IELTS Listening Practice - 5 Ways To Kill Your Dreams

Posted by on April 13, 2015

Bel Pesce from TED.COM

Do you struggle to understand different accents? Most of the students we coach for the IELTS or TOEFL complain that their greatest struggle and biggest fear are the variety of accents in the exam. The best way to overcome this weakness is to expose yourself to a variety of accents and thus increase your "accent tolerance". What this means is that by listening to different kinds of accents we can make ourselves comfortable with the different patterns and styles that are common from various regions where English is spoken.


We chose this video by Bel Pesce from TED.COM because the content is great, and it's a good video to help you start increasing your accent tolerance. Bel is from Brazil and speaks with a strong South American accent.


  1. Start by taking approximately 30 seconds to read over the comprehension questions. Make sure you try to identify what you think the keywords and concepts are.
  2. Next, either watch the video or listen to the audio and try and answer the questions without re-listening or re-winding the audio.
  3. Now, you can check your answers or listen to the video again. We recommend you keep listening until you can hear each of the answers clearly from the audio.
  4. If all else fails, take a look at the script (click the script button below the video) and read along with the video the double check your comprehension.

Lets get started:

Audio Transcript


0:11 I dedicated the past two years to understanding how people achieve their dreams. When we think about the dreams we have, and the dent we want to leave in the universe, it is striking to see how big of an overlap there is between the dreams that we have and projects that never happen. (Laughter) So I'm here to talk to you today about five ways how not to follow your dreams.

0:35 One: Believe in overnight success. You know the story, right? The tech guy built a mobile app and sold it very fast for a lot of money. You know, the story may seem real, but I bet it's incomplete. If you go investigate further, the guy has done 30 apps before and he has done a master's on the topic, a Ph.D. He has been working on the topic for 20 years.

1:02 This is really interesting, I myself have a story in Brazil that people think is an overnight success. I come from a humble family, and two weeks before the deadline to apply to MIT, I started the application process. And, voila! I got in. People may think it's an overnight success, but that only worked because for the 17 years prior to that, I took life and education seriously. Your overnight success story is always a result of everything you've done in your life through that moment.

1:37 Two: Believe someone else has the answers for you. Constantly, people want to help out, right? All sorts of people: your family, your friends, your business partners, they all have opinions on which path you should take: "And let me tell you, go through this pipe." But whenever you go inside, there are other ways you have to pick as well. And you need to make those decisions yourself. No one else has the perfect answers for your life. And you need to keep picking those decisions, right? The pipes are infinite and you're going to bump your head, and it's a part of the process.

2:12 Three, and it's very subtle but very important: Decide to settle when growth is guaranteed. So when your life is going great, you have put together a great team, and you have growing revenue, and everything is set -- time to settle. When I launched my first book, I worked really, really hard to distribute it everywhere in Brazil. With that, over three million people downloaded it, over 50,000 people bought physical copies. When I wrote a sequel, some impact was guaranteed. Even if I did little, sales would be okay. But okay is never okay. When you're growing towards a peak, you need to work harder than ever and find yourself another peak. Maybe if I did little, a couple hundred thousand people would read it, and that's great already. But if I work harder than ever, I can bring this number up to millions. That's why I decided, with my new book, to go to every single state of Brazil. And I can already see a higher peak. There's no time to settle down.

3:14 Fourth tip, and that's really important: Believe the fault is someone else's. I constantly see people saying, "Yes, I had this great idea, but no investor had the vision to invest." "Oh, I created this great product, but the market is so bad, the sales didn't go well." Or, "I can't find good talent; my team is so below expectations." If you have dreams, it's your responsibility to make them happen. Yes, it may be hard to find talent. Yes, the market may be bad. But if no one invested in your idea, if no one bought your product, for sure, there is something there that is your fault. (Laughter) Definitely. You need to get your dreams and make them happen. And no one achieved their goals alone. But if you didn't make them happen, it's your fault and no one else's. Be responsible for your dreams.

4:11 And one last tip, and this one is really important as well: Believe that the only things that matter are the dreams themselves. Once I saw an ad, and it was a lot of friends, they were going up a mountain, it was a very high mountain, and it was a lot of work. You could see that they were sweating and this was tough. And they were going up, and they finally made it to the peak. Of course, they decided to celebrate, right? I'm going to celebrate, so, "Yes! We made it, we're at the top!" Two seconds later, one looks at the other and says, "Okay, let's go down." (Laughter)

4:47 Life is never about the goals themselves. Life is about the journey. Yes, you should enjoy the goals themselves, but people think that you have dreams, and whenever you get to reaching one of those dreams, it's a magical place where happiness will be all around. But achieving a dream is a momentary sensation, and your life is not. The only way to really achieve all of your dreams is to fully enjoy every step of your journey. That's the best way.

5:18 And your journey is simple -- it's made of steps. Some steps will be right on. Sometimes you will trip. If it's right on, celebrate, because some people wait a lot to celebrate. And if you tripped, turn that into something to learn. If every step becomes something to learn or something to celebrate, you will for sure enjoy the journey.

5:41 So, five tips: Believe in overnight success, believe someone else has the answers for you, believe that when growth is guaranteed, you should settle down, believe the fault is someone else's, and believe that only the goals themselves matter. Believe me, if you do that, you will destroy your dreams. (Laughter)

6:00 (Applause)

6:01 Thank you.



5 Ways – A Motivational talk by Bel Pesce

Circle the appropriate choice, True / False / Not Given.

  1. The Speaker has spent the last two years looking at why people don’t achieve their dreams? True / False / Not Given
  2. Overnight success is a key to achieving one’s dreams? True / False / Not Given
  3. The Speaker applied to MIT two weeks before the cutoff date. True / False / Not Given
  4. Getting into MIT was difficult for the speaker. True / False / Not Given

Answer the following questions using no more than three words.

  1. For your life, not a single other person has the perfect ___________.
  2. When everything is going right, you have a good team surrounding you and your making lots of money then it’s time ________________.
  3. With the launch of a new book the speaker visited every _________ in Brazil.
  4. If you have dreams it’s your ______________ to make it happen
  5. Life is not about only reaching your aims, but life is about the __________.

10 & 11 The Tips on how not to follow your dreams are:

-          Believe in overnight success.

-          Believe someone else has the answers for you.

-          Believe that when growth is guaranteed, you should ______________.

-          Believe the fault is someone else’s.

-          Believe that ________________________


Open For Answers



  1. False – She hasn’t been looking at why they don’t but at why they do.
  2. False – overnight success is one of the killers of our dreams.
  3. True – She started the application process two weeks before the deadline.
  4. Not Given – no information on the difficulty of the process is given.
  5. answers
  6. to settle
  7. state
  8. journey
  9. settle down
  10. only goals matter / goals themselves matter


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