By Cheval John
You may have heard these quotes:
“To Have Another Language Is To Possess Another Soul” Charlemagne
“The Limits of My Language Are The Limits Of My World” Frank Smith
“Language Is The Road Map To A Culture. It Tells You Where Its People Come From And Where They Are Going” Rita Mae Brown
The last quote is very profound.
When a person wants to learn more about the culture of a country or a tribe, the best way to access the culture is through the language.
It is true that we see great poetry like Don Quixote translated into English and being taught in schools.
However, it is difficult to really understand and appreciate the story of Don Quixote if a person is not a Spanish speaker.
And to bring on another example, Columbian super-star singer Shakira, who speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese, made an excellent song back in the mid-2000s called, “No” in her native Spanish.
The song is really beautiful and achieved a smashing success like her other songs.
When the producers or music executives of the record company wanted her to make the same song, “No” in English, she said “no” to the idea even though she recorded her other Spanish songs in English.
The reason why she decided not to record “No” in English was that it would not have had the same impact that it had when she sang it in her native Spanish.
So fans of Shakira who were only English speakers, missed out on an opportunity to hear the beautiful song, “No.”
Now the same fans could do what few in this world have done, learn another language.
The only thing that will keep them from learning another language is their limited belief that they can’t learn a second language.
I would suspect that they feel that they don’t need to learn another language because of the belief that the world is learning English.
It is true that English serves as the important language of organizations such as the United Nations and the language for aviation.
That should not be an excuse to not learn another language.
You might have to start learning from scratch if your are not a first generation American.
For those who are offsprings of immigrants, they have a fast start because they grow up listening to their parents native language and also English.
Ladan Jiracek is one of those people who had the fast start to knowing multiple languages.
His parents immigrated from Slovokia and he had the fortune of growing up in a different culture and has traveled to over 80 countries.
What is really cool is that he took advantage of the opportunity to intern in Berlin, Germany while he was an undergraduate student.
Now, he lives in India and host the Travel Wisdom Podcast, where he interviews best-selling authors, world travelers, polyglots, etc.
The most important thing is that if you want to understand a culture that is different than yours, you have to speak the language.
When you know another language, three, 6, etc., you will have more options to work anywhere in the world and also enjoy your travels.
Video courtesy of Shakira Vevo
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?
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.
By Cheval John
I can say that life does not always go according to plan.
My goal was to graduate from college at 22 years old, be in a full time position and be able to be financially independent.
That plan did not work out as I expected.
When I first visited the United States mainland, I knew I had wanted to live here one day.
I was curious to know what it was like to live in the U.S. mainland and had great dreams that it was awesome.
When I had graduated high school 16 years ago, I knew that I was going to have the opportunity to live in Texas.
I was supposed to leave on July 15th.
However, the flight that was supposed to arrive in my native St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, had a delay and made an arrival late.
That delay caused me to miss my connecting flight from Miami to Houston.
I had the choice on going on that flight and spend the night in Miami before leaving for Houston the next morning.
I decided to spend one more night home before I made the move to Texas on July 16th.
When I finally arrived in Texas, I was excited for a new adventure.
I had no idea that I was going to start college at 22 years old and graduated with two college degrees at 27 years old and 28 years old, respectively.
Plus I did not know that I was going to be fluent in Spanish because I thought that I could not learn the language because I had struggled with the subject in high school.
Or that I would be struggling to find full time work because of the “Great Recession.”
I did not expect that 16 years later, I would have still be living in Texas, have a podcast, be an author of two books and a blogger.
Most of the time, I wonder if I did not move to the mainland, would I have finished university at the age of 22 and working at a full time workplace?
All I can say is that I made the choice to live in the U.S. mainland and I had been able to cover sporting events as a freelance writer and also be in the fourth largest city in the United States.
I have not achieved my goal of being financially independent yet, but I am on my way.
No matter if you feel that life did not go as you planned it, always have hope and believe that your detour in life will lead you to achieving your goals that will allow you to make the world a better place.