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You’re Not Broken: The Method Is

Don’t believe in the method; believe in yourself. Methods are a dime a dozen. Methods are interchangeable. You’re irreplaceable.

You are the core artifact in and of the system. The method must be cut to fit you.

We do this with clothes all the time. We only pick clothes that fit. If they don’t fit we either don’t pick them in the first place, or we cut them the heck up until they do fit. So there’s no reason we shouldn’t do this with ideas as well. You don’t amputate your legs, you get longer pants. And when you outgrow the pants, you get bigger ones.

Don’t hate yourself. Don’t get down on yourself because the method isn’t working. You’re fine. You’re not broken — the method is. Don’t cut yourself. Cut the method. 1


  1. Don’t cut yourself. I mean that figuratively and literally. People literally commit acts of verbal and physical harm against themselves, even to the point of suicide, because they couldn’t fit into some system that someone else created.

    The person who made the method most likely doesn’t know you and you don’t know her. She almost certainly wasn’t thinking of your personally when she made the system. So not only should it not be a problem that the method doesn’t fit you, it should be expected.

  20 comments for “You’re Not Broken: The Method Is

  1. Anonymous
    October 29, 2012 at 11:29

    But what if you have yet to find a method that fits? It’s a bit disheartening to try billions of methods and mush them around every which way, only for none of them to work.

    • kalek
      October 29, 2012 at 11:56

      Think about what you DID like about each method, and combine to make new ideas! You’ll likely find something you do like — something that’s especially effective and fun for you.

      • Anonymous
        October 29, 2012 at 12:22

        I’m drawing blanks. It’s either “I didn’t like anything at all, but I stuck with it because I was told it would improve my Japanese” or completely incidental stuff that’s hard to apply to…well, anything, really (I doubt the voices of people reading audiobooks (as in their actual voices, not just the words they’re saying) will help me with Japanese).

        • narcobean
          October 29, 2012 at 14:09

          If those voices are interesting, keep listening to them while you come up with ideas of other ways to learn. If they’re not interesting… start listening to anything and everything else.

        • October 29, 2012 at 21:22

          I listen to the eff out of some things just because I like someone’s voice. In the economy of fun, you’re the FED chairman.

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:34

        Yep, I can relate to your dilemma. The web seems to provide “too many” choices. One thing I can suggest is to follow up and see what other people say about an approach or method. My personal preference i have talked about on
        and I explain why I think it needs further investigation by anyone who wants to find a really effective approach.

        • Oosaka Ayumu
          January 6, 2013 at 22:13

          think it in this way:
          you choose a method so you are starting to learn “one, two, treee, how are you?”. S#####y it doesn’t work. Change method.
          so with the other method you start to learn “the subjects were provided with a questionnaire” (read a random book). Shitty is too hard. Change method.
          ….repeat step 1
          ….repeat step 2
          ….for a lot of time
          ….what I have learned something!!!! YUPPIIIII
          ….cool down restart and improve.

          • Anonymous
            January 7, 2013 at 10:50


  2. Tarin
    October 29, 2012 at 22:24

    I kinda wanna frame this and put it on my wall.

  3. October 30, 2012 at 10:26

    As I enter the “uncanny valley” middle phase of my Japanese journey, I can’t help but find this post to be very supportive and inspiring. Thanks Khatz 🙂

  4. Jack Cotton-Brown
    October 30, 2012 at 23:03

    What if your method runs around with a Katana and cuts the living crap out of anything and everything; and is known as Champloo. What then…

  5. ahndoruuu
    November 3, 2012 at 02:53

    Like most advice on this site, following this one creates a sort of endless logical loop. Essentially AJATT is a method telling me not to trust or follow methods. Thus if I listen to the advice, and stop following methods, I am following a method in order to it. But if I continue listening to methods then I am by definition listening to methods.

    You’re pretty slick, Khatz. Writing advice that it is impossible not to follow.

  6. November 4, 2012 at 23:22

    Re: clothes…you only say that because you’re a man. Women routinely berate themselves for not fitting into those skinny jeans from last year rather than throwing them out and getting new ones that do fit.

    I know that that’s stupid (even though I’ve done it many times), but I hadn’t quite made the leap that fitting into any system is sort of the same thing. I will try to remember this post the next time I’m in a dark place for feeling like I don’t fit in!

    • Oosaka Ayumu
      January 6, 2013 at 22:16

      Same problem. But If you know how to sew or somebody sew it for you…—>PROBLEM SOLVED.

  7. Rou
    November 5, 2012 at 16:16

    Does school count as one of the “systems others created”?

    • NDN
      November 6, 2012 at 05:05

      Well, I don’t know if the question is meant for Khatz but couldn’t resist answering it. btw, my english is not so good so excuse me for any errors.
      Answer: ABSOLUTELY! I only felt alive when I started “deschooling” myself! I HATED mathematics for decades only to find out that it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. So, definitely it’s not me or anyone else, it’s the school system that is completely flawed on all levels INCLUDING socialization (grading system is a s**t). But why say more when many fine articles in this blog can speak for me? 🙂

      • Rou
        November 6, 2012 at 05:29

        The question was meant for whoever wishes to answer, heh. But this begs the question – what can you do when you can’t change the method because it’s forced upon you? Admittedly I only have 25 weeks of school left, but it feels pretty long if I beat myself up daily for being such a friggin’ idiot unable to deal with what every person I know dealt with no problems.

        I’m just a bit sad, that’s all. Especially if I end up failing the grade and having to repeat it.

        • NDN
          November 7, 2012 at 05:16

          Oops, only now I realized I should have posted as a reply. Sorry. Anyway…below is the answer.
          Well, you can’t change the “official” method. But the tests are always about output. So, it’s actually about finding an “unofficial” method which really helps you and then making its OUTPUT fit into the official system.
          Kinda like learning Japanese through AJATT and then taking JLPT tests. 🙂

  8. NDN
    November 7, 2012 at 05:10

    Well, you can’t change the “official” method. But the tests are always about output. So, it’s actually about finding an “unofficial” method which really helps you and then making its OUTPUT fit into the official system.
    Kinda like learning Japanese through AJATT and then taking JLPT tests. 🙂

  9. Oosaka Ayumu
    January 6, 2013 at 22:08

    holy word Khatz.

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