Filling the void and Learning a second Language

To find out how you can win Tim Ferriss’ new book (4-Hour Workweek – New Expanded and Updated version) delivered to your door, scroll to the highlighted areas.

When I was around the age of six I realised that there were people and entire countries out there that spoke different languages. It was so strange and interesting to me, it was like thinking about how the universe goes on forever, it just blows your mind!

Ever since I’ve always wondered what I’m missing out on by not being able to speak their (those foreign peoples) languages. Do they have views and ideas that can only be explained in their own language, as the English language might lack meaning, or dual meaning, or lost in translation or have no translation at all.

In Middle School I decided to give Japanese a shot. Japan seemed so far away and so different, plus it helped that one of my best mates was a Japanese exchange student, he had a hot sister and my mum had long thought Japan was going to be a huge global player and it would help me get a job. No pressure!

I spent 3 years learning the language and the culture, and I wasn’t too bad, not too good either, and I think my teacher was below average. She was a woman absolutely obsessed with the culture, but it was like watching an untrained white guy trying to play basket ball, they just can’t jump and in her case even to the untrained eye she just seemed to miss the point, or take it too far.

University came and went, and I’d lost the passion and was focused on my working career and entertaining the ladies. Hey, I know what you’re thinking, but they were laughing with me, not at me! So now I find that my Japanese is restricted to the use of a few words, which I rarely use and have always wished I’d kept it up.

Well, now I’m in my thirties and I’ve read the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris, and after a recent stint of unemployment I found myself with plenty of spare time. Again, I can hear you thinking, ‘With all this spare time, what are you whinging about, go out, do stuff, or just relax’, but it turns out it is not that easy.

I find myself questioning what I’m doing, what should I be doing, should I be applying for jobs, or taking a breather? It’s almost impossible to relax as I know every dollar going out ain’t coming back in. I always feel on edge, I’m comparing myself, I think to myself of the lost income and what will happen with my retirement fund? And all you can think about is that you’re wasting this precious gift of time, it should be relaxing, I should be discovering what I want to do, getting involved with the community somehow, feel that connectedness that you felt was missing in the 9-5 job.

Well, the 4-Hour Work Week at Chapter 15 addresses these exact issues. It is one of the most critically important chapters I’ve read in a long time, it’s called ‘Filling the Void’, and although I don’t want to bastardise what Tim has so elegantly put together I’ll try to summarise how one can potentially go about filling the void:

Filling the void (be it through unemployment or retirement) is required, a void allows the mind to turn on itself and creates problems during periods of the nothingness. There are only so many cafe visits you can make until you either have a headache from the caffeine, feel guilty about the cash or just get bored.

I have been through the phase of just being lazy, it lasted a few weeks, it involved movies, popcorn, massages, hanging out with friends in the city during their lunch hours… and not much else. I think everyone needs it to some degree, but then you reach a point, it’s time to find something else – you need the challenge, or you’ll challenge everything that’s going on in your life. It is uncool and unfare to those around you.

To fill the void and really focus on achieving something the following are great starters:

1. Learn a new physical activity - Maybe break dancing, like Tim will show you here.

I’ve decided to give Yoga a crack, I’m 3 weeks in and absolutely loving it, especially the after session hang out time in the kitchen over a fresh cup of chai tea! If you live in Melbourne Australia here’s an awesome place to begin (It’s Ashtanga Yoga and pretty physical).

2. Really get your brain focused on a new culture and language, the goal is to get fluent within 6 months (I’m going to try 3!).This is where you the reader is required to help me.

Asides from trying to reactivate the Japanese within me, I’m looking to use Tim’s recommendations/techniques for learning a language in 3 months but I have been thinking long and hard and I can’t decide what language I want to learn.

I wish in Australia we had a significant influence, the US has Spanish, if I use that model maybe Mandarin is a good choice for down under? Although Asian languages for some reason seem to have little romance to me, so maybe a passion filled language like Italian or French is what is in order? Should I choose a European country that has good employment prospects, learning French might be good for going to Brussels (European Union and all)?

Basically, you can see how my mind works (or doesn’t), it’s not an insignficant choice, so I’m putting it out there, to you the reader. If you can suggest a language and why it’s a worthy language and I believe it is that comment that swayed me one way or the other then I’ll post you Tim Ferriss’ new book when it’s available including postage! I’m going to weigh my options up within the next 2 weeks and choose.

So, please write a comment below and tell me what Language you think I should learn, along with why. If you include any online resources you think are helpful it may also assist in swaying my mind and ultimately winning you the book… Looking forward to reading the suggestions!

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3 Responses to “Filling the void and Learning a second Language”

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Matt,

    Sounds brilliant. I think you should learn Spanish.
    It’s the second most spoken language after English, and spoken in more than 20 countries… here’s a great break down.

    http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/index.html

    Thanks
    Dave

  2. Leah says:

    I’m not going to try and swing you either way, but this seems a great resource for learning/practicing a new language:

    http://www.myhappyplanet.com

  3. Simon says:

    Yes, awesome book huh. Hands down based on what your looking for you should go for Spanish – it will open you up to a world you have not experienced before:
    as an example check this out
    http://nymag.com/guides/changeyourlife/16047/

    best of luck

    simon

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