Monday, February 9, 2015

Sharpening Your Mind

Ich bin Cheski. Ich bin lerne Deutsch.

Translation: I am Cheski. I am learning German.

Why!?

Recently, I started a new job. I knew that there was going to be a mountain of new information to learn and a slew of new people to meet.

I had two big issues that I needed to tackle.
  1. I have always been horrible remembering names, I could remember your face for 50 years but I would have forgotten your name within minutes.

  2. I had been working in a position for the last 18 months that did not challenge me and was in a role outside of my expertise.
I needed to knock the rust off and prevent mental fatigue.

My idea: Start learning a new language.

My thought process on this is that learning a new language will build new synapses and allow your brain to focus on something other than what you're doing at work all day. Thus preventing
mental fatigue, yet still challenging you.

So far... It's working. I am actually recalling names of people I met over the last year in addition to remembering new ones. I was shocked when I realized it was working so well.

Why German?

German is close enough to my native language(English) but just far enough away as well. There are some incredible similarities between the two. They are so close in fact, that some words you just have to think about for a moment and you can figure it out.

Example: Apfel / Apple

I am not sitting down and reading a book titled "How to impress young Frauleins" or "Learn German in 180 days"... I am using a free app called Duolingo.

Duolingo uses the same sort of base that Rosetta Stone uses. You will see pictures of words, type English from German, type German from English, and speak German into your microphone for recognition(which works quite well). This builds familiarity without exhaustion.

A few minutes a day is all it take(seriously only a few) plus you have "levels" and achievements. It fuels you.

Nice side effect of learning German is that I am starting to understand what the Germans as saying in Sniper Elite III. Just more gamer motivation. *GRIN*.

Give it a shot, what do you have to lose? If you really want to flex your mental muscle, try a a language really different from yours, although I'd recommend starting with something that at least has mostly the same alphabet.