This new age of constant change is both exciting and worrying. It’s exciting because we are seeing new inventions and discoveries almost every day. And, worrying because of how often we need to keep up with the change or risk losing our jobs to the new technologies and Artificial Intelligence (A.I). Many skills that could get you a stable job a few years ago are now useless and are outdated. These days, people are more insecure about their jobs than ever.
One day, I walked past an old TV repair shop and saw a bunch of old TV boxes lying on the ground inside the shop - no customer to buy them and no way to sell them. Even repairing them would be a waste of time and money since it’s the time of OLED and 4K screens. Taking a closer look at the shop, it’s not hard to tell that this shop had its day, and it was a profitable job to repair broken TVs.
However, that’s not how it is anymore. Nowadays, TVs are so sophisticated and complex that the repair shops can’t keep up with the changes. I personally know many people who used to have a thriving business, but their skills are no longer needed or desirable. Thus, they’re being replaced by the new technologies and inventions.
A question you should ask yourself: are there any skills that I can learn that won't be easily replaced by the machines? Or will they be uncompetitive or undesirable in a few years? Is there a skill that I can use for the rest of my life? Yes, and that skill is learning languages. It’s a skill that you can take with you wherever you go. It’s also a skill that you can use for a lifetime and constantly keep it growing. Last, it’s a skill that will bring you more joy, happiness, and money if you use it wisely.
Because there are too many advantages of learning languages, I will briefly talk about some in this article.
1. Improve your brain and keep your brain young and healthy
There is a solid evidence that learning a language will improve your brain, improve your memory, and keep your brain young and healthy. By constantly stimulating your brain, it will stay young and healthy, you can also slow down the memory decay as you age and prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.
So along with exercising, a good diet and a happy lifestyle, keep your brain active by learning languages will ensure that it stays young and healthy as you age.
2. Make your business more successful
I have met countless business owners and traders from different parts of the world. Their business, their job, and their plans would have been a lot more successful if only they knew a few more languages, or at least spoke better English.
Learning the language of a country or an area will open up many opportunities to you that might not be opened up to others. It will also allow you to understand their way of thinking and know how to connect with the local people. In many cultures, people treat you as one of their own when you speak their language. You will be able to create a stronger bond with them, and it's easier for you to gain their trust & respect.
No matter what job you have or what kind of business you might want to do in the future, knowing more languages will always open up more opportunities and give you more ideas to how to become a better version of yourself.
3. It’s always easier to find jobs when you speak more languages
Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot more on the topic of A.I. and automation taking over many jobs, and certainly, many jobs and skills will be replaced by machines. But, one skill that is very hard to replace is “social skills”, and what better way to improve your social skills than learning a new language? Being able to communicate in different languages allows you to meet more people, understand how different cultures express ideas differently and see things from other person’s point of view.
Even when applying for most of the jobs, people who can speak more than one language are prioritized. I had been given great opportunities countlessly in my life. I had been asked to become hosts of events. I had been asked to represent our school, and I had been selected for scholarship awards. All these happened simply because I could speak several languages.
You too can learn multiple languages, meet more people, listen to different ideas, and learn to communicate with different races. Soon enough you will be able to see many great opportunities in your life.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine who owned a small company in the Middle East selling car parts visited me in Taiwan. He wanted to visit some factories in Taiwan that manufacture car parts, but he didn’t Speak Chinese. He asked me to go along and become his translator as he was trying to strike deals with those factories.
We visited many factories and sat with the owners of the factories. Almost after every meeting, the owner would ask me in Chinese if I am interested in working for them as a salesman for the Middle East region, and I gently refused their proposal because I was still a full-time student. But, I still thanked them for their interests.
What I took away from that day was the importance of the ability to speak different languages and networking; therefore, maximize your chance of finding good jobs by learning new languages and spread the words. Therefore, they will ask you for help when they need you.
4. More languages = More happiness
Without any doubt, learning languages can bring more joy and happiness into your life. The more languages you speak the more sources you have to enhance your sense of humor. I have been lucky enough to enjoy different senses of the humor in various languages.
Since a very young age, I have been enjoying the Iranian comedy movies and TV series, most of the Iranian movies didn’t have subtitles and made only for the local audience. But, I can certainly say I have not seen movies funnier than that in my life. Even humor and jokes are different in every language.
Every language has its own unique way of expressing ideas. What is funny in one culture might not sound funny in another. When I try to translate a joke from my mother tongue to Chinese or other languages, the joke always loses its real taste.
There are many ways a language will bring happiness into your life - such as the joy of traveling, meeting more people, and communicating with different cultures.
Along with my mother tongue, I grew up watching Persian comedy movies and TV series. Some of the funniest movies I have seen in my life are made in the Persian language. One day when you learn the Persian language, you will be able to spend countless hours laughing and enjoying those great masterpieces.
We have only touched the surface of the importance of learning a new language, but the benefits that we briefly discussed above should be more than enough to encourage you to start learning a new language or to keep reminding yourself the reason why you decided to start learning a new language in the first place.
“Learning another language is like becoming another Person” - Haruki Murakami (Japanese writer)
Are you ready to start learning a foreign language and discover a new self?
Article by Imadeddin Mahdi Fatah, Linguist