Learning a Foreign Language

learning a foreign languageI love learning and starting new things, and the other day I was reading a post on one of my favorite blogs that inspired me to do something new. Tim Ferriss’ blog is full of usefully information, and in this post he writes about learning a foreign language quickly. He and the other writer of the post are fluent in many languages, and it is full of practical ways to learn a foreign language quicker than you would think.

When I was in college I took three years of Biblical Hebrew, and I was very good at it. Unfortunately, I have not kept up with it and have pretty much forgotten everything. This verse and a few other verses are all that I remember:

בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.

Since college I’ve always told myself that I wanted to learn another language, and with time I would love to learn several. The language I picked was Spanish, and I started a few days ago. I picked Spanish because it is the second most common language of the United States.

So far in my journey of language I’ve learned the following:

  • It’s Hard – The first couple of days of studying words I really thought this was going to be easy. That was until I had to add in more words…and more words!
  • Block out time – With my job, family, and other priorities…I don’t have a lot of time. So, I had to think creatively about when I was going to study. What I have learned is the best way to learn something new is to dedicate a specific time to it each day.  If you can’t find the time you may have to give something up.
  • Persistence - Now that it is starting to get hard I have to keep reminding myself to stick with it and don’t give up. I firmly believe you will not get anything of value in life without persistence. Calvin Coolidge said it best, “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

To me, learning new things is what keeps me motivated. The act of learning helps you to grow as a person, keeps you active, and challenges you. I love this Walt Disney quote; “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Who knows a year from now I could be fluent in Spanish and on my way to learning another language!

If you started to learn something new today where could it take you? What door could it open for you? Who would it allow you to meet? How would it transform you?

What are you going to start learning?

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