Why Bother Learning German: 5 People that Are Worth Your Efforts
What are the 2 fears all humans have in common?
This is something I learned from Tony Robbins in my coaching training:
The two primary human fears that drive our actions are:
1. the fear of not being enough (not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not beautiful enough, not nice enough, not professional enough, not fast enough, not tough enough, not experienced enough, you name it) and therefore
2. the fear of not being loved. Now, this one includes but is not limited to romantic love. Love can be understood as the connection to any human being (or a pet or ourselves); which means we’re afraid of not being liked. By our friends, colleagues, neighbors, club members… It is the basic fear of rejection. So in order to avoid it we do things in order to please others - those who matter.
In connection to this second fear, we can find the reason why we do anything, i.e. our motivation (incl. the motivation to learn German :-). The reason why we strive for more is based on our desire to connect with others.
How do we do that?
Therefore, language is a vital element of how we connect to each other.
If that's the case, then the reason we learn a language IS and MUST BE connected to other people.
Reflecting on my personal experience, your German motivation is linked to:
These 5 important people for whom you should improve your German.
1. SOMEONE YOU LOVE
As Sir Nelson Mandela says:
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
It might be your German partner - a boyfriend/girlfriend, a spouse, a colleague, a friend… When love is in the air, all we wanna do is please the object of our love. So anything (including our mispronounced German) that makes them smile and feel amused by us, motivates us to keep demonstrating that we love and respect those people. Therefore, we try to speak in their native language.
From my personal experience: Germans are always impressed when trying to figure out where I'm from and how the heck I speak so native-like without being born/raised there. Learning to speak their language like a native has opened for me many hearts and doors. I believe, it will for you, too.
If you want to get into people's hearts, speak in their language.
2. SOMEONE YOU WANT TO IMPRESS
In the early stages of any relationship, we try to attract people’s attention because we want to win their trust, admiration or even their heart. So what better way to make someone like us than by impressing them with how much / fast / serious we are with our language skills? BTW: German is a great choice for that, having the reputation of being not one of the easiest or most beautiful languages. Even if Germans are never going to fall head over heels (let’s stay realistic), they will definitely notice your effort and you will at least win their respect.
From my personal experience: In my teaching career, it was always fun for me to have students who wanted to make themselves noticable with the special effort they put into learning German. One of those, being my husband - whose learning motivation drastically dropped when I was not anymore his German teacher, but his girlfriend ;-)
Taking the effort to learn someone's language is impressive.
3. SOMEONE WHO CARES
On the journey to or in Germany, each of us meets at least one person that seems to care: a friend, a colleague, a neighbor or a teacher - someone who wants to help us and see us prosper. So those people are the ones who you can make really proud by demonstrating your devotion and willingness to stay in the game. Learning German is a great sign of your persistence.
Personally, as a teacher, I love to see my students writing me emails and messaging me on Facebook in German. They know how much I care about their progress and practicing what I taught them.
Give back to those who care.
4. SOMEONE YOU WANT TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH
We all have at least one person in our lives that we talk to in German: again, it could be: => a colleague, who tries to encourage us to practice, => a neighbor who’s afraid to speak in English or => your teacher, whose job is to enable you to speak the language.
A great example in my life is my student Dale, who even after moving back to Australia kept contact with some of his German colleagues and who he still emails in German.
Keeping in touch means you never have to say bye.
5. SOMEONE WHO PUTS A LOT OF EFFORT
And last but not least - each effort should be rewarded. So who else but YOU deserves it more? If you’ve put the effort to learn the language and spent all this time to get so far, then it would be a loss for you (and your teacher) if you just drop it from here and never try to use the language again.
So keep up the good work so far and next time when you feel a little bit demotivated, think about your 5 top people who you want to be connected to.
YOUR BIG ACTION TIME is NOW:
Write down 5 names: one for each of the above categories that you care about and want to be connected to.
Let them know that they made the top on your list of inspiration with this sharable wisdom:
Speaking a language is not about learning the grammar, but about connecting to the people who matter.
Hoping to be one of them ;-)
P.S. Know a good friend or colleague of yours who is struggling with finding a reason to learn a language? Don’t keep the knowledge for yourself, share this article and help them feel connected :-) P.P.S. Not started learning German yet? I'd be honored to be part of your journey and help you build the connections to people who matter. Contact me here.