How Learning Languages Changed My Life
I’m no longer scared of talking to strangers.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have an increased sense of confidence and motivation to achieve anything you desire? For me, it was something that used to play on my mind throughout the day.
So I spent several hours reading self-help books, watching YouTube videos, and writing down things to accomplish when I was ready to create a strong work ethic.
Although I told myself that I was moving in the right direction and that I’d eventually overcome my lack of confidence, the truth is that I was going nowhere.
I guess you could say that I was a self-help junkie, consuming endless amounts of content to feel better about not having any confidence.
But during a trip to Quebec, while traveling around North America, I found myself being unable to communicate with the locals.
No matter how hard I tried to remember what I’d learned on Duolingo for 5 minutes in the airport, my mind was completely blank.
Something needed to change.
So I began learning the basics of the French language, understanding how to have a basic conversation, and educating myself on the sentence structure of different phrases.
Slowly but surely, I found myself becoming more confident while speaking to people in the French language.
I’ve discovered that confidence doesn’t come from self-help books or motivational YouTube videos. Instead, it naturally becomes engrained in your personality when you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone.
So below are a couple of ways that language learning has changed my life. Do with these what you will, and perhaps it will do the same for you, too.
I’m More Confident Talking To Strangers.
When you’re speaking a foreign language, talking to strangers becomes a normal part of everyday life. For example, buying new clothes in the mall, or asking for menu recommendations at a cafe.
You become accustomed to seeking discomfort and making a conscious effort to communicate in a way that the other person will easily understand.
I’ve found that due to frequently speaking in French, I naturally developed an increased sense of confidence in other aspects of my life.
So whether I’m downtown making new friends or trying to achieve something in my writing career, learning languages has created a noticeable change in my mindset.
In the words of the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius: “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within your way of thinking.”
I Enjoy Traveling To New Destinations.
For the longest time, I mostly traveled to locations where English was the primary language because I was afraid of looking stupid in front of the locals. So instead of going somewhere exotic, I often opted for places such as Australia or California.
The problem with that was I was always relatively comfortable while traveling the world, and never went anywhere with a completely different culture. So as you can imagine, visiting Quebec was extremely far out of my comfort zone.
But since learning French & Spanish each day, my fear of looking stupid has disappeared as I’ve realized it’s a natural part of learning anything new.
Having now traveled to 21 countries (most of which don’t speak English), I’ve realized that the best part of traveling the world is integrating into different cultures.
This shift in perspective has allowed me to travel without fear, make hundreds of amazing friends around the world, and experience the kindness of humanity around the globe.
Learning languages has massively increased my confidence, allowed me to travel to new destinations, and live a life that I once considered impossible.
Instead of reading lots of self-help books in the hope of increasing my confidence, I’ve discovered that getting out of my comfort zone is the only way to change my life.
I’m going to leave you with a beautiful quote from Jack Canfield, who speaks about the importance of seeking discomfort to create a better life:
“The biggest rewards in life are found outside of your comfort zone. Live with it. Fear and risk are prerequisites if you want to enjoy a life of success and adventure.”
Step outside of your comfort zone until you get comfortable doing the uncomfortable. That’s how to change your life.