Keys to the Castillo

“Why should I learn another language? Everybody speaks English anyways.”

If I had a dollar every time I heard this…

You’re reading this in English. Chances are, English is your first language. In fact, it might be your only language, with a bit of choice Spanish and French phrases thrown in for fun.

As far as getting around at home, the English language more than serves you well. It’s all you need.

BUT… and there is always a ‘but’…

If you take a look around, you might notice that there is  growing number of people in western countries that do not speak English, or they learned it in addition to any other language they know.

I don’t know about you, but I see some massive opportunities here. Even just learning a few basic phrases in another language can set you apart from everyone else.

It’s like a superpower.

A guitar player needs a guitar,

An athlete needs a ball.

All you need is your mouth, and you’ve (hopefully) got access to that tool 24/7.

Here’s a brilliant example to illustrate my point.

Just yesterday I popped into one of the nicest gyms I’ve ever been in, down by Coal Harbour in Vancouver. I figured maybe if I move downtown, I ought to train at a nice gym.

Kind of off-topic, but I’ve made some wonderful friends at the various gyms I’ve trained at in the past. Couple that with the fact that there are plenty of wealthy, high-class people in that area, and you have an ideal place to pump iron.

Anyways, the first thing that stood out to me was that the front desk attendant didn’t look too enthusiastic about his job. I asked him straight up how much a membership costs per month, and he was immediately on-guard, telling me that he couldn’t reveal the price. I know some businesses prefer to use this sales tactic to gain an escalation of commitment on the part of the customer, but frankly, it’s dumb. You might be able to guilt trip some customers into buying your product/membership/whatever… but can you keep them?

I really wasn’t getting anywhere with this guy… but here’s the funny thing: I detected an accent. Now, Vancouver’s a massive mix of different cultures and races. That being said, I was pretty sure this dude was Hispanic, so I switched languages and asked him to tell me in Spanish.

Exito. (success)

He lit up like a Christmas tree and started spilling the beans. In fact, he even began talking some shit about his boss to me, a complete stranger! All good though. He ended up telling me a price I thought was ridiculously low for what’s being offered.

This is a relatively minor example of how knowing a foreign language can open doors for you that would have otherwise not been available.

Other examples include:

More dating options. Tons of guys talk about how exotic and seductive women abroad can be. This is absolutely true in many cases, but you won’t truly understand it until you meet women abroad while using the local language.

The reason being is that people who learn English as a foreign language and speak it well enough to get by, are inevitably exposed to the good and the bad of western culture.

You might be chatting with a busty Brazilian lady, but if she speaks English to you, how many episodes of Sex and the City do you think she’s watched? How many feminist magazines or blogs do you think she’s stumbled upon? And lastly, don’t you think these media will alter her perception of what to expect from a man and how to treat him? You bet!

On the flipside, if you speak a foreign language to immigrants in your country, you’ll be able to form a stronger, more unique connection with them, as opposed to just using English as a standardized form of communication.

Once I was fluent in Mandarin, I understood a Chinese friend of mine on a whole different level. Whereas before, his parents couldn’t make an accurate assessment of me, now, they are overjoyed to meet me and get to know me. You can imagine that I might literally be one of the only non-Chinese people they’ve ever sat down and had a conversation with.

Let’s take a step back and take a look at this superpower from a very general point of view: essentially, by being able to interact with more people, you are able to expand your level of awareness in ways that people who don’t speak a foreign language cannot fathom.

I just can’t imagine being one of these people who grows up, goes to school, and dates women, all in the same town or city, in the same language, for my whole life.

Travel has never been cheaper and more convenient.

Learning a language is also more straight-forward than ever. Almost all the heavy lifting has been done already – the dictionaries have been written, there are free videos available online, and not to mention also, that spectacular software has been developed to streamline the learning process and make it fun! For that, I highly recommend Babel. I kid you not, I was able to make leaps and bounds in my German within a matter of weeks.

 

And not to mention, the ability to talk some shit in public when no one can understand what you’re saying! Be careful with that, though, because like in my case, where I look like a pasty white Canadian, but I speak fluent Mexican Spanish, you might not know who’s listening!

Closing Thoughts

You’ll no doubt agree that after reading this article, learning languages is an enormous passion of mine, not just because of the utility you gain from it, but also the enjoyment of the learning experience.

It’s also damn humbling when you slip up and make a mistake and realize that there’s always room to improve. Every single day that you read, watch videos, do drills, and talk to people, you are making progress, little by little. It’s a wonderful model for understanding how skill acquisition works.

 

To your fortune,

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