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Following the Rules

New Challenge: Learn Spanish, Read a Book, Write a 500 Word Report

I’m no stranger to challenges on this blog, and they always start out the same way: me sitting around feeling sorry for myself because I haven’t accomplished anything in awhile. The Making Money Week challenge idea came to me while sitting with my legs over the side of a bridge at two in the morning thinking about life, and ended with me, one week later, holding the first $100 I’d ever earned through entrepreneurial activities.

Me holding a hundred dollars

I’m still happy about this.

Today’s challenge was born out of something else. In high school, we all got drilled in Spanish, and while some kids really excelled at, nothing stuck and as time went on I had to sit and watch as my little brother learned fluent spanish, sit on the sidelines while my friends spoke Spanish, and have girls I was talking to taken by other guys at parties who spoke second languages.

I guess all that stuff subconsciously built up because when I found a link to the website Memrise through one of Tim Ferris’ Facebook posts, I was finally ready to learn the language.

As referenced in a previous post about learning more, I found the site, picked up a great list of the 1,000 most common spanish words and got to studying. As of right now, I’m 700 words in and can finally make a little bit of conversation in Spanish.

However, a few days after I started this whole challenge, I went downstairs to the folder where I keep my bucket list, opened it up and wrote a simple sentence: “read a book in Spanish and write a 500 word book report also in Spanish.” It covers two main barriers to fluency, reading and writing, and will be an amazing thing to accomplish.

So, wanting to start off as soon as possible, I went to Barnes and Noble to pick a book in spanish. Hearing that the easiest books to read are those translated from English, I picked up J.R.R Tolkien’s El Hobbit, the spanish version of that Lord of the Rings story that just got turned into a movie.

Now let’s get something straight real quick, I love reading and think everyone should do it, but there’s a reason I hadn’t read any of Tolkien’s books in English yet; they are soooo boring. And that’s how I learned my first lesson:

If you’re going to read a book in a foreign language, make sure you’re actually interested in it.

Duh! Why didn’t I think of that before? Well, now I’m at a loss because I need to pick a new book, read it and write the 500 words all before my planned trip to Spain in a couple days. Although there’ll probably be a lot of books to choose from while in Spain, I know that if I don’t get this done before we leave it’ll probably never get done.

So, I still have some work to do on this challenge but I’m posting this here to put up some stakes and also as an invitation. Like every challenge on this blog feel free to do it too. Set a time frame, write it on your bucket list and meet me at the finish line, hell, beat me to the finish line if you’re really good.

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