“Speak a Foreign Language Fluently in 3 Months” was one of the workshops I attended this past weekend at the World Domination Summit. That workshop title probably smacks of a snake oil salesman’s pitch to most of you, and what the heck is a world domination summit anyway? Prior to leaving for this conference, I must say it was kind of tricky explaining to people what it was, but everyone was intrigued by the title.
Essentially, it was a weekend gathering of like-minded people who wanted to live remarkable lives in a conventional world. There were people of all ages, from all over the world and from all sorts of career paths. But we had one thing in common and that was we were open to possibilities and courageous enough to be vulnerable. Wow – that seems like an oxymoron “courageous enough to be vulnerable” but actually it’s not at all. One must be vulnerable in order to love, feel joy, hope, empathy, curiosity, and gratitude or be creative. One must be brave to be vulnerable.
It was a “community” of kindred spirits who were inspirational. Some were living remarkable lives and some had come because they had decided to makes changes in their live-s because they were not happy. One woman I met told me that she felt like she was living the lives of two different people – the person she was at her job and the person she really was – who was dying to get out. She told me that she was inspired by my courage and what I have done in my life and that she will remember me. The truth is I don’t perceive myself as courageous at all and in fact I’m terrified of doing most of the things that I do. I have a friend who made a life changing decision to move to another country where he didn’t have a job, nor spoke the language – now that took courage. I’m sure it had to be terrifying – I don’t think I could have done it. No doubt he was helped by friends and it became easier over time as he became part of the “community”.
That is what a community should be – people who connect in ways that help others realize their dreams. It can come from sharing thoughts on forums and blogs online but the real magic happens when they come together in a very “real” way.
You’re probably wondering about the workshop I took “Speak a Foreign Language Fluently in 3 Months”. It was given by a likable and very entertaining Irishman, Benny Lewis, who has managed to learn several languages. He said don’t learn a language from a book and don’t focus on the grammar. He said the best way is to be confident and “just” start speaking the language you want to learn with someone who speaks it. And these days you don’t need to go to Greece to learn Greek – one can find someone who speaks Greek on Couchsurfing.org or ITalkI.com and start having skype conversations with them. So I’m going to take his advice and depart from my Rosetta Stone and start skyping with someone in Spanish. That’s a scary thought to me – trying to talk to someone in a language I don’t know and humiliating myself in the process – but it’s a fear I’m willing to face.
Speaker Chris Brogan made a comment that resonated with me when he said:“the opposite of fear is not courage or bravery. The opposite of fear is surrender and giving up”. I will keep that in mind when I’m afraid to tackle the unknown – that to be fearful is being vulnerable and one has to experience that to be able to find joy.