The best investment you can make to learn anything

Every day I get several e-mails asking me what the “best” language learning course is and my answer to what they should “invest” in is always the same…

Human Beings

  • If you want to speak a language well, the amount of money or quantity of course material or choosing the “best” one to invest in, or how much you study, will not determine your success. It’s how much you practise it with human beings. For the next few weeks on FI3M I’m showing you how easy it is to find other speakers of that language.
  • If you want to be a more confident person, reading a thousand self-help books will do nothing to help you if you don’t put them down, go outside and interact with people more often. It’s not as scary as you think! I used to be very shy, but large amounts of getting-off-my-lazy-ass to meet people and ignoring the excuses has turned the tables for me.
  • If you want to run a popular website, networking and meeting other bloggers in person to learn from them and work together will get you way further than being an SEO expert ever will.
  • Even if you want to improve your skills in a technical subject, sometimes the best thing you can do is find a meet-up related to that and pick the brains of those more experienced than you. I learned much more to become a better translator not as much through reading about it or pure bulk of time invested in working, but by attending the meetups on the translators’ social networking site Proz.

Seriously, get off your computers, get your head out of your books and meet other people.

With languages, speaking from day one is by far the best way to you can advance quickly. The reason I can learn a language so quickly (apart from understanding the intensity of the time invested) is not because I travel (as evidenced by my current mission). It’s because I spend all day doing something in that language with other people.

Apart from genuine practice and seeing what you do need to study, you get encouragement and see that you aren’t alone in your struggle as they relate to you. No book, podcast or software material can ever provide that.

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