Mastering a large number of words is essential to achieving fluency in a foreign language. An unofficial, but often quoted, figure for the Cambridge First Certificate examination suggests that students with a vocabulary of less than 3,500 words are unlikely to be successful in the exam. Current research also suggests that native English speakers who have been educated up to 18 years old or beyond know at least 16,000 English words. And unless you already speak a language like Spanish or German, there are no shortcuts to a large vocabulary in English: you just have to rely on diligence and education. Of course you can figure out from the context the meanings of some new words you come across in your reading, but more often than not you have to look them up in a dictionary in order to be clear about their accurate meanings. A practicable way to pick up new words is, perhaps, to read a lot, preferably stories that you find interesting or exciting. It often pays to read the same book over and over again: each time you read it you will learn different new words, and the familiar context helps to fix them in your mind.
If you started on some venture and failed, do not despair/lose heart. There is a world of difference between “I have failed three times” and “I am a failure”. So long as you do not hold a negative concept of self or identify with failures but try to learn from them, you stand a good chance
to succeed in the future. Does it ever occur to you that those who fail repeatedly are often victims of a poor self-image? Often their failures are due to internal causes rather than external causes. Numerous cases have borne it out that if they can be induced to change their viewpoint and construct a positive self-image, miraculous changes may take place in their performance. Success can come anytime—at thirty, forty or even after a lifetime of apparent failure. Early triumphs may be sweet, but success in later life often tastes even better.