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This Is What Will Happen When You Start Learning Spanish

This Is What Will Happen When You Start Learning Spanish

Most of us have studied or learned a second language sometime in our education, whether it was at elementary school, high school, university, or beyond.

For those of you fortunate enough to have learnt Spanish (or be learning Spanish), the benefits may outweigh those offered by learning other languages.

For one, Spanish is no longer considered a foreign language. There are 38 million people in the US alone speaking Spanish, and HIspanics will make up 30% of the population in the US by 2050. In addition, Spanish is spoken in 20 countries today, with 44 countries containing at least 3 million Spanish speakers.

Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language across the world, as such, you’ll know you are going to gain great rewards for the time you take learning to speak Spanish. Even the British are swapping French for Spanish; The British Council’s “Languages of the Future” report ranks non-English languages in order of importance for British citizens to learn, based on a thorough analysis of cultural, economical, and diplomatic factors. Spanish topped the list, followed by Arabic, French, and Mandarin.

Here are some other amazing things that will happen when you start learning Spanish.

1. You’ll open up more career opportunities

As the population of Latinos continues to increase in the US and around the world, there is a huge demand for individuals who can speak Spanish. And this demand will only rise faster than ever as Spanish-speaking economies continue to thrive ($6 trillion GDP), backed by the commodities boom.

This is especially important for those of us who want to work in business and the media, as in these industries it is particularly lucrative to tap into the market of over half a billion people who speak the Spanish language. English may be okay if you’re just buying something from someone, but doing complex business deals together is a completely different thing.

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In other words, learning Spanish will not only increase your chances of getting a raise at your current job, but it also opens up new career opportunities around the world.

2. You’ll become an avid traveller

One of the biggest obstacles we have when it comes to travelling is the fear of not being able to communicate.

When it comes to learning Spanish, you’re not just learning how to speak Spanish, you’ll also learn about the amazing culture and people behind the words from South America, Central America, Spain, and more.

You’ll notice the different accents, personalities, and the beautiful attractions that each country has to offer, and open your mind to a completely new world.

Learning Spanish will become not only a valuable education, but a global experience for you.

Spanish-Speaking-Countries

    3. You’ll be a more interesting person

    In today’s society, the knowledge of foreign languages is an attractive feature that many people truly admire — and for good reason.

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    We naturally associate individuals who understand another language with having more experiences with different cultures, being open-minded to new experiences, and simply being more interesting. For example, if you met two random strangers at a party, would you rather talk to someone who has lived in Washington their whole lives, or someone who has traveled and lived in Spain, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica in the past 12 months?

    Learning Spanish will allow you to gain experiences and knowledge that most only dream about experiencing, and will therefore make you a more interesting and attractive person to be around.

    4. You’ll be more outgoing and likable

    Language learning is not only about communicating in a foreign language, but it’s also about experiencing a new culture.

    The first reason is that meeting foreign people is embedded in the core of language learning. In order to practice and improve your new language, you’ll need to work with a native speaking teacher, use conversation exchanges, and/ or attend language meetups. This is similar to how you need to just ride the bicycle instead of watching videos about it; its just part of the process.

    The skills and experience gained from a conversation exchange include being more outgoing and sociable. This can have a positive impact on other areas of your life as well.

    Most importantly, learning a new language helps you step into the shoes of people different to yourself and see the world in a completely different way — therefore, developing empathy for others.

    5. You’ll improve your English/ native language

    Studies have shown that learning a second language can strengthen your language skills in your first language, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills.

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    When we think about it, it makes sense. Learning a new language like Spanish forces us to deconstruct every component of the language and learn it from the ground up. This includes accents, vocabulary, sentence structures, and so on. When we first learned our native language as children, it’s a skill that seemed to come quite naturally to us, or we hardly remember the language classes we took in elementary school.

    It’s similar to playing basketball your whole life, then learning how to play volleyball, and using those skills to improve your basketball game.

    “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”
    — Geoffrey Willans

    6. You’ll learn anything faster

    In a study done in Massachusetts (2007), researchers concluded that the “exercise in cognitive problem solving” through language learning can be directly applied to anything we want to learn.

    When learning Spanish. for example, you’ll be faced with different ways to conjugate verbs, and use new vocabulary that you’ve never encountered before, forcing you to solve a multiple problems in a creative manner.

    In brain imaging studies, scientists have discovered that bilinguals have higher density of gray matter in the area of the brain associated with vocabulary acquisition. Further research shows that your memory retention is also improved when learning a new language. Absorbing and retaining more information can significantly shorten your learning curve, because you can spend more time learning new information instead of re-learning something you’ve already seen before.

    7. You’ll make better decisions in life

    When you’re learning how to speak Spanish, you’ll be constantly making small decisions, such as forming sentence structures, experimenting with new words that you’ve never used before, and trying to understand what the other person is describing to you.

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    A study published online in the journal, Brain and Language, showed that multi-lingual individuals were better at filtering out competing words than monolingual individuals. This ability to tune out competing words benefits in blocking out distractions in order to focus on the task at hand.

    The best news of all this is that Spanish is easy to learn, especially if you work with a professional Spanish teacher. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have in learning languages, you can achieve your goals with a little bit of help.

    In fact, research has shown that even those of us with minimal knowledge of a secondary language can reap the advantages of the benefits we’ve mentioned in this article.

    With the abundance of options available today to learn or re-learn your Spanish, from language learning websites, books, audiotapes, and mobile apps, there’s no reason to wait to get started!

    how to learn spanish

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      Sean Kim

      Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

      Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

      You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

      This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

      According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

      Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

      There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

      How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

      When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

      Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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      1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

      One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

      The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

      Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

      2. Be Honest

      A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

      If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

      On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

      Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

      3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

      Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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      If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

      4. Succeed at Something

      When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

      Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

      5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

      Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

      Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

      If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

      If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

      Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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      6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

      Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

      You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

      On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

      You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

      7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

      Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

      Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

      Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

      When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

      Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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      In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

      Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

      It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

      Final Thoughts

      When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

      The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

      Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

      Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

      Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

      More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

      Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
      [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
      [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
      [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
      [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
      [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
      [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
      [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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