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7 Ways Learning a Language Will Make You a Better Person

7 Ways Learning a Language Will Make You a Better Person

Learning a language is known to have many benefits, but did you know that it will make you a better person?

For any bilingual or ‘trilingual’ individuals reading this, we can often take these benefits for granted since it becomes a norm after a while. But if you’re learning a new language or aspiring to learn a new language, keep these benefits in mind to keep you motivated during the journey.

Let’s start with…

1. Learning a Language Will Improve Your Relationships

The first reason for this is because most people today have friends, co-workers, customers, or even family members that speak another language as their native tongue. This is a massive transition from twenty to thirty years ago, where we didn’t live in as much of a multilingual world.

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There’s no better way to improve a relationship with someone than to speak their language.

Another reason is that studies show bilingual people have two different personalities — one when they’re speaking their native language (i.e. English), and another when they’re speaking the other language (i.e. Spanish). This may seem opposing at first, but this allows bilingual individuals to become more empathetic to a more diverse group of people.

2. Learning a Language Will Improve Your Memory

Studies show that bilingual children have a better working memory than a child that can only speak one language. While most of the memory is developed when we’re young, adults can still reap the benefits that come with being bilingual.

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    The University of Edinburgh has also found when studying the benefits of language learning in the brain, that most of the subjects were adults!

    3. Learning a Language Will Make You More Money

    Learning a language has shown to add between 10–15% to your wage, according to language specialist recruitment agency, Euro London.

    According to The Economist, these are the breakdowns by the most useful languages to learn for annual bonuses:

    • Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
    • French — 2.3 percent bonus
    • German — 3.8 percent bonus

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      This means that you can make an additional $50,000 to $125,000, just for knowing how to speak a foreign language!

      4. Learning a Language Will Make You Sexier

      2013 survey found that 79% of adults find being able to speak a second language a more attractive trait than speaking a single language.

      This also depends on what language you speak and who you’re speaking with of course. For example, French was considered the sexiest language, followed by Italian, then Spanish, then English.

      5. Learning a Language Will Advance Your Professional Career

      Over 60%+ of companies around the world have difficulty expanding internationally due to language barriers. Surveys show that employers value employees who can speak more than one language, and the more valuable you are in the marketplace, the more likely you will have additional opportunities to choose from.

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      6. Learning a Language Will Delay Diseases

      When it comes to the brain, learning a new language can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by 4.5 years. This is a far more powerful than the best drugs which only delays the symptoms by 6–12 months.

      The American Academy of Neurology has performed studies finding that speaking more than one language increases the amount of neural pathways in the brain, which is why it’s effective in preventing the most common brain diseases.

      7. Learning a Language Will Improve Your Native Language

      According to the Impact of the Second Language Education, learning how to speak a second language alone will significantly improve the grammar, reading, vocabulary, and speaking skills of your first language.

      You can think of it as learning how to play baseball when you’ve been playing tennis your whole life. It’s a different sport, but the muscle coordination and athletic abilities directly translate to accelerate your learning curve.

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      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.
      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, “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, “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.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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