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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

7 Ways Learning a Foreign Language can Improve Your Life

7 Ways Learning a Foreign Language can Improve Your Life

Learning a foreign language can enhance your life in so many ways. It can help improve things like health, job opportunities, relationships and personal development. Unfortunately, and maybe generally, those of English-speaking heritage are notoriously lazy when it comes to learning a language other than our own. Once you can speak another language, it can open so many doors. We’ve listed seven excellent reasons as to why you should learn a foreign language.

1. Improve Brain Health

Multiple studies have shown there are many cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language, no matter what your age is. These benefits include a longer attention span, memory improvement, better focus and concentration, and increased listening skills. There are so many quizzes online that finding a good one can be hard; although you might not learn as much as you would in a lesson, you might gain an idea of what level you’re at.

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ONLINE QUIZ
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      2. Increase your Job Opportunities

      There are many ways that languages can be incorporated into potential jobs and used to improve your employment prospects. Many companies operate in multiple countries around the world, therefore hiring employees who can speak at least one foreign language is vital.

      As well as increasing the number of jobs you can get, the ability to speak a different language also sets you apart from other candidates for potential jobs. When up against another person for a job, speaking a foreign language fluently is an admired skill which could easily set you apart from another candidate.

      3. Make Friends and Build Relationships

      Speaking a different language enables you to meet new people who also speak that language, and can result in lifelong friendships that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to make. As well as building relationships with people who speak that language, it also gives the opportunity to learn more about other cultures. You can participate in exciting and engaging conversations about topics which you may have never even discussed before.

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      You can learn more about foreign cultures, attitudes and values as well as finding out more about your own culture, gaining an outsider’s perspective on your culture and how you live. Speaking a different language lets you develop a deeper connection with others, allowing a truly enriched friendship or relationship to blossom.

      4. Improve Holiday Selection

      Going on holiday to somewhere you can speak the language can greatly enhance your experience. There’s nothing better than being able to communicate with the locals, navigate your way round and talk to anyone with ease.

      One of the great things about learning a foreign language is that it is usually used in different places as well as the origin country. For example, Spanish is spoken in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Cuba and many more countries.

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        5. Become a Better Learner

        When you learn a new language, your brain automatically finds a way to learn more efficiently. Whether you want to learn multiple languages or simply gain more skills, mastering a foreign language can help kick your brain into gear to adapt to learning new knowledge and information.

        6. Enjoy a Cultured and Varied Lifestyle

        Speaking in a foreign language gives you the opportunity to appreciate works of art in their original language. You don’t need to rely on translated films and books, or badly English dubbed TV shows. You can savour the beauty of the original message; whether it’s manga, Bollywood films or Swedish rap, you can capture it in it’s finest form.

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        7. Boost Confidence

        Overcome your fears and doubts, learn from your mistakes, find out more about yourself, and challenge yourself. Learning a foreign language can be incredibly rewarding and can do wonders to your courage and determination. Practicing this language is a great way to get over your insecurities, and find it easier to talk to other people.

        Want to learn a new language effectively? Don’t miss these tips:

        Featured photo credit: Paul Hanaoka via unsplash.com

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        Jess Melia

        Jess is a passionate writer and journalist. She shares about motivational and learning tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on August 4, 2020

        The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

        The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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        1. Value Your Time

        Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

        2. Know Your Priorities

        Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

        For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

        3. Practice Saying No

        Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

        4. Don’t Apologize

        A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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        5. Stop Being Nice

        Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

        Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

        6. Say No to Your Boss

        Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

        But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

        7. Pre-Empting

        It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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        “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

        8. Get Back to You

        Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

        “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

        At least you gave it some consideration.

        9. Maybe Later

        If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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        “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

        Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

        10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

        This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

        Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

        Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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