles.com And that’s all we have for you today. Make sure to subscribe to Into the Story on Spotify Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Okay everyone, until next time we hope you have a good time or at least a good story to share.

Complete the following sentences about Craig’s story

Out of nowhere, Craig was offered a new job by…

When they planned to go to the cinema, Craig and his girlfriend would…

Craig believes…

Even though it started at half past eight in the morning, Craig…

In the end, Craig stopped drinking and started…

The therapist concluded that Craig…

When he first got to Valencia, Craig thought the drinking culture there was…

Craig says the best way to drop a bad habit is to…

Quote of the episode

“Be nice to people, be kind, give with an open heart. Reciprocate the good things that are done to you for a mutual benefit”
– Craig

Wonderful Words

Funny and charming in a slightly rude way.

A situation in which you need something or someone and are unable to continue normally without them.

Full of energy and enthusiasm; interesting and exciting.

Behaviour in which two people or groups of people give each other help and advantages.

Excellent Expressions

Completely unexpected, a surprise.

To acquire a preference, inclination, or desire for some kind of food or drink.

When an image or intellectual property doesn’t have copyright; it can be used for personal or commercial purposes without mentioning or compensating its creator.

Respond to a person’s kindness by being kind to someone else.

Si quieres saber más sobre Craig, escucha, Inglés Podcast el podcast para aprender inglés que produce con su amigo Reza. O quizás quieres visitar su página La Mansión del Inglés, llena de recursosWe hope you enjoyed today’s episode of Into The StorySi has disfrutado con esta historia, y quieres seguir avanzando con tu inglés, suscríbete a la AC Family.

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4 comentarios

    1. Thank you, Juan José! That’s what we always try to create 😀 Feel free to check out the rest of our website for more free classes and podcasts!

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