by Deborah A. Bailey
The other day I was reading a blog post about learning new languages. Most of the comments stated that if you don’t learn a new language when you’re young, it’ll be too hard to pick up when you’re older.
In our society, that idea is repeated over and over. And if people hear an idea enough, they start to believe it must be an established fact.
How often have you heard someone say they were too old to start over? They’ve invested too much time in their job, or their relationship, or their career, or their belief system to change now.
Here’s the bottom line: what you believe will become your reality. Too old to learn a language? You’re right. Have to stay in that career that you hate? Sure, go ahead. Change is hard. Don’t try this at home, kids. It might be uncomfortable.
I didn’t start learning Spanish until I was 16, and I studied enough to become quite good at reading and writing it. I’d planned to continue on in college, but I decided to major in Biology for about a year. Which meant my liberal arts classes got dropped in favor of Organic Chem, Algebra and Logic.
It was my first detour away from the things I do best–writing and communications. (The “why” is a topic for another day.)
Another change–another language
Fast forward several years later. I decided to switch careers from copywriting to computer programming. So I had to learn how to code. The school adviser told me that learning a computer language was similar to learning how to read music (which I learned in grammar school when I took up the clarinet). Since no one told me it couldn’t be done, I went with it and learned three computer languages.
That worked for me until I finally decided to leave IT and return to writing. A new way of life away from full-time employment. When I became a freelancer, I didn’t have the luxury to believe that it was too hard to learn new things.
Here’s the thing, at each juncture, I just went with the flow. I decided to make the change, and learned the new “language” that went with it.
I didn’t sit there and decide I was too old to learn to read music, or Spanish or machine code. No one told me I couldn’t do it, and I wouldn’t have believed them if they had.
In 2010 I published my first book, Think Like an Entrepreneur. Today I’ve got 10 books published, with 2 more on track for publication this year. Back when I was writing my first book, I didn’t have a clue about self publishing. So I learned how to do it and made a start.
It’s not too late if you say it’s not
With each bend and twist in the landscape, I learned the new terrain and kept it moving. That’s how you do it.
Everyday you have a chance to take a risk. Make a leap. Venture into the unknown without a road map or an expectation of what you’re going to find.
You can stick with “established wisdom” which is always there to tell you what you can’t do. Or you can just go do it.
Copyright © 2014-2018 Deborah A. Bailey