Suffering From Perfectionism While Studying Japanese

When you build something from the ground up, with absolute control and micromanagement over every minor aspect, an unfortunate habit tends to rear its ugly (but well groomed) head: Perfectionism. It’s natural that you want your study method and every factor that goes into your general study equation to be perfect. Flawless efficiency.

I imagine you desire something like this:

flawless victory
But you may actually be a victim. Ask yourself the following:

1. Do you worry that your RTK stories aren’t good enough, causing you to constantly refine them and stress over what would be better?

2. Do you worry that your starting 1000 J-E sentences aren’t good enough, you are choosing the wrong sentences, are entering them wrong, or that you should go back and change them?

3. Have you repeatedly gone through already entered J-J sentences, trying to figure out what are the absolute best sentences to add?

4. Have you tried to find the perfect book, manga, or anime (or insert other media) for your exact level of studying that will provide you the maximum amount of progress and enjoyment?

These feelings from time to time are normal. But if these feelings are constantly present, you may be in a dangerous situation. I know you want to learn Japanese 100% correctly, right from the start. You want to save yourself time later and make your future Japanese self as unstoppable as possible.

But to all your perfectionists out there, please consider the following:

You are increasing your likelihood of defeat and burnout.

By spending an over excessive time on anything and everything, worrying over every little thing, you are slowly sapping the fun out of your studying. You are taking much longer to get through the less pleasant phases of Japanese than you should, and may eventually just get fed up with where you are and throw it all in.

Did you forget Japanese is like Tetris?

Things will never be perfect. It is impossible. It’s just not how people progress. Whatever errors, mistakes, and gaps you make will eventually and naturally be filled in over time, whether you stress or always have a big smile on your face. Choose the latter.

You will correct your own mistakes.

Immersion provides you with the extraordinary ability to become your own teacher and correct your own mistakes. Listen and read thousands of hours of Japanese and it is only natural that you will pick up the correct way.

Care about following a good and proper path that matches your strategy guide? YesWorry, obsess, and stress? No. These are 3 forbidden words to you.

Have you struggled with perfectionism? How have you coped? What advice can you give to others that you used to overcome this?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Suffering From Perfectionism While Studying Japanese — 5 Comments

  1. Consider how profoundly imperfect – downright chaotic, in fact – was your learning of your native language, and stop worrying.

  2. My problem with perfectionism wasn’t so much what was the best thing to learn, but more along the lines of you better know absolutely everything forever perfectly. This caused two problems. I added EVERYTHING i found that had anything I didn’t know or completely understand right away. Every single sentence. And I also added every word I found about 4 sometimes more times so I was sure I had a ton of overlap. I also found that I was afraid of failing cards. I NEEDED my overall anki score to be as close to 100% as possible. That lead me to making excuses so I wouldn’t fail cards, but give it a hard and then add the word for the 4th, 5th, etc. time. This lead to lots of boring, lots of stress (especially when I actually did fail a card), and loss of sleep. I eventually said what the hell are you doing? An A+, 100% is a 4.0 GPA. An A is a 4.0 GPA. even a 93%ish is a 4.0 GPA. So if 93%, which is much MUCH easier to attain, is the same as 100%, then why struggle for that 100? So I stopped not failing cards and adding words a million times. I stopped caring about the perfect and started caring about the fun. And I just checked my mature card correct percentage thing, 99.49%. Way better than when I was being a perfectionist and darn close to perfect. Perfection is allowing yourself to be imperfect.

  3. Pingback: Suffering From Perfectionism While Studying Japanese | Nicholas' Nonsense

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