Confessions and Accountability: A Lesson In Language.

I work hard on accountability, I hold my friends and the men that come to me for advice accountable for their actions, and more importantly they hold me accountable for mine.

One of the best compliment I was paid all year was being told that “I make a great Accountability Partner”, since I proactively followed up by asking if they’d taken the first steps towards the goal that they’d set.

That’s because I want to see the people that I care about win at life.

I hold myself accountable with my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, weightlifting, regularly reading new books, and most other areas in my life. I can’t do it alone. That’s why I make my goals clear to other people that are on the same path.

With my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I talk to my training partners about refining my technique and what areas I need to focus on that help me balance the fundamentals of basics I need to learn, with the clever/fun techniques that I want to learn.

In the gym, I talk to my friends who lift weights about switching routines to keep my muscles surprised and growing. We talk about making measured physical gains by doing something painful and seeking discomfort.

With my literary friends, we talk about the known literary gems that we can all agree are profound and helpful. We also bring each other information on books we discovered that not so well known authors wrote. Books that are not popular, but still able to give us life altering and life improving (insert quotes) words of wisdom.

The key, and hardest part of my progressing through life is sharing with my friends that I have goals. The circles that I exist in are filled with other high-flying, accomplished people that will definitely hold me accountable for the things I claim to be pursuing.

That’s why I realized that I was allowing myself to be grossly dishonest about an aspect of my life that I have been pursuing:

Combining learning with cultural awareness.

Combining learning with cultural awareness.

I’m learning Portuguese as a second language, online with DuoLingo where you can add me as a friend, and with a tutor in person. My goal is functional, professional fluency.  I need to speak Portuguese as well as I can speak English.

I kept this to myself because living here in Brazil means that nearly all of my friends use Portuguese as a first language, and are nearly fluent in English. Still, I know that if they knew I was working hard they would be making my life much harder by refusing to speak any English with me. My friends and I can be real assholes to each other. Even writing this I can hear them plotting on waiting until we are all out having a snack so that they can tell everyone to only speak Portuguese to me, no matter what.

I know I need this, still it will be painful.

Growth is painful,


YusefWateef (at)


  1. Pingback: Confessions and Accountability: A Lesson In Language. –
  2. Verônica

    Hey, Watt! Thanks for letting me read something yours. I really liked this text and your notes pic even more. I think friendship is real when it allows and helps you to grow. I’m happy to see you’re learning portuguese (most of the “gringos” don’t mind in doing so) and about our reality. Good text. 🙂


    • YusefWateef

      My travels have taught me that you can’t learn about a culture if you can’t listen to stories in the language of the land. I think it’s insulting when people move to a country and refuse to make an honest attempt to learn the local language.

      In the USA, we seriously dislike people who move to America and refuse to learn English. Many new residents complain that they aren’t treated fairly, and that the country is not “working for them” because they don’t understand anything. It’s not the responsibility of a new, home country to learn your language, it is the job of the people who move to a new country to learn theirs!

      Glad you noticed what I wrote in the picture!


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