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15 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Studied A Foreign Language

15 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Studied A Foreign Language

Once you’ve learned a new language, it’s hard to go back. You develop a specific mindset and gain experiences that you can only have from learning a foreign language.

If you studied a foreign language, here are some things that you’ll immediately be able to relate to. If you’re only able to speak one language (English), these are references that you can look forward to.

1. It’s easy to get started. But so hard to master it.

Language learners understand that like any skill, getting started is the easy part. But to go from beginner to intermediate level, then intermediate level to advanced is another ball game. What’s the real secret to learning a language faster? Consistency, daily routines, and dedication.

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    2. Your private teacher becomes the highlight of your day

    Having a private teacher can accelerate your learning speed. When you start building a relationship with these teachers, it can become one of the best things to look forward to in your stressful day. There’s laughter, learning, and growth that happens with each session, and it can become addicting.

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      3. Going to the same ethnic restaurant again

      From sushi to Korean BBQ, we only find ourselves going to that same restaurant again, not only to enjoy the delicious food but to practice your target language.

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        4. That feeling when you’ve just had your first conversation with a native speaker

        Best feeling. Ever.

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          5. You now travel for a completely different reason

          When you can speak a new language, you can start building relationships with native speakers living in the country. Travel will never feel the same again.

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            6. The urge to start learning yet another language

            We’ve all had the desire to become a polyglot and being able to speak dozens of languages. But making sure we’ve established a solid foundation with one language before moving onto another is crucial.

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              7. Someone learns that you speak a foreign language, and now wants you to translate everything

              Then you realize how little you actually know, and how much more you need to practice.

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                8. The urge to hang out with anyone that speaks the language you’re learning

                When you’re first starting to learn a language, you either use it or lose it. It’s critical to find opportunities to practice your speaking skills with anyone that would speak with you in your target language. Find meetup events, conversation exchanges, online language teaching websites — anything!

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                  9. You’ve mistakenly greeted someone in a foreign language

                  Especially after you just finished speaking with your private teacher.

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                    10. Impress the people around you by ordering Tacos in Spanish

                    Even if you’re not President Obama.

                    President Obama orders lunch at Five Guys in Washington, D.C. during an unannounced lunch outing May 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

                      11. When someone uses the “everybody speaks English” argument

                      While over 1 Billion people speak English as their first or second language, that’s still 85% of the world that do not. As the world becomes a more multicultural place by the day, the diversity of languages spoken will only continue to increase.

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                        12. When people talk about you in a foreign language… but you understand them

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                          13. When you learn how to speak Spanish, and realize that there are 10+ places that speak a different type of Spanish

                          From Argentina, Colombia, Spain, and Mexico – they all come with different slangs, accents, and even grammar rules that will continuously confuse you!

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                            14. The first things you want to learn are the dirty words in the language

                            Let’s face it, these are the best words to learn. It’s why I first learned all the dirty words in Spanish when I traveled to South America.

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                              15. You’ve studied the language for so long that you forget how to say something in your native language.

                              Hola? Bonjour? Hello? It happens to the best of us.

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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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                                Published on May 26, 2020

                                7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

                                7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

                                Problems are, by their very nature, problematic. There are life problems, work problems, creative problems, and relationship problems. When we’re lucky, intuition takes over, and we solve a problem right away. When we’re not so lucky, we get stuck.

                                We might spend weeks or even months obsessing over how to write that term paper, get out of debt, or win back the love of our life. But instead of obsessing, let’s look at some effective problem solving techniques that people in the know rely on.

                                Ideation Vs Evaluation

                                It’s important to first understand and separate two stages of creativity before we look at effective problem solving techniques. Ideation is like brainstorming. It’s the stage of creativity where we’re looking for as many possible solutions as we can think of. There’s no judgment or evaluation of ideas at this stage. More is more.

                                After we’ve come up with as many solutions as possible, only then can we move onto the evaluation stage. This is when we analyze each possible solution and think about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s when all those good ideas from ideation rise to the top and the outlandish and impractical ones are abandoned.

                                7 Problem Solving Techniques That Work

                                Everyone has different ways of solving problems. Some are more creative, some are more organized. Some prefer to work on problems alone, others with a group. Check out the problem solving techniques below and find one that works for you.

                                1. Lean on Your Squad

                                The first of our seven problem solving techniques is to surround yourself with people you trust. Sometimes problems can be solved alone, but other times, you need some help.

                                There’s a concept called emergence that begins to explain why groups may be better for certain kinds of problem solving. Steven Johnson describes emergence as bottom up system organization.[1] My favorite example is an ant colony. Ants don’t have a president or boss telling them what to do. Instead, the complicated organization of the ant colony comes out of each individual ant just fulfilling their biological destiny.

                                Group creativity can also take on an emergent quality. When individuals really listen to, support, and add onto each other’s ideas, the sum of that group creativity can be much more than what any individual could have created on their own.

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                                Therefore, if you are struggling to solve a problem, you may want to find a group of people with whom you can collaborate, so you can start riffing with them about possible solutions.

                                2. Regulate Your Emotions

                                The next of the problem solving techniques is to be honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t solve problems as efficiently when we’re stressed out or upset, so starting with some emotional self-awareness goes a long way in helping us problem solve.

                                Dr. Daniel Siegel famously tells us to “Name it to tame it.” [2] He’s talking about naming our feelings, which offers us a better chance of regulating ourselves. I have to know that I’m stressed or upset if I want to calm down quickly in order to get back to a more optimal problem-solving state.

                                After you know how you’re feeling, you can take steps to regulate that feeling. If you’re feeling stressed out or upset, you can take a walk or try breathing exercises. Mindfulness exercises can also help you regain your sense of presence.

                                3. Listen

                                One thing that good problem solvers do is listen. They collect all the information they can and process it carefully before even attempting to solve the problem.

                                It’s tempting to jump right in and start problem solving before the scope of the problem is clear. But that’s a mistake.

                                Smart problem solvers listen carefully in order to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the problem, which gives them a huge advantage in solving that problem.

                                4. Don’t Label Ideas as Bad…Yet

                                The fourth of the seven problem solving techniques is to gather as many possible solutions as you can. There are no bad ideas…yet.

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                                Think back to the two stages of creativity. When we are in the ideation stage, we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas, input, and possible solutions.

                                When we evaluate, judge, and criticize during the ideation stage, we inadvertently hamper creativity. One possible outcome of evaluating during ideation is creative suppression.[3]

                                When someone responds to someone else’s creative input with judgment or criticism, creative suppression can occur if the person who had the idea shuts down because of that judgment or criticism.

                                Imagine you’re at a meeting brainstorming ways to boost your sales numbers. You suggest hiring a new team member, but your colleague rolls their eyes and says that can’t happen since the numbers are already down.

                                Now, your colleague may be 100% correct. However, their comment might make you shut down for the rest of the meeting, which means your team won’t be getting any more possible solutions from you.

                                If your colleague had waited to evaluate the merits of your idea until after the brainstorming session, your team could have come up with more possible solutions to their current problem.

                                During the ideation stage, more is more. We want as many ideas as possible, so reserve the evaluation until there’s no more ideating left to do.

                                Another trick for better ideating is to “Yes And” each other’s ideas[4] In improvisation, there’s a principle known as “Yes And.” It means that one improviser should agree with the other’s idea for the scene and then add a new detail onto that reality.

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                                For example, if someone says, “I can’t hear over your loud music,” the other person needs to go along with that idea and then add onto it. They might say, “Sorry, I’ll turn it down, but I don’t think everyone else here at the club will appreciate it.”

                                Now the scene is getting interesting. We’re in a club, and the DJ is going to turn the music down. Playing “Yes And” with each other made the scene better by filling in details about who and where the improvisers are.

                                Yes Anding also works well during ideation sessions. Since we’ve already established that we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas yet, Yes Anding gives us something we can do. We can see the merits of each other’s ideas and try to build on them. This will make all of our possible solutions more fully realized than a simple laundry list.

                                5. Approach Problems With Playfulness

                                Approaching problem solving too seriously can exacerbate the problem. Sometimes we get too fixated on finding solutions and lose a sense of playfulness and fun.

                                It makes sense. When there are deadlines and people counting on us, we can try to force solutions, but stepping back and approaching problems from a more playful perspective can lead to more innovative solutions.

                                Think about how children approach problem solving. They don’t have the wealth of wisdom that decades on this planet give. Instead, they play around and try out imaginative and sometimes unpractical approaches.

                                That’s great for problem solving. Instead of limiting ourselves to how things have always been done, a sense of play and playfulness can lead us to truly innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

                                6. Let the Unconscious Mind Roam

                                This may seem counterintuitive, but another technique to try when you become too fixated on a problem is to take a break to let the unconscious mind take over for a bit.

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                                Our conscious brain can only handle a limited amount of information at a time. Plus, it’s energetically exhausting to use our conscious brain for problem solving. Think about a time when you were studying for a test. It’s draining.[5]

                                But we’re in luck. There’s another part of our brain that isn’t draining and can integrate tons more information at a time—our unconscious.

                                This is why you come up with your best ideas in the shower or on your way to work or while you’re jogging. When you give your conscious brain a break, your unconscious has a chance to sift through mounds of information to arrive at solutions.

                                It’s how I write my articles. With my conscious brain, I think about which article I’m going to write. My problem is how to write it, so once I think carefully about the topic, I take a break. Then, the structure, sources, content, and sometimes phrasing happens in fits and starts while I’m not thinking about the article at all. It happens when I’m lying in bed, showering, and walking in the woods.

                                The key is to get in the habit of practicing this alternation between conscious and unconscious problem solving and to absolutely not force solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break.

                                7. Be Candid

                                The last of the problem solving techniques happens during the evaluation stage. If we’re going to land on the best possible solution to our problems, we have to be able to openly and honestly evaluate ideas.

                                During the evaluating stage, criticism and feedback need to be delivered honestly and respectfully. If an idea doesn’t work, that needs to be made clear. The goal is that everyone should care about and challenge each other. This creates an environment where people take risks and collaborate because they trust that everyone has their best interest in mind and isn’t going to pull any punches.

                                Final Thoughts

                                In order to come up with the best solutions for problems, ideation and evaluation have to be two distinct steps in the creative process. Then, you should tap into some of the above techniques to get your ideas organized and your problems solved.

                                Hopefully, these seven problem solving techniques will help your problems be less…problematic.

                                More Tips for Problem Solving

                                Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Steven Johnson: Emergence
                                [2] Dr. Dan Siegel: The whole-brain child
                                [3] American Psychological Association: Creative mortification
                                [4] Play Your Way Sane: And What?: Yes And
                                [5] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

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