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The Quest Of Learning A Foreign Language

By Cheval John

A quest is something that many should pursue if they want to have a fulfilling life.

The problem is that many are content with the o.k. lives that they have.

While others might think that pursuing a quest means going sky diving or climbing Mount Everest.

Those are worthy quest in a sense because you are pushing your limit.

However, pursuing a quest can be something that is not so adventurous.

Like learning multiple languages and becoming bilingual or even a polyglot.

You might even know that being bilingual, trilingual, or a polyglot can help a person to have more work opportunities according this article by Laura Morsch of Career Builder.com.

Some might think that it is too late to learn another language in their adult years.

They believe that if they don’t learn a second or even a third language by a certain age, they will miss out on the opportunity to be bilingual.

That is certainly not the case.

According to this article by Lucy Kinder of The Telegraph, learning a second language can allow your brain from getting dementia years later than those who only know one language.

This should give you encouragement to pursue language learning.

You might have the excuse that you do not have the time to learn another language because you are working full time or you are not living in another country where the language is spoken, etc.

Steve Kaufmann, founder of LingQ.com, explains in this interview with John Forthingham of I2mastery.com, that he spent time in Hong Kong in the late 60s where English was the predominant language and was still able to learn Mandarin Chinese.

He did not have all of the resources like Duolingo or iTalki plus the internet to chat with native language speakers that we have today.

And to add on to the fact of learning language late in life, Mr. Kaufmann, who speaks 11 languages, learned five of those languages after the age of 55.

Another benefit of knowing a lot of languages is the option of watching a major sporting event like the World Cup on television.

If you do not like the English commentary, you have the option of watching the same matchup in a different language and still be able to follow the matchup.

I will admit that it is great to be bilingual because of the options of watching a sporting event in a different language.

Now I feel that I am still limited despite knowing both English and Spanish.

My goal is to learn as many languages as possible during my lifetime.

And I have started this journey with Portuguese.

Though I began learning Portuguese last year, I did not continue with learning the language.

So I have restarted that goal of learning Portuguese and my goal is to be fluent in the language by the end of this year.

I honestly believe that I can achieve fluency in Portuguese because I have seen others achieve fluency in a short amount of time.

So in reality, it is never too late to learn a language late in life.

The only question is, “Who Will Join In On Learning Another Language?”

You Only Need One Person To Believe In Your Dreams

By Cheval John

People are afraid to go after their dreams because they fear that they will not achieve it.

Most of the time, they believe that many will not believe in them.

Like if they have an idea to create a better product to improve the usage of computers, they will hear from the masses that they are crazy.

Or if they are following their heart and pursuing their true calling, like becoming an entrepreneur, the majority will be wondering if they are crazy.

What if Steve Jobs had not followed his intuition and went along with the majority who graduated from college and work the normal 9-5 workweek for 40 years until he retired, we would not have had the Apple Computer.

And if the Apple Computer was not created, we would not have had the iPhone which later led to iTunes that has revolutionized the way everyone consumes podcasts.

What if Orville and Wilbur Wright had listened to the masses and not invented the airplane?

Then we would have not been able to travel to different parts of the world in less time and we would have probably be using ships which takes longer.

And what if Thomas Edison had said, “This is not meant to be” after he failed about 1,000 times with the invention of the light bulb?

We would still be using candles and it would have been a huge hassle for businesses, etc.

The primary reason why we know about Steve Jobs, Orville and Wilbur Wright and many others who revolutionized the world is because they did not follow the masses or listened to the naysayers who were content with the status quo.

They had a vision, took the necessary steps to achieve their dreams.

One final question?

What if Laura Wilkinson did not followed her heart and pursued her dream of being in the 2000 Sydney Olympics?

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Laura had broken her foot during training about 6 months before the Sydney Olympics.

She dealt with the injury and continued her pursuit of making the team.

When she qualified for the Olympics, Laura had another obstacle to overcome.

Many believed she was a long shot of winning a gold medal because she was competing against the powerhouse Chinese team.

China entered the 2000 Olympics as the favorites because they had won gold medals in the previous four Olympics.

It was true that she was the underdog because the last American to win a gold medal in the sport of diving during the Olympics was in 1964.

Plus with her broken foot, they believed she was not a contender for the medal.

It seemed like their predictions were going to come true because Laura was sitting in 8th place after two rounds in the diving competition.

However, Laura had a positive mindset and believed that if she had made her most difficult dive, the reverse 2 1/2 somersault, she would have a chance at competing for the medal.

Her intuitions was right because she made the dive and was awarded a 9.5.

Then the next four divers including the Chinese flopped on their dives and all of a sudden she was in contention for the gold medal.

She made her next two dives which put her in first place and was able to hold off the competition to win the gold.

Laura went on to make the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Athens and Beijing, respectively.

However, she did not achieved any medals in those games.

If Laura had listened to the masses who said that she was too old to start competing in diving, or had said to herself, “It was not meant for me to be in the Sydney Olympics, #paraphrased” after breaking her foot, she would have been wondering “What would have happened if I had pursued the 2000 Sydney Olympics”?

So if you believe that it is too late to pursue your dream career or receiving a ton of rejections if you are just starting your business, remember that it takes one person to say that “I believe in you.”

Thankfully, Laura had that one person, Kenny Armstrong, who believed in her.

And because of Mr. Armstrong telling her, “I believe that you can succeed in diving, #paraphrased” the world was able to witnessed one of the biggest comebacks in Olympic history.

A Model Of Inconsistency

By Cheval John

You main goal when you are starting a business or an organization is to grow a loyal following.

When you put out great content on a consistent basis, then you are well on your way to being very successful and profitable.

However, when you are not consistent at putting out content that is really valuable for your audience, you end up losing a great following and miss out on an opportunity to gain new viewers.

And though you are already have a passionate following in a niche though you have an inconsistent model, it will be very hard to establish a footprint in a new market.

An example of this is soccer (football in the rest of the world).

Soccer is really popular all around the world and have a passionate fan base.

Look at all of the matches that takes place especially at the club levels in major leagues around the world like the 20 team English Premier League.

They are lively and excited.

You have the chance to see the best players in the world compete against each other.

You might think that each of the leagues have a set schedule for their season

Like the English Premier League goes from August to May with only 38 matches for each team.

You are expected to see the matches happen every week.

You find out that they is not a match happen at a particular week because each of the national teams are either participating in an friendly, trying to qualify for their respective federation’s competition or the World Cup.

Add on to that, there are other club competitions that are transpiring at the same time (example UEFA Champions League).

You are confused and wondering when there are going to return back to their respective domestic competition.

For the die hard fan, you are used to the changes of world competitions for soccer.

For the casual fan, that is a turnover to some degree.

That is to me the main reason why soccer will never have a strong footprint in the United States because of the constant changes in competition and really so many tournaments in soccer.

Though the Major League Soccer (MLS) is growing steadily and is profitable, they will always have a hard time in getting a footprint in the United States like baseball, basketball and American football (exception is the minority groups who are die-hard soccer fans).

The other major sports here in the U.S. has a set schedule of when their seasons are happening.

While the MLS might have to take some time off from their season due to other competitions like the Gold Cup which is happening at this very moment.

And the only time you will see a strong turnout for soccer in the United States is when the World Cup is happening.

That is every four years.

And the Women’s World Cup which just happened.

So for the casual fan, they have to really pay attention to the schedule of when the different competitions are happening.

In conclusion, if a business or organization follow soccer’s model, they will always have a difficult time growing their organization and being profitable.

College Is Not Worth Your Time

By Cheval John

Everyone grew up hearing that college was the best investment of our lives.

Parents would gear their offspring towards studying hard in school, get good grades and make the honor roll in order to impress the decision makers at major universities.

Major universities would blast their message on television about the benefits of their university programs if you are watching their college football teams or basketball teams playing.

We all believe that if we gain a college degree, we were on the road to job security and not have to worry about the so-call instability of the part-time work.

And who would blame them for believing the hype of going to universities.

Statistics would show that a person who have an bachelor degree or higher will be more likely to remain employable according to the National Center For Educational Statistics (NCES).

Those same statistics shows that a person who only have a high school diploma are less likely to remain employable at a stable workplace.

Everyone believe this message and the number of college attendees are increasing.

The same statistics by the now enrolled in college.

The NCES shows that they are 20.4 million people attending both 2-year and 4-year colleges/universities.

That should be encouraging for everyone because they are taking their education to the next level.

They are enhancing their level of knowledge because of the quality that the professors bring to the classroom.

The professors are recognized for their academic knowledge of their fields and are getting invited to teach or share their knowledge with other universities/conferences around the country and especially around the world.

These qualities alone should make the students more knowledgable and prepared for the real world.

They are paying (I mean their parents) are paying an average of $9,000 dollars a semester which includes books, student fees, etc. if they are at a public universities.

That is just in-state tuition.

It is much higher if you are out-of-state and worse if you are attending a private university or the elite universities like Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Community colleges (2-yr colleges) are much cheaper.

So that is a bargain to cut the expenses in half if a person is transferring to a university after completing the first two years.

So when the person/s graduates from university, they should have proven that they are ready for the real world and the workforce.

They are aiming to gain great work that will allow them to make great salary in order to pay off the loans that they acquired while gaining their degrees.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

It is true that the economy has rebounded since the “Great Recession of 2008-09.”

Many college graduates are struggling to find work with the fancy degrees that they earned.

They are wondering how they are going to pay off their student loan debts, which is an average of $28,400 according to the U.S. News and World Report in 2014.

My guess is that number has risen tremendously.

And the masses who have graduated from high school this year, are looking forward to entering the next four years of university life.

Don’t get me wrong, college is a unique experience.

I know.

I gained an associate degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in spanish.

Plus I had years of experience in public relations, journalism, television, and radio at my alma mater while I was a graduate student for most of those.

However, you should look at the alternatives to college.

We are in the age of the internet where anyone can learn about business, science, history, etc. thanks to YouTube, podcasts, and webinars.

A person can form their own business at a less expensive price because they don’t have to worry about setting up a brick and mortar store.

They don’t have to worry about having a hefty marketing budget because they can market themselves by building an online presence through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

The main thing is if you interact with your potential customers through these social media channels on a daily basis, you will gain new fans.

So if you still feel that you need to go to college to gain knowledge in the arts, business, languages, history, etc., go for it.

Only if you are studying for a degree that you need to be certified in order to practice like a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.

As for the rest, you can learn about history, business, languages, etc. outside of college and save yourself the agony of dealing with debt after gaining a piece of paper that says your are educated.

Lack Of Resources Creates Innovation

By Cheval John

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

We often think that it is important to have all the resources to be successful.

It is true that resources like money is what makes things go.

Whether it is running a business, an organization, a university, etc., we believe that having more resources will make everything easier.

We think that if we have more money, we can make a great impact on the world.

Sometimes it is better to have less money/resources because it will make you think of creative ways to get work done.

You will have innovative ideas on making something better and in the process disrupt an entire industry.

Here are two examples of people/organizations who were innovative with their ideas and showed everyone that you can make something out of nothing.

Next week Thursday, I will share two more examples of people/organizations who are making something out of nothing.

1. London Heathrow Airport.

When travelers pass through London Heathrow Airport, they get a chance to see a glimpse of the innovative culture of the British people.

In a sense, Heathrow represents the ingenuity of the United Kingdom.

What I mean is that Heathrow only has two runways.

Yet, they have found a way to keep themselves relevant with the rest of the world.

Heathrow has served over 73.4 million passengers in 2014, making it one of the busiest airports in the world and the busiest in Europe.

The second busiest airport in Europe, Paris Charles De Gaulle, handled over 63 million passengers despite having four runways.

You might think that an airport that has a lot of space and a lot more runways should be able to handle more traffic.

To a large degree, it is the case.

However, Heathrow has proven that they are capable of handling more with less.

They basically went with the build as you go approach.

When they saw the wave of the jet age in the 50s and 60s, they modified their runways and build the terminals large enough to handle the large jets.

They kept at it when the bigger jets like the 747s came into existence in the late 60s/early 70s and added more terminals to accomodate them.

With four terminals already in operations, they saw that the airport was facing overcapacity.

So they added the fifth terminal, which allowed them to handle more passengers even with two runways.

You might still wonder how they get all of the jets in and out safely without any delays.

If you ever flew into Heathrow, you might have noticed that the plane was circling around before they landed.

You might wonder why they do that?

That is where it gets interesting.

Your plane was circle around because they were in a “holding pattern”

While the plane was in a holding pattern, air traffic controllers were trying to put the smaller planes behind each other in one taxi-way and the bigger jets behind each other because they wanted to gain them more space.

If a smaller jet is behind the bigger jet and it takes off, the smaller jet will probably have to wait for about a minute or two before they can take off.

Once they get the planes in the right spot, then the air traffic controllers gives the pilots permission to land.

That is how Heathrow has managed to remain relevant and be the airport that connects the world one flight at a time.

Billy Bean and the Oakland Athletics

Major League Baseball has grown into a 9 billion dollar industry.

With that type of money, baseball players will want a piece of the pie.

The really good players will be able to command the high multi-million dollar contracts.

With that being said, a team would have to be able to afford the really great players if they want to compete.

And the teams with the highest payrolls, mainly the large market teams (New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs) are the ones who get those types of “elite” players.

The ones who are in the bottom don’t have that chance to gain the “elite” players.

Most of the time, it does not put the smaller market teams in a disadvantage because they develop the players in their farm system to get them ready for the big leagues.

And most of the time, the small market teams moves further in the playoffs.

Example of this was the Kansas City Royals, who went to the World Series last year and lost in seven games to the San Francisco Giants.

But I want to focus on the Oakland Athletics, who made the playoffs from 2000-2003 under general manager Billy Beane.

The Athletics are consistently ranked in the bottom half of the MLB payroll.

However, Beane was very innovative in finding the right players for the team that fit the system of the Athletics.

As a result, the Athletics were able to make four consecutive playoffs in the early 2000s.

Amidst that run, Oakland became the first American League team in a century to win 20 consecutive games in 2002 and eventually won their division.

Beane’s innovation as a general manager caught the attention of national media and Hollywood with the movie, “Moneyball.”

One can guess that many small market teams like the Royals are following Beane’s approach to running a franchise with a much lower payroll.

So if you have the not-enough blues, do not complain because the lack of resources is an opportunity for you to be creative in getting your work finished effectively.

Videos courtesy of Rachel Matt and Major League Baseball, respectively