Learning Into The Future

By Jamie McSloy / January 5, 2018
learning into the future featured image

I was on Twitter earlier today when RogueDarren asked about learning Spanish as a second language.

I’ll give you my current overview of learning a language, but that’s not the topic of the day.

The topic of the day is about the power of working at stuff, thinking and learning laterally and the gains you’ll make if you do so.

But first, let’s get the language thing out of the way briefly, specifically when it comes to Spanish.

How To Learn Spanish Quickly, Effectively and With Some Effort

Let’s assume you’re a native English speaker.

Now, if you’ve gone through state schools in England, you might have learned about five Spanish words. You don’t need to forget them, but chances are you’re pretty rubbish at languages. (That’s not your fault… English is the dominant language for basically everyone and multilingualism isn’t a big priority here.)

Let’s assume you’re starting from scratch though. You probably should.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Positive Traits For Learning Spanish:

  • The pronunciation and rules are pretty standard everywhere with variations along the Latin America/European Spanish lines
  • Grammar is ok and follows along the same lines all Latin languages follow (i.e. they pretty much make sense)
  • Loads of loan words, cognates and other similar stuff
  • Tons of material to use (no excuse not to practice)

So you’ve got those things going for you. There’s no such thing as an “easy” language – just advantages you have. Spanish has a lot of advantages for an English speaker.

So you can run through the following program:

  • Use the IPA to get Spanish pronunciation learned quickly (this is why low variation is a positive)
  • Get your 1,000 words down (along common vocabulary lines and tourist dictionaries)
  • Get some kids books for simple sentence construction. Practice those.
  • Once you can build simple sentences and have a decent vocabulary, you move out of rote memorisation and into learning by generation.
  • Essentially, build sentences and learn grammar as you go.
  • Get a tutor or otherwise learn with natives
  • Then extend your knowledge by extensive reading and participation in the reason you’re learning

The process takes many hours, but it’s more effective than whatever flavour of the month program there is.

The above is the system I’ve used to learn several languages.

Or is it? That’s what we’ll discuss…

Progress and Experimentation

Before I started writing this website, I had a website that detailed my experiments with language learning.

It’s funny, because I hadn’t thought about that site in months and I haven’t updated it in years. Still, it sits there generating views.

The funniest thing about it, looking at it now, is that you can see how the site kind of follows the same structure that this one does. I didn’t know anything about internet marketing or writing blogs then, but it’s the same behaviour: learn something, experiment, write about what you found.

I’ll share the site at a later point because I’m going to revamp it, and here’s why.

The method above is outdated in the sense that, while it works, I’d do a much better job now. My system would be far superior.

At the time of writing, I learned Mandarin using the above method.

I didn’t know about overlearning. I didn’t know about interleaving or any of the stuff I’ve written about on the Brain Stuff category.

When I spent three hours a day on language learning, I was obviously better at language learning than I am now.

But here’s the thing…

If I were to take up learning a language again now, I’d be better at it. Even though I haven’t really done anything language related for a long time.

That’s why it’s important to keep experimenting with new stuff and testing your brain.

Jamie… This Is Supposed To Be An Online Business Blog Thing

It’s also why, business-wise, you should focus solely on what you’re doing and how you can improve your offer.

If you learn how to learn, then you can apply that to your business. Think most people in your industry have done that?

If you can learn underlying strategies and systems and learn to make connections where other people haven’t, then those are unique competitive advantages.

Finally… if you’re like me and have been experimenting with all manner of things for years, once you learn how business stuff works, then you open up whole new avenues for yourself that you never had.

Whatever systems you build now will help you throughout your life and whatever you learn now is enhanced by everything else you’re going to learn.

So to close this topic, take a method. Rebuild it to suit you. Keep experimenting. You’ll add to it. Learn completely unrelated stuff. Apply it to the first subject. Keep going and commit to a lifetime of working new stuff out.

Then go back and make everything you’ve done previously better.

  • ari says:

    Hi Jamie,

    You’re totally right. Learning Russian taught me the value of consistent practice and that progress won’t come in a linear way. I regularly go to Moscow and each time I’m surprised how much I’ve learned – even though it felt like I was spinning my wheels and didn’t get any further.

    That’s one of the things that keeps me going for my niche sites.

    Looking forward to reading your language blog.

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