I studied French for 8 years at school. I don’t speak French except slinging the odd je m’appelle about as if I was a translated Eminem track.
My friend Zach, on the other hand, moved to Colombia at the age of 21, within a few months spoke fluent Spanish.
The difference? Immersion.
I was limited by the French transmissions I was receiving in the form of a 1 hour a week slot, for eight years, in a synthetic, classroom environment in England, whilst I experienced a very English existence. Allowing only a keyhole of French light to permeate into my otherwise Frenchless room.
Zach, on the other hand, snapping open the blinds had allowed the light of Colombian culture to flood his entire sensory experience. He had nothing but Colombia to contend with. Learning Spanish was inevitable and unavoidable.
As Russell Brand says: ‘the house of human consciousness has but five windows’ of which we allow passage to sensory information. To learn something new, we must nourish all these sensory passages with that we seek to learn and allow nothing relevant to slip into the shadows.
So go ahead, pull open all the blinds, unlock all the doors and let as much light flood in. You’ll be amazed by what you learn.