Lo! And Chagami sayeth:
It doesn’t matter how many kanji you do a day/how many sentences you’re learning/how much vocab you’re picking up, all that matters is that progress is being made. I know that sometimes it can feel like we’re lowering our standards by just striving to make progress, but then again, if you are like me, who had month long gaps in the initial stages of RTK study, maybe it isn’t a lower standard after all.
It’s all fun and games until it isn’t. That’s when you burn out.
Don’t get clever. Don’t make things painful with your “I must do a million kanji a day OR ELSE!”.
Or else what?
Progress is progress. Stop making up fake hard rules. Make easy rules. Make easy games. Winnable games.
Less heroics. More consistency. More sustainability. You need a pace you can actually keep. That means, yes, don’t have high standards. Instead, have wide standards.
“Wide standards? WTF?”
That means standards you can sustain. I don’t care how many kanji you do per day and neither should you. What matters is how many days you keep coming back to the kanji. High standards say: “Do 100 kanji per day”. Wide standards say: “Do kanji, no matter how little, for 100 days straight”.
Area under the graph is what we want. We don’t need a lone, phallically-shaped, never-repeating spike on the left side: that’s binging and purging. You don’t want the Washington Monument. You want the Lincoln Memorial. Scratch that, you want…a lawn 1. Do you think it’s an accident that grasses are the most successful plants on the face of the earth 2? Grasses have wide standards, bro 3.
High standards lead to pain and suffering. High standards lead to three-day monking. Don’t have high standards, have wide standards. And guess what? Wide standards turned on their side…are actually high standards, just like the tortoise is the true fast runner. You don’t need to rush to be excellent, you just need to move, you just need to continue.
There’s another meaning for the term “wide standards”. Think of it in terms of a goal on a soccer pitch. If the goal is wide, then it’s easier to score, and from further away. On the soccer pitch of your Japanese life, you want to make the goal so wide that virtually any ball you kick can get in.
That means small stuff counts; precursor actions count. Rap music? Totally counts. Score. Doing 1 rep? Counts. Score. Playing Japanese podcasts while you do your homework? Counts. Score. Simply flipping through a Japanese book? Counts. The goal is wide. Kick and you’ll make it. Kick and you’ll score. Anything Japanese should count. Even stuff I personally think is lame 😀 .
Don’t aim high. Aim wide.
- Mmm…this is actually a sucky example because many people — European-Americans — living in lawn-inappropriate climates apparently go to quixotic lengths to create and maintain the “perfect” lawn. But…pretend we’re talking about, like, the Kenyan highlands or some place in Britain, where lawns kinda sorta grow naturally. I’m disclaiming myself way too much aren’t I? This is what happens when you have footnotes. You just go wild. I didn’t even need to type that last sentence: it was totally a waste of your time. OK, I’m done. I promise. Done!
- Is this actually true? I hope so…Coz I totally forget where I read this. Botanists, please enlighten me 😀 ↩
- Official announcement: chicks are also bros now 😛 ↩