Top 3% in Spanish?!?! Learning Spanish on Duolingo


Today is day 169.

Weirdly, in this review Duolingo says I am in the top 3% of learners on their site – a site with MILLIONS of learners.

I assure you this is not because I know or learn Spanish faster or easier than 97% of the rest of the people.

What they are measuring here is XP - experience - which I would call Engagement. And that’s true. I have been engaged. I’ve been showing up each day and doing a little.

Doing a LITTLE Each Day

That was what I decided to do. And THAT was hard enough and took some EFT Tapping to free myself from old traumas around learning a language.

  • I had horrible Spanish teachers in high school. 3 fulls years of Spanish there had made it possible for me to ask where the bathroom was and little more. So weird, eh?
  • I nearly did not finish college from taking one final semester that included Italian 101. It maxed out my D credits allowed to still graduate, and I got the D only because he felt sorry for me.
  • All those years traveling to Italy had not made me in the least fluent. I started to understand a bit (and could order an ice cream and, like in Spanish, ask where the bathroom was). Not much else.

So why in the world learn Spanish now?

Desire. Weirdly enough, I really want to be able to connect with people who speak Spanish.

Freedom. I want the Freedom to consider living for awhile in a country where Spanish is the spoken language (I know I won’t go if I cannot sufficiently communicate since verbal communication is so core for me.

**I’m not naturally good at it. It exercises healthy humility. ** I know whether it’s dancing or flying a plane or playing a guitar, it feels “important” for me to have something I definitely desire that I am not naturally good at. It evokes aliveness in my brain, and the desire keeps it alive. I get to feel humble without being “defeated” (if that makes sense).

Showing up consistently. This is the big one. I felt with Duolingo the way it was structured that I could have a “streak” of days where I did at least show up and do one lesson. And it’s worked!

Duo is enthusiastic! The little green own cheers me on. Yeah, that matters to me. We’re doing Duolingo ABC’s with the boy and it got me wanting the little guy to cheer me on with something, too!

Emotionally, I’ve built on this growth!

  1. The consistency and pleasure I’ve gotten from Duolingo recalibrated my “consistency” circuits. Sometime around Duolingo Day 140 I started the Morning Mile.

  2. The success and consistency of the Morning Mile I’m using to post here on the Community Center in a daily way, too.

What would you like to add to your world… consistently?

I’d like to know! And I invite your [Reply] to share with me and with us.

What I can share from experience for myself and clients is this:

a) It helps to Tap on past experiences that create a sense of “what’s the use” or pre-disappointment.

b) Start with something you really DO desire, for a dozen reasons! And make the daily thing a microstep (baby step) so that “success” cannot be about not having enough “time” or it being “too hard.”

c) If you don’t do it, go back and look at the resistance… the “What doesn’t feel safe, or attractive enough, about this?” Tap. Get help with it if needed. Share with a friend (and here in the community) to support and encourage you.

Use energy to fuel more growth and change… without pushing and willpower

I have to say that I have needed very little “willpower” to do this.

Which is good. I actually have very little willpower.

By aligning my desires, clearing the resistance, and getting some real pleasure and celebration from the microsteps I’ve taken, it builds vitality – and vitality is core for both change and thriving.

Gracias por escucharme! :dancer:


Since the pandemic I’ve noticed that I no longer take walks. So, I would really like to consistently add walking outside (masked for safety) to my world. I’m thinking I’ll start by setting my timer for 10 minutes and when it rings I will turn around and go home. Also, I’m trying to reframe my dislike for anything resembling exercise by calling my “walks” Exploring! The hibernating Photographer in me loves that idea actually is kind of excited to share what I see/find!


I hear the wisdom in your setting the timer! When I started the Morning Mile it was actually the “morning 11 minutes out and 11 minutes back” – just turned out to be close to a mile!

The Mid-day Meander. The Afternoon Adventure. The Evening Excursion. The Photographer’s Foray (Phoray? :wink: )


I also would like to go for more walks, although it’s difficult when it is dumping rain/cold. I don’t know about you but I have a dog to walk with me. I also love taking nature photos. It doesn’t have to be a race. I will walk a little while and stop and look at something interesting, maybe take a photo, take a breath, appreciate the beauty and then keep walking. Also looking out to the horizon far away, or at the sky, gives your brain a little difference from your normal field of view. I try to focus on the beauty around me because I get caught up in my head and worrying. My walks are much more enjoyable when I notice things versus mindlessly walking while stressing about this or that. Just some things that have helped me. You can do it!



Since I walk where the terrain needs attention (roots, rocks, uneven ground), it’s interesting to have telescoping awareness where I focus on where I am stepping, then a Look Forward, a pause and look around, a spot to savor and take a memory photos, and the like.

Since one of my intentions is to give my heart a chance to really beat and pump, there are periods where the focus is on really feeling the power surge in my body as I move with more momentum. If I did that all the time, it would feel flat to me… depleting even.

Our boy went to a forest and farm school pre-Covid. They had a saying:

There’s no such thing as bad weather… only inadequate clothing.

It really made me think, especially preparing him for being outdoors the entire school day (they only came in for thunderstorms and for windchill that was dangerous). This morning I really felt into that, with proper layers and strategy to enjoy being alive on the trail, even with the rain and cold. I can see preparing a dog for the same, if needed.

Thanks for sharing, @StrongPotato7!


On my walk yesterday, in addition to setting my timer, I listened to Thelonius Monk and what a difference that made! I walked well beyond my timer!


Today is 200 days straight for me and Duolingo Spanish. I appreciate how “doable” they make it to keep a streak going. There’s even a way to protect your streak from a missed day… I didn’t need that option so far.

Some days it has been 3 minutes. Some days an hour. At this point, I know that I could NOT write this all in Spanish. Nor much of it! Yet, I am finding it easier and easier to understand written sentences for sure! My vocabulary grows in microsteps. My confidence stays with this as useful – both for the skill of another language AND ESPECIALLY as setting the tone for other things I’d delight in having more consistency with!

Thank you for celebrating with me! :1st_place_medal:

Un pastel grande de vainilla, por favor… :birthday:


A few weeks ago I “resigned” from league play with Duolingo. For awhile it had helped me to feel connected with others learning, but the connection was really “only” competitive. It stopped being good, so I let that go and am focused now on deeper learning at a slower pace than trying to “keep up with the Obsidian League” was allowing.

I share this both the celebrate a streak of 300 days of ANYTHING not biological or coffee. It feels good, my comfort has grown SO much with listening and hearing (and getting answers incorrect). It’s microsteps that have lead me to be 1000 words beyond where I started.

Am I fluent? Jajajaja no.

I laugh because, yeah, each time before I had wanted to become fluent, as a GOAL. Here, I want to experience the nature of another lingual way, and it’s expanded my range of sounds and comfort. There’s something about listening to a show about the Magical Andes in Spanish – even if I understand only 20% – that brings it to life in a way that the English track just… doesn’t.

Anyway, wanted to share an update. It’s one of the things I like about the community center is that we can find and surface again things we’ve shared from “long ago” and add more to them. I invite YOU to do the same, with something you’re exploring.

Love to us all in our growth… baby steps… micro-changes that matter each day!


I wish! I’d love to have a cat that enjoyed swimming with me in the pool!


One Whole Year!

Today is day 365 of Duolingo. I admit to being surprised that I actually did it every day, and never used the “streak protection” lingot they offer.

My identity used to have a strong streak of “I am inconsistent.” (except for drinking coffee each and EVERY day). With this one year streak, that has changed. With the change in core identity, it’s also made it possible to do the Morning Mile consistently, too. (This will be day 225.)

I’ll say that if I had required 20 minutes a day of practice, it would not have happened. I made it really easy on myself. ANY session through a lesson or story counts.

This wasn’t a goal, either. If I’d set “fluency” as a goal, well, I’d be very very sad right now. What I wanted was to explore, experience, and to become more familiar with.

It’s also a place where mistakes arise, and I’m still working on my reflexive “ouch” when the red error message and sound comes up. My sense is that the shifts there I’ve already made are helping when “mistakes” happen elsewhere in my world. Still more to shift with intention, following the System of engagement I’m following.


Great job, Rick!! I’m so proud of you.

I was going to better learn Spanish, but after the first couple years in 2012-2014, it was just too much work. I just wasn’t getting the accent correctly. My husband is from Colombia and he was trying to lose his Colombian accent and I was trying to learn Spanish to communicate with his mom, his sister and friends. But, I ended giving up after awhile because I wasn’t keeping up with the work.

Duolingo is an app on my iPhone, but I haven’t used it in ages. I am so proud of you for taking steps towards learning Spanish.


I, too am very proud of you, Rick!! Especially the way in which you completed 365 days…no requirements, no goal…just curiosity and exploration and allowing mistakes! Thank you for modeling this for us!


It’s been interesting to feel the changes in me, what I’d “consider” (like living in a Spanish-speaking country someday for a period or part of the year)… y más.

There’s an archaic version of Rick that wanted everyone in this country to speak English. I’m glad that’s changed inside me. Indeed, i look forward to translators becoming so good and real time that, heck, even our jokes can survive translation! (Maybe?)

Tuning into the challenges in Spanish and its different tones and textures helps me appreciates the complexity of right word, right context for communication and understanding. For sure.


A post was split to a new topic: Indigenous Wisdom in Community

500 days is not something I’ve ever done in a row on learning something or taking action on something that isn’t a “natural” for me – like drinking coffee is a natural. Or eating…

It’s hard to express the subtle-profound change in me by having done this. I’ve done 360 days of morning mile, even when sick (although not always in the morning or always a mile :wink: ).

When I started this topic last year, it was the surprise that I was in the Top 3% in Spanish in terms of consistency and effort. While I am not anymore, for myself this Celebration Point reminds me of how small increments each day bring surprising benefits.

I can overhear some Spanish conversations or read some tweets or articles in Spanish and… not be clueless! Yay! I can listen to my Latin dance music and feel the emotions and expressions more deeply, follow printed lyrics with more curiosity and place for them to land in my cognitive brain.

And freedom… it feels like more of the world is opening to me, countries in LatAm where, who knows, in another 500 days I’d feel like I could go and not be so lost in communications that make no sense to me.

Like with the guitar, I am not “better at this than I thought… or hoped.” My progress is actually still much slower than I even expected. Still, like with the guitar, expressive SOUND matters to me, and language is a core way we humans express our emotions.

Thanks to all who have celebrated with me at previous points. Today feels really satisfying…


Today, passing this milestone, I appreciate feeling connected even in such a small way to those who live in different parts of this planet. Starting to get to the place where the Spanish-speaking people I follow on twitter I can get much of what they are sharing before I do the translate link. :grin:




It’s interesting to me… certainly if I had pre-judged how I “needed to be speaking and understanding” by day 777, I’d be quite dissatisfied with where I am.

Yet, my brain knows. My brain knows that a few thousand new words and their energy now live inside ME! The student in me is enlivened by the repetitive exposure to freshness – and alternative ways humans conjugate the experiences of life.


I really like that…that’s exactly what language is!!


Congratulations for continuing your learning and walking!! Wow! Yes I can imagine how it helped you to see yourself as more consistent. How wonderful that must make you feel :heart::exclamation::tulip::rose:


Oh yes! I appreciate that you have been here through this “skill building” for myself. Picking one thing to even do daily for a month was… well, a significant milestone in changing my identity. As days and hundreds of days passed through, and I still “get value” from both the endeavor and the consistency… well, I can’t actually say I am never consistent with anything!

It helped last night, too, just to do a few minutes of piano improv before bed, even though I was really tired. And today to go for my morning mile after being up since 5am and taking care of sick unhappy baby with a headache all morning. Somehow, it makes so much “easier” to have something consistent to resonate with.

Love you!