Life lessons from learning a new language

In the process of learning the language where the pronunciation and way of spelling words are so different from English, there are a lot more than just the language that we learn.

Some of the major lessons that I feel that learning a language can teach us are:

1. Master the basics first

To master in any learning, a strong foundation of the basics of the subject is very important. That is one thing that we do the best when we’re learning a new language. We automatically go in for understand basics such as the alphabets, numbers, the pronunciations, basic greetings like hello, hi, how are you etc. and then slowly go in for the further intricacies in the language. The same patience to learn step by step can be applied in learning other things as well where we generally tend to hurry the learning process

2. Sincere practice makes perfect

It applies the most in learning a language and also obvious in the process of learning in general… practice as a part of learning process is something very essential to head towards perfection. Like we practice conversing, and pronouncing the new words we learn to attain perfection in the language we are learning, applying the same in learning general aspects would help in mastering in whatever knowledge to aim to acquire.

3. Listening  is a key to succeed

As mentioned earlier too Learning a new language requires understanding the sounds, phonetics and pronunciation that are specific to that language. We listen to experts of that language or native speakers and learn to say the words accordingly (be it on google translate or YouTube lessons or a native speaker or even using apps that support language learning). This applies well even for learning in general. Listening to ideas of peers, talks by experts or just giving an empathetic ear to a friend in need gives a way towards a next step towards learning and expertise.

4. Mistakes make you better

Take risks, give it a first try! No learning comes with success in the first attempt! This is another important thing that we can learn when we learn a new language. It takes a lot of chances to converse right sentences with right accent and pronunciation. We make mistakes and listen, practice more and learn. The same would apply to anything else that we are aiming at mastering! Learners should realise the positive impact of mistakes on their learning process and not get disheartened by them.

5. Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s not very easy to learn a language with different accents and pronunciation. There is always an influence of English and our mother tongues. For certain language we might have to unlearn and relearn a few phonetics. The same applies in the process of learning anything that is totally new and challenging! Once we have taken up the challenge of enhancing a new skill or knowledge, we should be ready to stretch a little bit from our comfort zone to attain excellence.

6. Creating Time

In case of learning a new language, we generally dedicate around 30 minuets daily to learn new words/phrases/sentences. In fact, during learning anything, making dedicated time everyday for quality learning is very important. All of us have busy schedule but when we have made up our minds to learn something, it’s necessary for us to set priorities and find time on a regular basis for learning with determination and motivation.

7. Having Fun / Experimenting

When learning something new, it could get a bit stressful, to get that accent, pronunciation etc. making it fun is a beautiful experience learning the language like listening to audios and experimenting to pronounce that way and laugh at your pronunciation and practice more and learn in a fun way!

Isn’t it the best way to learn even your theories and other technical concepts or even other day to day activities?

8. Develop self-determination

Being determined and setting goals for ourselves is another aspect we learn while seriously learning a new language. We could show determination by dedicating fixed time every day do learn a set of words and phrases aim to deliver a basic conversation in the language. Along with the fun a little bit of seriousness could help in learning faster and more effectively in any learning situation.

These are a some aspects that I felt I (and other learner’s) could learn from learning a new languages. There could be many more aspects that people grasp and learn along with learning a language. If you have any more aspects to add to the list please to comment on the article. Any other feedback is also welcome and accepted 🙂

Preparation: Key to respect

We all have come across incidences where we or people around us had to give a presentation and went to the Dias with minimal presentation due to either over confidence or lack of time, the presentation had gone a mess. Well these incidents from our own lives could work as learnings for all of us on the importance of preparation before working however ‘mastered’ we think we are in the subject. We have also observed that even during impromptu sessions or competitions, the participants are given some preparation time before the presentation. Of course there are techniques to prepare effectively in the given time and it also required prior knowledge on the topic that would enable us to think on the right lines for a quick preparation but preparation for that particular speech is necessary.

Even great orators and motivators prefer preparation before motivating youngsters. Sir M Vishweshwariya, who’s been known for his extraordinary brilliance and inventions once visited the school he studied where he was asked to motivate the students with his speech. He spoke very briefly was disappointed with his unprepared speech. Wanting to make up for it, he prepared a effective motivating speech and visited the school after a few days again and delivered it in more details. People with great thinking like him always make sure to be well prepared before their meetings, appointments and speeches and that is an attribute of many successful people.

To conclude, I would also like to quote a motivational line by Dr. Abdul Kalam, “To be like Sun, you need to burn like Sun” for which we need to warm up with preparation!!

Learning from Procrastination

Another day, not now, some other time… these are some thoughts that come to our mind when we think of working on something that we perceive are not that important at that moment. But is it always the perceived importance? It could be a task that is perceived too easy or too difficult. If too easy then it can wait till the last minute and if too difficult, it’s the fear if achieving the expected quality of the task.

Well I have been procrastinating to write this article for a couple of weeks just a thinking how can I write on this topic in an interesting way without making the readers procrastinate to read further 😛 I finally want to take up the challenge and will learn through the feedback I receive on this article.

The most common idea we get when we hear the word “procrastination” is that it’s a bane and displays laziness. It need not be so in every situation. Procrastinating can also be a boon in some circumstances where it depicts our wisdom. For instance procrastinating on spending on an expensive car we dream to own could help you make a right decision to save the money for our ‘needs’ more than your ‘wants’.

Procrastinating can also be perceived as a signal for our mind that we are stressed and don’t want to take more tasks in hand. This might help in setting priorities if we figured ways to choose which task we want to keep aside for later and what needs more attention right now and hence leading to learning ways to prioritising and managing time.

Perfectionism is another cause for procrastination as the expected perfection might usually results in failure and we don’t want to work on that again. Unrealistic expectations could lead to hampering of self esteem and lead to low self- confidence and depression. To learn from procrastination in this case, it is necessary to accept the failure as a part of learning and developing, not focusing too much on set backs and limitations (except for to learn from them) and to set goals that are easier to achieve and SMART in nature.

Is Failure always measured with Success?

Image result for failure and success

Today I came across a situation where I had to get back to my past and think about how what I used to perceive as my ‘failures’ have actually been a stepping stone to my success. I happened to share this thought with a good friend and a well- wisher. Her response shocked me… “don’t be too open about your failures, people won’t respect you!” she said.  Well personally I feel, there is no success without failure and only when one has faced a failure they know the value of success and also the true meaning of it. Failure need not be in terms of academic ranks or scores but it can be in any aspect of life, such as: the way one sees life, the way one responds to failure and success, maintaining or responding to relationships etc.

Seeing failure as something offensive and hiding it to only show the success means we have failed in recognizing the real path to where we are, was these materialistic failures that we have faced.

Coming back from where I started this article, I was thinking about my 12th standard results. I had taken science (PCMB) in PUC. Physics, chemistry and mathematics were never my cup of tea and around the same time I had a ligament tear in my ankle and hence I just reached the ‘passing marks’ in these three subjects and also could not get through with a good CET score. I thought I had “failed” as an ideal Indian student by not going into engineering. That was actually my first step towards success. That was my first step into the field I really enjoy and what I am made for. I took up psychology and started proving myself, scoring distinction and now I am in a job where I am not only doing well and earning a good name but also enjoying every bit of what I’m doing. 😊

Thinking of this incident, I remember reading about a concept called growth mind-set by Carol Dweck, where she talks about how failure can be seen as an opportunity to learn and evolve towards success. She spreads the idea of not labeling poor performance as ‘Fail’ as the word has a wrong impression in the society. ‘Failure’ makes people think that it’s the end of their journey to success and hence she calls poor performance as ‘not yet’. In this case the students get confidence that they have ‘not yet passed the test’ but they can once they try again. The performance and results teach them and make them realize that the way they studied and the effort they put was not enough or did not suit their style of learning and hence will try out better and more effective way to reach their goals and also aim at better goals too.

The taboo against ‘failure’ in the society should be changed and it can be changed by positivity and positive outlook towards failure. Each one of us can contribute to this by encouraging a young mind to keep trying. Be open about how much you had to work hard and all the failure you have faced (or thought you faced) and how at this point no body even bothers about that phase of yours. At the end of the day what matters is where one ends up, and if one is really satisfied and happy in the professions they are in and find passion in anything they are doing.

One thing one want to conclude with is, there is no accurate measurement for success and failure in life. Scores and marks are measurements to assess the learning of the students to decide If they will be able to handle the next level of learning and has nothing to do with their worthiness, intelligence or success. Failure and success are only perceptions. Like how I had once perceived (like any Indian student) that success only meant to end up as an engineer. As I matured mentally and emotionally my perception changed and I realize I am a successful, independent individual.

As APJ Abdul Kalam quotes “If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “first Attempt In Learning” and “If you get No as an answer, remember N.O. means ‘Next Opportunity'”

Set Your Mind To Keep Learning

Learning is a life – long and non – stop process. There is no right way, time and place for learning. It is something that keeps happening everywhere and every time. Being open to this idea will help us attract a lot of messages from the environment that is useful for us to thrive towards perfection and innovation.

As children we are always taught to keep trying to succeed by being given the example of a spider building its web and as we grow we come under the pressure of competition, scoring well in exams where we should be able to learn so much in a limited amount of time and end up learning only to pass an exam or to get a rank. After a point, young learners start associating learning with results that are restricted to scores, points and marks; after passing out of school, learning would be associated with getting selected in a job and to get promoted to next level – again connected with scores, points and performance.

Performance need not always be in a professional learning scenario. One can learn to perform as a good human being in general, a good person in the roles played in relationships (parents, daughters/sons, spouses, teachers, students, bosses etc.). Or why can’t learning be just to enhance knowledge about the world and all the wonderful things happening in it.

I have come across people who always learning like it’s their passion. One of them was my grandfather, who we call called ‘the walking and talking encyclopaedia of the family’ always kept himself active and busy reading. He was well equipped with knowledge in any field, be it science, literature, medicine, spirituality, mythology etc, starting from their history to current trends. When we had any doubt about anything, he would be the first option to approach to gain some information… yes even before Google. He would read so passionately and suggests books for us as well to read.

On the other-hand I have also come across people who look at learning and take suggestions defensively. I have had teachers who perceived our doubts and questions as an offense and would ask us why we are ‘testing their knowledge’. The first step to being open to learning (self – learning and suggestions from others) is to accept that we all are humans and are not perfect. One irrespective of their qualification and professional position would not have full command over their areas without constant learning, updating and preparation.

Updating oneself with knowledge would always not mean learning something which is totally new, it could also be updating the advancement and new versions/editions of concepts already known. Every theory, technique, methodology, astatic presentably, etc. evolve with growing generation and technology. Keeping in touch with these advancements has become a part of being competent to evolve and develop in both personal and professional life.

We have so much to learn from the environment around. For instance, when we are with animals and babies – we can learn so many things such as: how to love unconditionally; to observe everything around and to learn from that observation; to be happy and excited with the littlest things around and most importantly enjoy every moment and grow, evolve and develop.

So, let’s all keep our minds and all our senses open to opportunities to learn to be a better people both personality and professionally and happy learning 😊