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10 Reasons for You to Listen to Music Even When It’s Not in a Language You Understand

10 Reasons for You to Listen to Music Even When It’s Not in a Language You Understand

Aldous Huxley once wrote “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Music is and has always been a great source of inspiration and entertainment for many. And even more so when accompanied by brilliant lyrics that gives the song its soul.

But here’s a fun insight. A vast majority of the music that we come across in our life has lyrics in languages we do not speak, hence rendering “the soul of music” incomprehensible, inaccessible. But should this stop us from listening to them anyway? Common sense dictates, yes. But I’m here to prove otherwise.

1. You can learn a new language with ease.

As strange as it may sound, music can be a great tool to learn a language. If you’re learning a new language or at least planning to learn a new language, you should definitely be listening to songs written in it.

There have been lots of research on the role of passive listening in learning a new language. And listening to music can be described more accurately as passive listening on steroids.

You may have experienced this before. You listen to some catchy tune and you later find yourself involuntarily trying to sing it yourself. What we are talking about is trying the same thing with foreign songs.

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2. You can always feel the music.

To brute logic, music may be an organization of rhythm and melody accompanied by lyrics that serve as the prime content of the song. However, as an art form, music is much more than just an organization.

The prime asset of any song is the accompanying emotion. How does it make you feel? And one thing about emotion is that it that there are no cultural barriers, such as different languages, that define it.

Any piece of music in the world, sung in any language, will have an accompanying emotion that its listener can almost immediately comprehend. So the language of a foreign song shouldn’t matter at all as long as it makes you feel the way you wish to feel, which is true of all music.

3. You can just move to it.

One of the prime purposes of music throughout history has been as a means for dancing. Every culture has its own form of dances and with them, songs that accompany these dances. Like emotions, rhythm is something that has no cultural barriers, and anyone who loves to “move” can move to a movable piece of music regardless of the language.

How many times have you come across an upbeat song like Hot Chip’s latest release with no knowledge whatsoever of what the singer or singers are singing about, and you just felt like dancing along? I know I have. This is true for upbeat songs of almost every language.

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4. It opens your gateways to the musical styles of the world.

This is particularly important if you’re a creative musician. But it may be just as important for someone simply passionate about music. Every culture in the world has its own unique path of evolution. And with it, its own cultural values, norms and a unique style and flavor of art.

This is just as true for music as it is for any other art form. If you are open to listening to foreign songs, you have opened yourself a gateway to a new dimension of music to draw influences from. Most creative musician draw all their influences from songs originating in one culture. Imagine if they had the entire world to draw influence from.

5. Music is in the same genre, different culture.

Even if you wish to stick to the genre of your culture, there is music of the same genre that is sung in many languages. Rock music, heavy metal, hip hop—whatever you happen to like, it is practiced throughout the world. And each language adds its own unique flavor to the genre.

There could very well be a musician in Mongolia who influences you more than someone in your own country. The point is, if you are open to listening to songs in foreign languages, you do not restrict your influences. There could be a piece of music waiting to inspire you out there. Don’t let one barrier separate you from it.

6. You can translate the lyrics after all.

You are living in the 21st century for god’s sake! You have access to tools that can actually help you decipher the meaning behind the words of that foreign song you’ve so much grown into. Most of these tools are free and incredibly accurate.

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Translating the words will for starters help you understand the content of the song, so that the next time you feel like singing it out loud, you actually know what you sing of. Then there is the unique insight the translated words provide on the culture associated with the song.

7. You can connect with native speakers.

Every traveler dreams of being treated by the locals as one of their own. Every traveler also knows how hard it is. Hence, most of us end up travelling to new places but simply miss out on living that new place. Well, once again the answer is music.

Imagine yourself in a room with a foreigner. A tense environment. Suddenly, he starts singing a folk song of your culture. How happy would that make you? Every culture has a set of songs it holds very dearly and if you can sing along with the locals, they will undoubtedly treat you as their own.

8. You avoid the tragedy associated with great music, horrible lyrics.

How many times have you come across a great piece of music only to end up being disappointed with the shallow lyrics? How many times have you appreciated the singer’s singing but just loathed the weak lyric he/she sings?

Well, here’s some great news in the context of this article: this isn’t going to be a problem with foreign songs. If you like the music, you just like it, regardless of how the lyrics go. And having avoided this tragedy, you are free to draw a subjective influence from the music. The greatest artists will tell you: subjective influences are the best!

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9. You will be perceived as cultured.

The modern world is incredibly lacking in people who are cultured. And to be perceived as one can be a great asset to hold. If you genuinely enjoy foreign songs, then you are, to the average eye, more cultured than the rest.

Be it cooking dinner while listening to Italian Opera, or working out with Rammstein playing in your work out headphone, if you enjoy doing these things, then you already hold an appreciation for the foreign cultures that they originated from; this is something that is very uncommon among average people and hence “unique.” Cultivating this habit can be as beneficial to your career as it is to your personal life.

10. You break barriers between cultures.

Time and again, history has proved that art can be a great means to connect the world. This has been especially true in the modern world where technology has made art forms from every corner of the world accessible. And it is no different with music, the queen of the art forms.

You know this when you see people who don’t speak Korean enjoy k-pop, people who don’t speak Hindi dance to Bollywood songs, or people who don’t speak English produce music in genres that originated in English speaking nations. Basically, we are all becoming a part of one huge mega-culture.

Featured photo credit: Wikimedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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