I’m taking a Japanese language class and by god is it difficult. Every week I think I’m making progress, but then the class puts me back in my place. Japanese may be extra difficult, but picking up any new language is a serious challenge.
Learning a new language messes with your brain. For most people learning something new is the only challenge they get in their daily lives. That said, as you get older and more into your ‘life’ the types of challenges you experience decrease.
Usually, we only see challenges within the domain of work. Which although challenging, usually needs the type of thinking common for work. But that type of thinking is what you use all year long so it is nothing new.
It is About Learning New Things
When you learn a new language, you are faced with the challenge of everything being new. You learn a new grammar, a bunch of words and some idioms. You also may discover new words that mean something different from what you’d expect.
These challenges go to the core of you being and affect the way your brain works. Language is one of the first things you learn as a child. So it is the basis for everything else you learn afterward. In this sense learning a new language means digging deep into the core of everything else you know.
Being forced to learn something new keeps you on your feet. The challenge is exhausting and time-consuming. You end up having to spend all your free time focused on the language. But in the end, you get something great.
You learn something fundamental, that you can build on top of. With this you have access to new ideas, thoughts and mental processes. You can also consume a whole new set of entertainment, like books and movies. Greatest of all, you gain the opportunity to talk to new people.
Learning a new language is a lifetime challenge, that you never seem to finish. But you always learn more and are making new accomplishments. At some point, you can have a conversation, then understand a TV show, then read a book. At each step, you have an accomplishment, while still having something to work towards.
It is fascinating to hear someone speak two different languages. But if they can speak two languages that means they have gone through a challenge. A challenge that you will also need to go through to succeed.
At the same time, their success encourages your success, as it proves that it is possible. If you follow their lead, you have a greater potential for success yourself. This is because you have seen it happen with your own eyes.
Hearing someone speak another language makes me think it would be amazing if I could do the same thing. That serves as a motivation for creating a goal. And as a goal, it is way better than watching YouTube videos.
The Greatest Lesson of All
There is another lesson you learn when learning a new language. You get to re-learn persistence and sticking with something. And that lesson could be one of the greatest lessons you can ever learn.
The key is that this is a challenge, and challenges make you great. Especially this type of challenge as it could take years to complete. But in the end, the rewards will be greater than anything else.
Getting great at something feels good and is important for your self-esteem. Your sense of self improves when you do something amazing. It also makes it easier to do other things later.
Consider learning a new language when you are looking for a serious challenge.