Different paths but one common goal

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jeison Higuita on Unsplash

For the untrained eye, polyglots all look alike. They speak “many” languages and that’s it. The reality is quite different. There are 3 kinds of polyglots who follow different patterns but follow the same goal: gather knowledge in multiple languages.

1. The Language Family-focused polyglot

The first one, and most often found around the world, is the language-family focused polyglot. These are the people who learn 10 or more languages in 5 years. You could think they are “geniuses”, but they aren’t. Their system is much simpler.

The two most common ones are the “Europe-focused” (1) and “East Asia-focused” (2). …


A person who knows it all knows nothing

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

Two years ago, I fell into the world of online gurus, those who say they’ve “got it figured out”.

It was amazing for a while, until I realized they had no flaws. They considered themselves as being gods of whatever topic they covered. Gary Vee is probably the most obvious example so I’ll use him throughout this piece.

Learners, on the other hand, consider themselves to be wrong often. They fail. They look for their flaws. They work on them. They fail some more and get better. Time after time.

Expertise should never be more than a sub-goal. …


Let me tell you why after I watch another YouTube video

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev from Pexels

Ok. Now that I’ve spent the last 30 minutes looking up “pointless stuff” online, such as Mario Maker videos, let me dive into this.

I’m a perfectionist and a productivity geek. Two characteristics that don’t go well together. I always want to accomplish more but I push everything to the next moment. I rely on Future Mathias to handle what should be well done.

I’ve read a lot about fighting procrastination. I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to refrain from “wasting time”.

What does “wasting time” even mean? Is there such a thing as “pointless stuff”? I’ve come to think there isn’t. Everything has a reason. …


So you never have to look for them again

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov from Pexels

Every language has its own intricacies and opens a different journey to anyone learning them.

In my language-learning journey, I’ve studied at least a dozen languages. I’ve lived very different experiences and developed a strong love for languages as a whole.

While each language is different and you can’t use a French website to learn Indonesian, there are tools you can use to learn any language.

Here’s my list of 12 incredible tools without which I would have never become a polyglot speaking 6 languages. Just in case, none of those sponsors me. …


#3 “Ambition without implementation is a ridiculous delusion”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Virul Weerasooriya on Unsplash

I’m a productivity geek.

After a decade of learning languages, I began researching ways to improve my process. I read many books more or less related to productivity and learning.

As I read, I found hidden gems I rarely saw online, even though most of these people were already quoted everywhere.

Here are the 7 underrated quotes I want everybody to know.

“Pleasure is an important component of the quality of life, but by itself, it does not bring happiness.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is well-known for his work on the experience of flow. He even published a book about the topic 30 years ago.

The whole premise of his research was that we need to create more flow experiences to accomplish more. He goes into great detail about different mindset changes to make but also mentions the concept of pleasure. …


When you can’t wait to know more, you learn more

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Dimitri Houtteman on Unsplash

After studying a dozen languages and learning to a high level six of them, I’ve noticed patterns arising.

I’ve never reached a high level in a language without a lot of exposure through videos or without reviewing words. The most important factor, though, is the curiosity I developed for my languages.

When I studied Thai, I just wanted to bother my brother who had been living in Thailand for 3 years and couldn’t speak the language. My sole purpose was to show him you could learn a “hard” language even outside of the country. A month later, I gave up. The deciding factor was that I was just bored. …


Most of which you could experience as well

Image for post
Image for post
Image of The “Wall of Love” in Paris, by Ciprian Axinte from Pixabay

I love languages. No, no. I really do. To such a level it’s hard to explain how much.

I’ll try though. Because I love languages and they deserve this effort from me. Languages have changed my life and I owe it to them.

Sorry in advance, languages. I know you deserve even more love from me. Don’t worry though. It’s only the beginning. We still have a lot of time to spend together.

For now, here we go.

1. I’ve discovered a wider world than in my wildest imagination

Before I learned English, I had traveled within Europe but never realized how wide the world could really be. …


Happiness is more than the result of self-control

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

The internet is filled with articles about long-term goals and gurus telling us to keep hustling no matter what.

Gary Vee often says he didn’t rest a single day in his 20s. I was impressed by that until I read the book “How we Learn” last year.

The author, Benedict Carey, explained that always grinding isn’t what we need. We need to live. This helped me understand why the period of my life during which I improved my languages the most was at University.

Now, a new study is reaching a similar conclusion through a different focus: short-term pleasure. In Beyond Self-Control: Mechanisms of Hedonic Goal Pursuit and Its Relevance for Well-Being, the authors prove that there’s one more skill we all need to develop to be happy: appreciating short-term pleasures. …


Don’t underestimate water drops

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Demi Kwant on Unsplash

In the Song Dynasty, there was a magistrate called Zhuang Guaiya. One day, he spotted an official hurrying away from the treasure house. He stopped him and asked what he did.

“Nothing serious. I only took a penny.”, he replied.

The magistrate took him but the official showed no sign of repentance. “It’s only a penny. You can beat me but you can’t kill me for this.”

Zhuang Guaiya, angry to see no sign of remorse, said,

“If you steal a penny for 1,000 days, that’ll be 1,000 pennies. …


Nothing teaches more than a failed attempt

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Tomaki Maeda from Pixabay

I used to refrain from trying anything until someone showed me how to do it. I hated making mistakes. I hated failure. Now, tell me I made a mistake in my sentence in Japanese and I’ll be excited.

Think back to your childhood. When you learned additions for the first time, did you get it right the first time? Did you hate yourself for your incapacity to know the answer of 2+5? How about when you learned to read? How about when you first tried walking? Or even just standing up?

I wasn’t there but I bet you didn’t even consider the option of judging yourself. You moved on and tried again. That’s what skilled learners do every day. …

About

Mathias Barra

Polyglot speaking 6 languages. Writer. Helping the world to learn languages and become more understanding of others. Say hi → https://linktr.ee/MathiasBarra

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store