India has over 1500 languages; about 22 of them are official languages. Most people in our country are multilingual, they speak several different languages. When it comes to business, it’s easy to get by speaking just English and Hindi. Most people from the UK and the US living in India do just as well without speaking a single word of the local language.
In this context, is it beneficial to learn other foreign languages like Spanish, Italian, Russian, or Portuguese?
A great Austrian philosopher said, “The limits of your language are the limits of your world.”
Tim Ferris, Bestselling author of the Four Hour Workweek, claims to speak German, Mandarin, Spanish, and Japanese.
Here are some benefits of learning a foreign language and how it can make you a better entrepreneur:
#1 You develop an appreciation for different perspectives
When you learn a foreign language, It gives you an understanding of their culture. You realize that things that may not be acceptable in your culture are acceptable in others, and you get a deeper understanding of the human race.
#2 It opens up new opportunities
A new language can open up opportunities in international locations. Besides English, Spanish is widely spoken in over twenty countries; Arabic is spoken in several countries in Africa and the Middle East, Portuguese is spoken in about ten countries.
Knowing a foreign language is a big advantage in taking your business global.
#3 It improves your cognitive learning ability
When you learn a new language, you begin to understand its structure and mechanics. This improves your cognitive learning skills.
You also begin to see things from other people’s perspectives. You know the feeling of being a beginner, and you have far greater appreciation for people who don’t speak your native language as well as you do.
#4 It gives you tools to become a better leader
Leaders don’t just see things from their perspective; they are very good at seeing things from other people’s perspectives.
Understanding cultures and languages helps you see things from different perspectives. It helps you understand and influence people. A well-travelled and a well-spoken man has far greater appeal than a person with a limited world view.
Vitali Prymak, CEO of Central Park Tours says “We live in New York City which is an international city with people from all over the world. Having a world view definitely helps. And speaking a foreign language gives you an opportunity to connect with International communities in the city. It’s just good for business to connect with people from different cultures.”
#5 You become more creative
Researchers are concluding that multi-lingual speakers are much more creative than their peers who only speak their native language.
Along with becoming a better problem solver, learning a new language can also make you more creative.
Creativity brews from mixing and matching several experiences in your mind. Learning a foreign language exposes you to a new culture, and gives you the necessary tools for creativity.
Entrepreneurship is not just about technical skills. It’s also about life experiences and understanding of people, cultures, markets and trends. Taking the time to develop a hobby and learn a foreign language does not just makes you a better entrepreneur, it also makes you a well-rounded person.