What is Your Second Language?
When I was in high school I took a few years of German. Needless to say it didn’t stick. I can only remember a fraction of a percent of it. Clearly that second language wasn’t a good fit for me. Then in my senior year, I took another language. One that translated perfectly in my mind.
I was able to enroll in our Vocational Technical School. I was a little late in the application process and missed out on auto mechanics (or anything car related). So I ended up taking electrical — something I only knew “of” and not “about”.
Skipping ahead, my grades were perfect. I could clearly understand the context. I could immediately apply what I learned in the book moments ago to a “board” (a shop area where you could install and wire something up). This was the first time ever in school where I fully understood the subject.
This class unlocked a side of my brain that had never truly been accessed by typical schooling and I was accelerating at it. In the end, I was the 2nd in my class — truly the first time I was proud of my education.
Today I speak multiple languages, most are not verbal.
My brain can decipher mechanical syntax in the same way a linguist can for spoken words. This is quite handy for me as a project manager when someone is trying to explain their design or position on an issue. I can follow their process and ask pointed questions that can yield an appropriate answer — even though I’ve never been formally trained on their subject.
I also use my mechanical gift to work on and repair machines. This has saved me thousands of dollars over the years from having to pay someone to make repairs.
Whenever I start looking into a mechanical issue on anything I own, I literally start a conversation with it. I ask “what are you not doing?”. Then start to listen to its answer. I speak their language and that helps get the repair process started.
— Off topic, most problems I’ve ever had with anybody progressively worsened due to language barriers or an inability to communicate the issue.