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It’s Not Time, It’s Choice

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Engineered Inevitability

Time by itself will do nothing. It’s engagement or the lack thereof multiplied by time that makes the difference.

So, if time “is” anything at all, it is at best a force multiplier. By itself, it’s powerless. Time multiplied by 0 gives you, well, 0. To mean anything, time needs to be crossed with choice.

Choice is where the real power is.

I think I’ve waxed pop philosophical enough for one day. Let me wrap it up and bring it home.

Don’t “do” Japanese. Don’t “set aside time” for Japanese. Choose Japanese. Show up to Japanese. Then, just to be safe, lay down some suppression fire — make other choices difficult, inconvenient, or impossible.

What we call time (in the sense of “you’ll get better with time”) is not time, it’s really the sum of our choices. It’s the sum of things we showed up to. The sum of our showings up? 😛 They don’t have to be big choices. Not at all. They’re just choices. The simplest choice, the atomic choice, if you will, is a choice of direction. The sum of your directions determines your destination…your “destiny”.

So, again, time will not make you better or worse. It’s not time, it’s times: the number of times you choose to show up to Japanese — you will get as good at Japanese as this number is high.

Choose fun. Choose kanji 😀 .


Series Navigation<< The Fork, The Choice and YouIt’s Not Choice, It’s Environment >>

  20 comments for “It’s Not Time, It’s Choice

  1. ライトニング
    July 22, 2011 at 01:59

    Great Post. Sadly, Yesterday, It was late, and I have not entered my sentences to Anki yet, And I thought I didn’t have much time because I wanted to sleep, So i only entered 1, but now I realized that i chose Not to, not because time didn’t allow.

    • applehead
      July 22, 2011 at 02:18

      The best part is that regardless of yesterday, you have the choice to enter them today. Yesterday’s time went away, but you can still use yesterday’s choice with today’s time. Enter yesterday’s sentences into Anki on today’s time. 😉

  2. Caomei513
    July 22, 2011 at 03:58

    My issue is never one of choosing between doing something in English versus Korean, rather it’s “I’ve been sitting here in silence for a while/doing stuff around the house in silence for a while, I should turn Korean on… well I don’t really feel like it. I like silence… No, go turn Korean on now. Right now. No I don’t want to….f&*% now I’m a three-day monk again”

    That’s pretty much my constant thought pattern for the last few years. I know Khatz doesn’t believe in self-discipline, but I know that what I have is a definite SD problem. I would GLADLY choose to listen to nothing but Korean 24/7/365, but dang it my headphones are over there and I don’t feel like getting up and getting them.

    I know I can’t be the only one with this issue… anyone here have some words of advice? And no.. saying ‘just get up and turn on the d*mn Korean’ isn’t going to help >.< If I sound bitter it's because I am. 😛

    • Chagami
      July 22, 2011 at 06:23

      My dear friend, you are not alone!

      Sometimes, when I got some work to do on my computer, I’ll manage to drag myself to my desk, wake it up, and proceed to play with an elastic band sitting beside the keyboard. I blow at self-discipline – I didn’t even turn my Japanese audio on today! But you know what, that’s okay; it was on already 😛

      For me, I’m at a stage where it’s actually harder for me to turn the Japanese off than it is to turn it on.

      Of course, I didn’t have the audio thing going so smoothly since the get-go, I had my roadblocks. One, which you may also be experiencing, was my dislike of headphones. They get annoying after a while, fall out, not to mention (in my opinion) it’s rude to have them in when you’re with someone. So, I made the switch to speakers.

      Fire up that computer of yours, turn on iTunes, put it on shuffle and leave it. Computer downstairs/far away? No problem! As you alluded to, you’ve got a portable music player of sorts, so get a dock for it. In fact, also go to the dollar store and pick up some of those cheap speakers and place a few pairs around your house.

      I’m a hockey fan. Whether you are or aren’t, you were probably aware that there used to be one referee on the ice. Well, about 12 years ago, the NHL started putting two refs on the ice, one at each end of the rink. This way, the game comes to them, rather than them chasing it. Instead of having to go to your Korean, have it come to you (by having your tools – speakers/books/media – everywhere you go.)

      Hope this helps 🙂

    • July 23, 2011 at 23:06

      You could try getting some computer speakers. =P

  3. guptashvm
    July 23, 2011 at 00:47

    I have tests going on right now (started at the start of this week) and they don’t end till the beginning of August… I have no trouble maintaining immersion and am always playing music and watch anime between study sessions. But I’m not able to do SRSs due to lack of time… What should I be doing?

    • July 23, 2011 at 02:45

      Do the shortest time span you can, even if it’s one minute SRS reps.

  4. Han
    July 23, 2011 at 18:57

    You’re right. I find it a lot more helpful to think in terms of ‘well, I had music on while I did the dishes, and listened to the radio, did all my SRS reps and read two news articles’ than ‘I spent ten minutes doing this, then an hour with that, and then I guess like fifteen minutes reading something’. I think it’s a lot easier to get put off and feel down about the time you successfully/failed to spend, than the idea of physically doing something.

  5. July 23, 2011 at 23:12

    I think it’s easy if you make the language learning experience akin to playing an MMORPG. I don’t remember studying or forcing myself to memorise anything when I played, say, (don’t look) the World of Warcraft (sorry, time). But despite never even caring to remember anything, I ended up knowing all the map routes, understanding the dynamics of items, names of towns, I could recognise factions and races by their mere silhouettes, etc… Ended up remembering tons of useless trivia, if I think about it, and it was just due to spending time in there.

    For English I just watched lots of regular TV one summer vacation and then I could understand most things, and the rest was easier. There’s a point where the learning picks up as you’re suddenly able to see things in better perspective and it turns from “trying to understand” to “filling in the gaps” and at that point it becomes extremely exciting.

  6. ライトニング
    July 24, 2011 at 13:33

    I have a question, on a subject that worries me. It seems that I am forgetting individual Kanji more and more. Example: If I see 事故、I know what it means, but I can’t Remember What the 故 In 事故 Means。 It happens a lot, and that is just one example. Also, when I hear something, I usually can’t write some words that use Kanji. I mean, I understand it, but I forget which Kanji to write。

    • jumbocrunk
      July 24, 2011 at 16:58

      I just look it up if I forget or get it wrong. Look it up, write it out a few times, and after that it seems to stick in my head pretty well.

    • ブライアン
      July 25, 2011 at 07:00

      If you can read it and understand the compound, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get the individual kanji. Look them up if you want (it’ll help you with figuring out other compounds) but don’t get frantic about it. If it show up enough to be necessary, you’ll get it eventually.

      RE: writing. Start taking time to write out your sentence reviews. Not all of them (that would be a lot) but some of them. I generally set Anki to a 5 minute timebox when I first start SRSing for the day and write out every sentence I get. Make sure to sound out the characters in you head as you write. This will tie the reading/word with writing the kanji.

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  8. September 25, 2011 at 21:29

    Very true, I would add that we set prioroties according to our choices, the problem is when people don’t do consciuos choices 

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