The power of the subconscious mind and the sound of English
At this point, you are very likely asking yourself "How can I listen to authentic English if I don't understand what the speakers are saying?" If you go back to the paragraph called "But I don't understand spoken English!" you will find most of the answers to your question.
Another crucial piece of advice is this: learning a language has a lot to do with the subconscious mind. This is an element that traditional language schools don't pay much attention to, which is why most of their students don't succeed. Your subconscious mind is the most powerful language learning device ever created. If you use it the right way, you can learn any language you like.
Here is how the subconscious mind works: you have probably already experienced instances in which someone is telling you about a piece of news – a new product, the origin of a company's name, the reason why polar bears don't eat penguins – and while you're listening, you suddenly get the impression that you've heard that same piece of information before... but for some reason you can't remember where and when you heard it. You're not even 100% sure you actually did hear it, or you just imagine you did.
That's a perfect example of how the subconscious mind works. It's similar to a radio receiver: once you switch it on, it constantly receives information from the station, whether anybody's listening to it or not. Your subconscious mind follows the same principle – the only difference is that your brain is much more sophisticated than a radio receiver.
What's more, your subconscious mind not only receives information, but also stores that information so you can retrieve it later. Your subconscious mind absorbs any sound that comes in your ears and runs it through a database of recorded sound patterns. This process happens within milliseconds and without your realizing it. You don't even have to do anything. Now, when you listen to spoken English regularly, you will hear the same words and phrases over and over again. At first, many of them will be new to your subconscious mind, so it will not find matching phrases in its database. However, as you continue your listening activities, your brain starts recognizing more and more phrases, because you are hearing them repeatedly. The sound patterns of these new phrases will get stored in your head and you will be able to retrieve them more and more easily.
As a matter of fact, here is what will happen: at some point you'll wake up in the morning with English words or phrases in your head, and you won't remember precisely where you heard them. You might not even know their full meanings, but they will still be safely stored in your brain. And you shouldn't worry about their meanings, because sooner or later those will become clear. When you hear a certain phrase in various contexts over and over again, you will pick up the meaning of that phrase automatically.
As a winner, you should trust in yourself. Most students use only a tiny fraction of the potential of their subconscious, and that's why they achieve only mediocre results. Your approach should be different. Listen to English and let your brain absorb the vocabulary. Don't make the mistake of trying to force new words into your head – learning is a smooth and constant process. How many new words a day can you learn every day if you just use old-fashioned vocabulary lists? Trying to cram the pronunciations and meanings of new words into your brain is a laborious, frustrating and ineffective method requiring extreme concentration and willpower.
In the long run, it is much easier and more effective if you expose yourself to spoken English on a daily basis. Just remember that learning English is a lifelong process rather than a time-limited exercise. You can initiate and manage this process effectively if you start to make use of your subconscious. Stop trying to force vocabulary and grammar into your head. Begin to listen to authentic spoken English for several hours every day, and let the language flow into your subconscious database.