Premium Transcripts
Part 3

Overcoming difficulties

This episode's vocabulary

  • Resilience (noun) - the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened.
  • Hardship (noun) - (something that causes) difficult or unpleasant conditions of life, or an example of this.
  • Degradation (noun) - the process in which the beauty or quality of something is destroyed or spoiled.
  • Competence (noun) - the ability to do something well.
  • To face (verb) - if you face a problem, or a problem faces you, you have to deal with it.
  • Repertoire (noun) - all the music or plays, etc. that you can do or perform or that you know.
  • Incompetent (adj.) - not having the ability to do something as it should be done.
  • To traumatize (verb) - to shock and upset someone severely and for a long time.
  • Laden (adj.) - carrying or holding a lot of something.
  • To encounter (verb) - to experience something, especially something unpleasant.
  • To deal with sth. (phrasal verb) - to take action in order to achieve something or in order to solve a problem
  • Challenge (noun) - something needing great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully, or the situation of facing this kind of effort.
  • Passively (adverb) - in a way that allows other people to be in control.
  • Flashy (adj.) - looking too bright, big, and expensive in a way that is intended to get attention and admiration.
  • Inevitable (adj.) - certain to happen and unable to be avoided or prevented.
  • To cope (verb) - to deal successfully with a difficult situation.
  • Guidance (noun) - help and advice about how to do something or about how to deal with problems connected with your work, education, or personal relationships.
  • Radically (adverb) - completely or extremely.
  • To inherit (verb) - to receive money, a house, etc. from someone after they have died.


Questions and Answers

M: What's the key to overcoming difficulties?

R: Well, there's been a lot of talk recently about resilience, which is like the ability to bounce back from hardship and keep going. So I suppose having that or knowing how to develop it would be very useful. It also helps to have a concrete and meaningful goal to work towards. So with a university essay, for example, it might be hard, but there is a point to it, if the lecturer takes it and uses it to tell you what you did well, and how you can improve, then the difficulty will have been worth it, I suppose.

M: What challenges do young people face today?

R: I'm not sure they face the ones which are radically different to past generations. There's poverty, or the threat of at least, and environmental and social degradation. But these have always been problems to deal with. I suppose one could argue they're more severe than before. But that just means the issues are larger, and not that they're essential nature's changed.

M: What kinds of jobs require people to be confident?

R: Well, I would imagine just about all of them, really. You don't want a doctor who isn't confident for the same reasons, you don't want a builder that isn't very sure of themselves. It's like a bad omen. If I had to pick a particular job category, then it would be one that faces the public, since confidence and competence have strong associations in people's minds. And then to mention a specific job, then probably a teacher, you want them to be confident in their knowledge and skills. So that they might impart this to you somehow, it's it's how I tried to behave anyway.

M: And do you think that some jobs are more difficult than other jobs?

R: Well, that's all relative to the person. I mean, like, for me, being a teacher is extraordinarily easy. However, that's because of that me in particular, but there might be someone who's, I don't know, less socially skilled, and it would be next to impossible for them. So that comes down to the individual, doesn't it?

M: And do you think that people who face lots of challenges at work should be paid more than those who don't have such challenges and difficulties?

R: Yes. I don't see why not. Because, well, if you're facing a lot of challenges, then you'd have to, presumably you have to develop a repertoire of skills to meet those challenges. Assuming they're challenges that occur because of the job, and not because you're incompetent.

M: How can parents encourage kids to do difficult things?

R: Well, I think many of them do by not giving a hoot about their feelings and pushing them towards things they'd rather not do. And don't get me wrong. I'm all for people getting out of their comfort zones. But for some kids, it can be quite traumatizing. So it's not the best idea. I think maybe a better option is by creating opportunities that are laden with support, and then asking them about the experience and you build up from small difficulties to big ones. So being gentle but firm in that sense.

M: Do you think that children are more willing to do difficult things than adults?

R: That's a good question. On the face of it, yes. Because children have less of an awareness of what like the potential difficulties might be. At the same time, once they encounter it, they don't really have the resources to deal with it. So they might give up more easily, but they will be willing to accept the initial challenge at least.

M: How can people help children to stay focused?

R: Asking questions seems to help a lot, especially if you're telling a story. It makes the kids actively think about what they've seen and what might come next, rather than sitting there passively. The same is true of presentations, I suppose. Lots of people think everything has to be flashy and relevant to young people. But I'm not sure how true that is. Some people, well, most, in fact, are quite deep thinkers. And there are things that might not be relevant now but could be in the future.

M: Is it necessary for kids to deal with challenges?

R: That's probably as essential as it is inevitable. I don't think you could or should shield them from challenges in life. Because, well, how will they cope when you're not around to fix it for them? I would imagine not very well. So well, they should deal with them. But with guidance and reflection along the way, like our podcast.

M: Along the way. Do you think that people will face more challenges in the future?

R: No, I think people will have to deal with the same difficulties as they always have.

M: Why?

R: Because I don't think life has changed that radically. I think that people still have the same base concerns. Are they going to have enough to get through their day to get to carry out their goals in life, sorry, to meet their goals in life. And how are their children going to grow up? And what kind of role will they inherit? And what is the future going to be like? None of these things has changed. And in the 1000s of years that people have been alive. Maybe how it's been done has changed, but the actual problems haven't changed.

M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers!



M: Right, so the topic of overcoming difficulties. So first of all, the noun is difficulties and what's the verb? Overcome. We overcome difficulties, like we deal with them. Can we say deal with difficulties?

R: Yes, address difficulties.

M: Right. Can we solve difficulties?

R: You can. You can face difficulties.

M: Yeah, yeah. You see, so the verbs, careful with the verbs. Also challenges. We can face challenges. We deal with challenges. What else do we do with challenges? Accept them.

R: Yes. Meet the challenge.

M: The same as problems, like we deal with problems, and we address problems. We can also say solve, resolve problems, tackle problems. Okay. So the key to overcoming difficulties is resilience. So what do we mean by resilience? That's a nice word.

R: It's like, it's like a mindset, which doesn't explain anything. It's like a way of seeing the world when you encounter problems. It's not like, oh, there's this problem. Let's just do something else and give up. It's like, okay, so there's this problem. But now, how are we going to solve the problem? Or what does the problem mean for me, as opposed to just it's a problem, and I can't do anything.

M: Yeah. And also, you said that resilience is about the ability to bounce back from hardship and keep going.

R: Yes, I did. I didn't want to repeat myself. It's a good explanation, though.

M: Oh, yeah, yeah, really good. So bounced back. So when you just like, you have a problem, and then you bounce back and keep going, like a ball bounces back. And hardship is a synonym of difficulties, challenges, problems. So you bounce back from difficulties and keep going. And then resilience help you to have a concrete and meaningful goal.

R: Oh, I was thinking about the concrete meaningful goal might help with resilience, but this is about overcoming difficulties. Okay. But you work towards it. Which is a phrasal verb, I think.

M: Hey-hey. Yeah, you work towards... Work towards...

R: Is it?

M: Yeah, it might be a phrasal verb, kind of.

R: It might be, it might just be a dependent preposition. Who knows? It sounds good. It's a collocation. So just use it. Who cares?

M: Yeah. So you see. Work out is a phrasal verb but work towards I'd say just a verb and a preposition. So... Yeah, you work towards a meaningful goal. So you work towards goals. And then you said something like, the difficulty will be worth it.

R: I... Oh, wait, no, it wasn't. It was I think the difficulty will have been worth it, which is even better.

M: Oh, yeah, will have been worth it. So if something is worth it, like you need to do it, it's like, it's worth it.

R: Yeah. Well, it's like, it's like, not you need to do, it's like it's a good idea to do something. So if it's worth it, then it's like saying, Yeah, it's a good idea for like money purposes or for knowledge purposes. And will have been because it's oh, God, the difficulty was in the past, which is before the thing that happened after which was the lecturer taking and using it will have been. If you can use will have been then do that.

M: The difficulty will have been worth it. Oh, boy. Young people face challenges. And Rory says that they face the same challenges. And the challenges are not radically different to past generations.

R: I really don't think they are. Like, what do you think?

M: Yeah, I think it's the same. Yeah. Like you talked about poverty, environmental, social degradation. Really positive.

R: Sorry. Well, we're talking about problems I couldn't be, I couldn't be terribly optimistic. But I was just thinking like...

M: Yeah, but here it's like challenges, right? So we can talk about, like personal challenges, for example, depression, neurosis, sleep deprivation issues.

R: But all of these mental issues are things that people have always had to deal with. I don't think that, I don't think that much has changed in that sense. People think that we're living in a radically different claim to 1000s of years ago, but we haven't actually solved any of the fundamental problems with life. At least I don't think we have. Have we? What do you think?

M: Yeah, I think the major problems are the same. Yeah. And you can say that these have always been problems to deal with. Yeah. So they're not radically different to past generations. That's a good one. And then you can say, like, I suppose one could argue that, blah, blah, blah. So who is this one? Who could argue?

R: One - someone. It's very formal, isn't it?

M: Yeah. But actually, here, it's in the right context and sounds quite natural. I suppose one could argue that they are more severe. So the challenges are more severe these days than before. And you show the examiner that it's kind of not your opinion, but there is such an opinion that somebody thinks that today's challenges are more severe than before. But I reckon that they're pretty much the same. So yeah. And argue in this context, it means the same as think. So one could argue, one could think that. And then speaking about the jobs, we do need confident builders, confident doctors. Yeah?

R: Well, but ideally, you want to have competent and confident doctors and builders, not just confident, because if they don't know anything, but they're still like, yeah, I can do it. Why not go so well? Especially if you're a surgeon?

M: Yeah, yeah. I'm thinking of a surgeon who's like, oh, I'm not sure. So is this this organ or that organ?

R: Who knows? I have confidence. It's fine. I'll just do what I like.

M: Yeah, or a dentist. Is it this tooth? That tooth? Anyway! Let's just extract that one. Or both of them. Just to be sure. Yeah. So and then you said like, it's like a bad omen. So what's a bad omen?

R: What is the bad omen? It's like a sign that something terrible is going to happen in the future.

M: Yeah, it's like a bad cat. A bad cat... A black cat. Bad cat...

R: Aren't all cats bad really?

M: Oh, they're mischievous. So, yeah, in some cultures, when you see a black cats crossing the road, you see, oh, this is not good. I'm gonna have some bad luck. So it could be like a bad omen. And then a good strategy is if I had to pick a particular job, I'd blah, blah, blah. Yeah? So if I had to pick, to pick means to choose, if I had to choose a particular job category, it would be one that faces the public. So it would be like jobs connected with the public, right?

R: It's probably important to point out that this answer, like your examiner would not hang around to hear this whole thing, would they? This is just like an example that provides different examples of ways of talking about it. So you could talk about all jobs in general, or specific category of job or actually just one specific job.

M: Yeah, yeah.

R: It's a bit like when Brandon did an IELTS test with me on Instagram. And you remember, like, I was halfway through my explanation, and he was like, yep, that's enough. And then just moved on to the next question. And I was like, I didn't finish explaining. But that will happen in the exam. The examiner will say like, yep, that's enough. Keep going. Like and next question.

M: Yeah, true. If you're speaking for too long, the examiner just would stop you. And this is okay. It's okay, if the examiner stops you. All right? The examiner controls all the time. And if you're speaking for too long, the examiner, okay, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, it means shut up. Okay? Shut up, it's enough. I'm gonna ask you a different question now. So this is fine, dear listener, if the examiner stops you at any moment in the exam, this is okay. This is fine. Right. And you talked about a repertoire of skills. So that's such a nice word, a repertoire. Yeah, I love it. It's French, a repertoire. A repertoire of skills. So we need a repertoire of skills to do this or that job.

R: But a repertoire is just another way of saying collection. Well, no, it's not. It's a specific collection. Like it's a specific collection of things. But it just sounds better because it sounds French and it's in an English language, so why not use it?

M: And then we talked about kids and parents, so our favorite topic in IELTS speaking part three. Kids, parents, yeah, what should they do? And you said that kids do difficult things by not giving a hoot about their feelings.

R: Oh, no. Parents do that. But they just don't give a hoot about their, their, their kids' feelings.

M: Ah, okay, so parents. So parents encourage kids to do difficult things by not giving a hoot about kids' feelings.

R: So many parents are like that. And it's just like, oh my gosh, life is for living. Would you ever just not push your kids to do things they don't particularly want to do?

M: Life is for living. Okay? So that's a quote, dear listener, write it down. And put down Rory. Rory said that. And then you can say like, don't get me wrong. And then you explain what you mean. Yeah, so don't get me wrong. So if you say something, you know, then you can say don't get me wrong, and then explain it. What did you mean by saying that something is laden with support? So creating opportunities that are laden with support?

R: They're just filled with support.

M: We need more examples.

R: They're heavy because of the support. To be honest, laden with is actually used for physical things rather than support. So for example, a ship might be laden with goods, which just means it's filled with goods, it's heavy because of the goods. Or a truck might be laden with supplies. It's just, it's filled with supplies. That's what it's there for. So yes, I probably miss used that phrase there. But it just means there's lots of support in the experience or the opportunity.

M: We can also encounter challenges. So children might encounter challenges, like face challenges, have challenges, right? So encounter, that's kind of like need, but in this context it's also good. And then on the face of it. So, for example, the question is like are children more willing to deal with challenges? And then you go on the face of it, they might be more willing to face challenges than adults.

R: So they might be more willing to actually try. Because they have no idea about failure and what that means for your standing in the world. But then when they, when they encounter the failure, they don't really know how to deal with it. So they just stop. So it's a bit of a strange one. It's an odd question. And the problem is that... Well, the problem is that you have too much knowledge, oh, sorry, in my case, it's like, this is how I see the world. There's no right and wrong answers. It's just like there's one thing that might work in some cases, and in other cases, it won't work. And all of my answers to questions are like that.

M: Yeah, and what can we do to help children stay focused? So we show them something flashy, flashy. Flashy presentations.

R: Well, some people think that's the case, like, oh, it must be flashy and interesting. No, this is not how you help children stay focused. It's how you focus them. But it's not how you help them stay focused. You can't just have everything be like, flashy and interesting and filled with all these gimmicks and things all the time. It doesn't work, you have to actually engage them by showing them what something means and how it's useful.

M: And fleshy means something like bright, something that catches my eye, something like oh, wow.

R: Yeah, it's eye catching. But that's not like a good way of doing it.

M: Then in the last question about is it necessary for kids to deal with challenges, you said that I don't think you could or should shield kids from challenges in life.

R: Yes. Which is just another way of saying protect them from challenges or prevent them from having to deal with challenges because they will have to do it eventually, when they're grown up. And then, what then what will happen?

M: Yeah, so it's not a good idea to shield them from challenges. We should deal, they, they, the kids, the kids should deal with challenges, but with guidance, right? So with guidance along the way.

R: Sorry, I couldn't help it add in the podcast bit in the end. Obviously you would not say that in an exam.

M: No, you should say it in the exam. Along the way. No, you should explain like along the way, like in this podcast, you know? Do you know about IELTS speaking for success podcast, and then you go on a ramble about our podcast and tell the examiner everything you know about us and our podcast.

R: Yeah, and then we get in trouble.

M: Take your phone out. Show them the links.

R: You just tell them. The link is in the description. Like always.

M: Yeah, there we go. Oh, boy. I would love to do that, you know. So next time, I'm going to take the exam. I'm going to do that. I'm going to kind of you know, when I answer some of the questions, I'm gonna, yeah, like in this podcast, you know, do you know this podcast? Do you listen? No? Oh, yeah, sure. You're the examiner. Right? So you're too cool for school.

R: They just have different priorities in life.

M: Oh, boy. Yeah, that would be fun. Anyway, thank you very much, dear listener, for listening to us for being with us on this premium superduper podcast. Hugs and kisses. Rory, give hugs and kisses.

R: I'm trying to think of a pun.

M: Oh, just, just don't, you know.

R: No, there must, there must always be a pun.

M: Just don't. Rory wants some joke.

R: Hopefully, hopefully, it wasn't too challenging. Haha.

M: Right. Goodbye!

R: Bye!


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