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So why are YOU learning English? (part 2)

by Torsten Daerr

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Let me give you some good reasons to learn the language, and as we go through this list, stop and think about each one carefully. It's very likely that you'll find several that you can use to make your own determination to learn English even stronger.

1) "I want to learn English in order to better understand human behavior and the principles of success." The English-speaking nations are among the most successful in the world. In spite of, or maybe because of, all its political challenges, the United States is still the single most powerful nation on our planet. So, regardless of your political or national or religious views, you should find out why the Americans and other English-speaking peoples have been able to achieve this level of success. Their mentality, their way of thinking, is obviously different, but sometimes the differences are small and subtle. To understand the way English speakers think and live, you need to listen to what they listen to, read what they read, and talk to them about what they do and why they do it.

Why are English-speaking countries so powerful? Why do they dominate fields like business, technology, science, and entertainment? To understand their secrets of success, you need to read books like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, David Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big or listen to Napoleon Hill's The Science of Personal Achievement. You could probably read these in your own language, because they've been translated into many languages, but a translation is never as good, never as meaningful, as the original. Some ideas just cannot transcend languages.

Also, as you will see later on, winners are constantly looking for new ways to achieve their goals. That's why they need English as a means of communication. I grew up in a socialist country, and the son of two state school teachers, so you can imagine the exposure I had to the idea of communism. As a child, I read Nikolai Ostrovsky's novel How the Steel Was Tempered, and it had a huge impact on me. Its hero is a young man who fights for the freedom of his country. The book inspired me to learn Russian so that I could speak to Russians and ask them about their ideals. I thought they were all like the hero in the book. A few years later, when I started to learn English in earnest, I got access to another ideology – the 'philosophy of success', as I call it. The two ideologies – the one promoted by the communists and the philosophy of success – have a lot in common. Because I was already familiar with socialist ideology, it was much easier for me to absorb and understand the philosophy of success. What's more, knowing both ideologies, I could compare them and take the best of both.

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