Anxo Peréz is a Spanish entrepreneur also known as a prodigy of language that he speaks about 10 different languages. He is the founder of 8Belts which is an online platform which allows you to learn Chinese within 8 months. He is the author of Los 88 peldaños del éxito. Today, let's understand how genius people think and how they make things happen.
-----First of all, for those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. You are well known as a polyglot. How did you get interested in languages so much?
I am just a humble apprentice that still has much to learn. I became interested in languages when I was a child. However, my interest wasn’t what was important, it was the fact that I realized that language teaching constituted one of my oil wells. However, I’d like to stress that my abilities aren’t better than everyone else’s, they’re just different. As soon as I discovered that one of them was languages, I decided to strengthen this ability as much as I could. There are two ways to increase one’s value in the world. One is improving the bad. The other is taking advantage of the good. The key to success isn’t found in the first one, it’s found in the second.
-----When you speak different languages, what happens in your mind? Does it feel like you’re a different person?
Anxo Pérez is Anxo Pérez, whether he’s speaking Gallego, Spanish, Chinese, or English. It’s just like how you continue being yourself making lunch and writing an article for a blog, a person is the same person no matter what language they’re speaking. Me communicating with someone in one language or the other doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we communicate. I feel the same way in every language.
-----You often encourage people to take action. Are you naturally an outgoing person or did you have a specific episode that changed you to become proactive?
When I was fifteen, I realized that I wasn’t making the most of my talents and I decided to move to the US so I could better take advantage of them. While there, I was able to develop my language-learning and musical abilities. If I hadn’t decided to incite change at that time and in that way, none of the wonderful things that have happened throughout my life would’ve ever happened. Actions have strength. Not one thing in the world around us has come from someone’s indifference.
The world isn’t moved by people with ideas because everyone has them. The world is moved by the few that are willing the do something with theirs. This is why I defend the standpoint that there’s magic in action.
-----What was the motivation for you to help people learn Chinese in 8 months? Why it was Chinese instead of any of the Romance languages?
Because I couldn’t find any other language that was as distant and useful as Chinese. I wanted to dispel the notion that Spanish speakers aren’t good at languages. If we were able to demonstrate that anyone could learn Chinese with the proper method, why couldn’t we speak any language, like English, in the same amount of time?
Our mission is to demonstrate, to Spain and to the rest of the world, that there aren’t any “bad” ways to learn, but that there are ways to teach that can be improved. When people don’t learn, it’s not their fault, it’s the method’s. If you teach properly, everyone learns. Even Chinese.
-----How do you make yourself outstanding in such a competitive market: language learning?
You can't achieve more than anyone by doing the same as everyone. We offer a different method where there are no classrooms, no books, no teachers, no exercises, and no tests. We also offer different results: you learn to speak a new language in just 8 months. If you don’t, you get your money back. Up until now, we haven’t had to return anyone’s money, not even once, because 8Belts doesn’t work 99% of the time, it works 100% of the time.
-----For most people, it is very scary to take a leap of faith to change their own life. How they can get out of their comfort zone?
With monotony, you don’t suffer, but without risk you don’t grow. There are circumstances in which life puts a “dare-to” moment right in front of you. In such a case, you have two options: stay in your comfort zone, the safe place where you’ll never suffer, or launch yourself into the unknown. If you choose the second option, you may win or lose, but you’ll always grow.
-----What would be the first thing that someone could do to change their life?
Incite change. Do things that you’ve never considered doing, play a new sport, learn a new language, talk to people that you never thought about talking to,… shake things up and observe the repositioning of all the pieces that make up your current situation in life. Action is magic, and shaking things up multiplies your magic’s impact.
-----What is the most important thing you have ever learned in your entrepreneurial life?
Be true to your vision. When you begin a project, there are a thousand people that “advise” you to stop, they say that it’s not worth it, or that you should give your idea a 180 degree spin to “make it better.” Resist these temptations. Accept advice, but always stick true to your project.
-----If you could make a call to a 20-year-old Anxo Perez, what kind of advice would you give him?
Don’t let a day go by without getting closer, even if it’s just a little bit, to achieving your goals.
-----If you can leave one message to make the world a better place, what would your message be?