Oh heyyyy it's Sunday again! I'm probably at work as you're reading this because I make very bad life choices (like agreeing to work for money. Madness.) and THAT is pretty much how my life is going lately. I think I have probably worked more (for money, anyway) this February than maybe any other month in my life which on the one hand is like 'yay money!' and on the other is like 'oh... That's all the money?' because, I may have mentioned before, my job is not very good.
ANYWAY. I shall stop there LEST I write about my job on the internet and somehow get in trouble for it (plus yesterday we got free donuts and diet coke and prosecco so who am I to complain?) but it just feels like when it comes to recapping my life lately I'm just constantly saying 'yeah I worked a lot and on my days off I was tired so didn't do stuff'. BASICALLY I need some more excitement in my life, and if anyone knows how to get that without spending very much money then I am all ears.
So instead of talking about my week (summary: work, new glasses, weird weird sickness on Thursday that was terrible, the donut thing) let me talk to you about a revelation I've been having about life since last June and which is still ongoing in the sense of actually, properly, trying to apply this new knowledge to my life to make an actual difference to it. I know I'm not really making any sense here, so let me start from the beginning.
Last June I went out with this chef guy (he's not the part of this worth talking about, ya know what I mean?) and during a gay old time at London Zoo I was saying that I found his chef skills pretty impressive (flirting, innit) and how I can't really cook amazingly, and he kind of shrugged and said "it's just repetition, really".
It's just repetition.
Here's something you should know about me. I'm a pretty smart person, which I say not to brag but to later criticise myself. School was never really a struggle for me because I just kind of got it- I could learn the stuff and write the stuff and exams weren't really that stressful for me. I was always kind of just good at school stuff without even trying, and even as I'm writing this I know how much of a dick I'm sounding. But bear with me because I'm about to get to my point.
There are some things I've struggled with doing in life. I'm not naturally good at exercise, so I've given up on it a lot. I'm not naturally good at languages, so instead of learning them I pretty much just give up on them. I wasn't immediately good at driving, so I stopped having lessons and, ya know, I walk everywhere (I actually don't mind this one). Because it hasn't been a struggle to learn a lot of things in life, when something is difficult for me, I just give up on it. I just hide behind 'not being naturally good' at something like that means I can't actually do it, when in fact: it's just repetition.
Repetition doesn't come naturally to me. I'm not good at telling the same story twice because I get bored (genuinely. If I want people to know something I'll just tell one person and let it circulate) and I'm no good at being bad at something. I get frustrated easily if something isn't easy to me, and because I'm also naturally lazy (I really am) that means I give up. This is all a revelation to me because until that guy said 'it's just repetition' it was honestly like I didn't understand that if you just keep on doing something you get better at it. I was operating more on the idea that if I'm not immediately good at something then I never will be, so what's the point?
And I honestly feel like I get the point now! That one little comment sparked a whole brain revolution that has made me see that if you just do something A LOT then you'll naturally get better at it because how could you not? I try to apply it to everything I do now, good or bad, because run didn't go well? Do it more and you'll get better. You don't understand this paragraph? Read it again and see what happens. I'm trying to learn Japanese, and even though I feel like nothing is really sticking in my brain* and I feel like I'm really bad at it, I'm sticking with it because IT'S. JUST. REPETITION. Regardless of how long it takes to learn, repetition is what it is.
So there you have it. This guy definitely has no idea that he set a bit of a revolution off in my brain, but I honestly feel like I've uncovered my biggest weakness and I'm actively trying to change the way I think about learning and doing new things. I can't pretend that it's an easy thing to do, and more often than not laziness wins ('but why don't I just naturally know all Japanese? That's not fair!') but trying is all I can ask of myself and that's what I'm doing. BOOM life changes and all that.
*Seriously, do you know how hard Japanese is? You need to learn a whole new alphabet, plus the sounds that the symbols make, PLUS what those sounds mean in English and omfg
Well agreeing to work for money is better than agreeing to work for NO moneyReplyDelete
I like this repetition revelation! It's one of those things that seems obvious once stated. Also good luck with Japanese!
Haha, hey dude, I hear that volunteering can be very fulfilling! But yeah, you definitely have a point.Delete
It's SO obvious, and yet it never occurred to me that sometimes to get better at something you need to do it over and over rather than just getting it the very first time. Which I think makes me really lucky, but then also not lucky. BUT NOW I KNOW! Oh and thank you for the luck- I really am terrible at languages!
This post speaks to me on a visceral and spiritual level. I feel like I need that on a cushion or something. Or a tattoo, except maybe not because if I get one of those I have other ideas about that shit. IT'S JUST REPETITION. I like that. Makes everything less scary, somehow...ReplyDelete
It does make everything less scary, dude! Cause it's like, if something's hard the first time, that doesn't mean that it always will be. That's not how it works. That guy was honestly terrible but I wouldn't be without this little nugget of wisdom!Delete
I COMPLETELY understand! I also didn't struggle at all at school (and also didn't really try very hard because I got called a swot, even though I still got called one when I wasn't doing any of my homework and barely any classwork, so... hmm) and I think it left me unable to actually try at things! But yeah, so many things are just repetition! It's definitely a good thing to remind yourself!ReplyDelete
You're learning Japanese?!?! Woohoo!
(Is it going to demotivate you if I point out that it's 3 new alphabets? Easiest way to learn hiragana and katakana is just to make flashcards and test yourself on them every day until you've remembered them all. I had to remember both the summer before I started uni and got them both down (mostly) in a week just by doing that (although I had nothing else to do really so it might take a bit longer if you have a job!))
If you need learning tips I have so many! Or if you have questions about Japanese :)
I know you said that you are awful at learning languages, but I think that anybody who is good in their native language (which you obviously are!) has the ability to be good at other languages. The thing about learning other languages as an adult is that you are going to really suck at first, and you're going to sound pretty stupid when you try to speak in the other language. Which is pretty humbling. But if you can just ignore that there is so much fun to be had along the way :)
I learnt at university on a super intensive course, but I only really became able to speak Japanese well when I was on my year abroad and actively immersed myself in Japanese so I could get better (I know people think that living in the country is enough to make anyone improve, but I know people whose Japanese got worse while studying in Japan so... you have to try!), and I really wish that I had done that from the start. (It's completely possible to do with the internet!)
I don't really look at Japanese learning sites anymore, but I mostly agree with the methodology on this one: http://japaneselevelup.com/ which might be worth a look :)
...Sorry this comment is so long, but I'm excited! Hehe.
PUHLEASE Jenny, this is exactly the comment I needed!Delete
So firstly yeah the school thing- I honestly wish I had less natural smarts and had to work harder because I think that would have served me better in life (I know all of this makes me sound AWFUL but I can't think of a better way to say it!) than just ignoring things I'm not good at! Stupid brain (but not!)
Now. I'm obviously just going to have to email you all the time crying about how difficult Japanese is and how dumb I am (loljk I'll totally give up before that point) And yeah I do know about the 3 alphabets, I was just ignoring that fact because OMG I am having trouble learning the first one (hiragana? I think?) I have made a wall of syllables! And mostly I ignore it DOH haha. But anyway. Yes. I shall come back to this comment when I am feeling frustrated and it shall help me along my way! (hopefully... Haha)
Haha that doesn't make you sound awful to me because I am exactly the same.Delete
This one: あいうえお？？ That's hiragana. :) If you know that you can read little kids books because they have hiragana readings on top of all the katakana and kanji!
You can definitely do it! It just takes time and commitment :) Also you might want to try anki (http://ankisrs.net/) for learning at least hiragana and katakana (although it's also really useful for language learning in general), I'm pretty sure there's already a hiragana deck out there that you can just download, and if you use the anki app as well you can test yourself when you're out and have a few spare minutes too :)
Do email me (or send me a message on twitter or.. whatever) if you need any help at all! Or just someone to complain to, hehe.
OMG my next letter to you will be ENTIRELY in Japanese, sucker!ReplyDelete
(kidding, my Japanese is probably just as good as your Japanese!)