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Why Multilinguals Are More Creative And Have Sharper Minds

Why Multilinguals Are More Creative And Have Sharper Minds

Good news multilinguals, if you haven’t had the chance to step into the creative world or try your hand in business, maybe it’s time that you consider doing so just because you have the sheer advantage to excel in it. Being conversant in multiple languages not only makes you sound cool like Jason Bourne, it also makes you more creative and have a sharper mind. Here’s why:

1.Enhanced Memory

There are definitely times when we suffer mental blocks and can’t remember an English word we want to use and for most of us, it’s probably the only main language we speak. But for a multilingual, that struggle is multiplied especially when they need to use the right word, grammar rules and structure when shifting in culture and context. So it is no surprise that multilinguals are blessed with better working memory than monolinguals.

2.Better Creative Process

According to a team of experts in Europe, they had concluded that being multilingual helps your brain develop more neuronal connections. By learning a new language, your brain is being worked like a muscle, stimulating and developing more neuronal webs which can lead to a higher capacity for generating more creative processes.

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Medical Daily reported on a research done to observe 120 9-year-old students. Half were monolinguals and the other were bilinguals. The children were then tested on problem solving and creative thinking. The results? The children who could speak more than one language scored better at the tests. In terms of creative thinking, the bilingual children demonstrated a difference in the level of detail and richness in description.

3.Better Problem-Solving Skills

Research conducted at the American University of Sharjah had shown that multilinguals approach the same problems with different perspectives compared to monolinguals. This is due to the practice of being exposed to different cultures when learning a new language, therefore they are more open-minded when faced with a situation.

Studies have shown that multilinguals are better at filtering out unwanted information because they use more of the executive function of the brain. By doing so, they are efficient in focusing on the problem and yet bring about new perspectives to tackle the problem at different angles.

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4.Masters at Multi-tasking

To be able to handle twice or thrice as many words efficiently, the brain has no other choice but to use more focus and resources to be able to switch between languages quickly. Research has shown that because of this, multilinguals are able to switch between multiple tasks and shift their attention quicker than monolinguals.

Not only that, but because the brain of a multilingual has to look out for mistakes and errors during the task of switching languages, this would also be applied efficiently to reduce errors when switching between tasks.

5.Sharp Decision Making Skills

A study in Chicago University had revealed that multilinguals are more likely to make the right decisions as compared to monolinguals. Being able to speak multiple languages allow multilinguals to see the bigger picture and to understand more complex situations better.

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The study also showed that when we speak a different language with a less familiar language, we tend to be less biased when making a decision. What this means is that we become more rational when we speak in a second or third language which in turn, helps us to make a better decision.

Multilingualism makes you smarter

Concrete evidence have shown us that being a multilingual can bring about many benefits and as proven in the workforce, it can also be an advantage when searching for a job. Job applications require us to fill in the types of languages we speak as being multilingual is seen to be an asset by employers.

Being a multilingual truly has its perks, so why not get started on a new language right away?

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Featured photo credit: Tom Hiddleston via flic.kr

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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