A lot of people ask me how I managed to acquire working knowledge of 10+ languages despite my young age.
Even seasoned professors managed to wonder how I could present on many topics before college classes with such clarity…or, as I often get, “how does all of that information fit in your head?”
Well, I don’t believe in keeping secrets and so today I let forth everything that I did right and, more importantly, that I did DIFFERENTLY.
- I make efficient use of “dead time.”
This is probably the MOST important thing that will net you results with your time. Do this within a week, and you’ll notice significant results in any goals you have your heard on attaining.
If I’m on the subway and standing? I’m listening to audio in one of my target languages.
Am I working out? I’m doing very much the same.
Waiting for an appointment? Flashcards or books. Easy.
This is the difference between someone who struggles with their second language and someone who becomes a hyperpolyglot. This is, to some degree, the only difference. But there are other ones worth mentioning.
- I focus on what I REALLY WANT.
How do I manage to learn many things succinctly? Easy. I find things that I like and I focus on them.
This results in a situation where I focus more on the languages I care about than those that most in society would deem “useful”. But so what? Better to have knowledge of something you care about DEEPLY than to have forced knowledge that someone else thinks or says is a good idea.
Obviously, if your “language love” is a global language, choose that. If it’s a small national language or minority language, choose that too. But remember this: the very thought of studying it should be like getting a treat to you. If that isn’t the language you’re learning right now (or ones you’re maintaining), pick ones that DO fit that bill.
- I have an ego (and I’m not afraid to admit it. On here, at least).
I have a drive to be the best and be a legend. Admittedly not everyone has that drive. And that’s okay.
What really drives me to accomplish things is a sense that…I’m not ashamed to admit it, I like attention. And it’s not a bad thing, as long as you use it for HELPING others in your community and building yourself in a positive way. (Make yourself into a hero, not a villain who tramples on others for the sake of puffing themselves up.)
In line with that: while I am not a descendant of Holocaust survivors, I am a descendant of pogrom survivors and, to some degree, I see that I have to life a good life as much as I can for the sake of my distant family members (including other Ashkenazi Jews as a whole) who didn’t get that opportunity.
- I’m fluid in my identity.
I post about Pacific Islands regularly, as I do with Greenland, Jewish culture, Scandinavia, video games, stupid puns and countless other topics besides. I see a gift of living in the contemporary world with infinite masks.
Making someone curious about the world is one of the SUREST ways to make the fluent in several languages. And the fact that I’ve found myself confused about who I am for most of my life (including as I write this) helped with that, even though it harmed me in many other respects.
And another important thing is…
- I don’t ask myself “what do I use to learn a language?” Instead, I ask myself, “what DON’T I use to learn a language?”
I think of my life as in need to “mobilization strategies”, as what the United States did during the Second World War and also what I hope it (and all of human civilization) will do for the sake of saving the climate and the human future.
If I have a goal, I have to warp my life as much as possible to point towards the directed outcome. Make sacrifices. Build habits. Make the right friends. Join the right groups. Surround myself with material conducive towards fulfilling that goal.
There’s a difference between using one method to learn something (what many people do, especially with apps [and those apps are usually more invested in their profit than getting you to learn and this is no secret at all]) and those who use almost ANY method they can get their hands on to learn something.
And it doesn’t all have to be book-learning either!
If you want your life to change, you will have to change your life.
And the good news is that anyone can do that. At any time!