What Victory Percentage Would You Play For?

Not everyone who studies Japanese will make it to fluency. Many won’t make it to advanced, or even intermediate. It’s just a fact of life you have to accept when going into the game. No matter how bad you wanted it, how loud you shouted “I’m going to become fluent no matter what” to the world, there is a chance you won’t make it (much lower chance if you are visiting this site).

What Victory Percentage Would You Play For

There is no way to really gauge what percent of people succeed, though I’m sure the number wouldn’t be very motivational. I’m less interested in that and more interested in hearing what percentage of victory is worth it to you to try to study Japanese in the first place. This shows how bad you want Japanese despite the odds.

So I ask you:

If there was an accurate number, what is the lowest success percentage rate that you would attempt to study Japanese? In other words, would you start studying if you knew you only had a 75% chance of succeeding? Or 50%? Or 25%? How low would you go?

And if you knew what your chance of survival was, would it affect you at all?



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Adam

Adam

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

Comments

What Victory Percentage Would You Play For? — 28 Comments

  1. I’m not sure that number would mean anything to me even if I did know it.

    IMO your chance of success is 100% in your control. Even if only 50% or 10% or even 1% of people who try actually make it, all that matters is your willingness to continue. It’s not like it’s a race you can lose. As long as you don’t give up, you will eventually be one of the people who succeeds =)

    • You make a good and positive point. Which is why the people that want it bad enough, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, have a 100% rate.

  2. Y’know, this is one of those things I don’t usually think about, because much like (what I’m remembering) your post about your journey, I’m in the midst of the “can’t stop won’t stop, can’t slow me down” attitude at the moment. The challenge is definitely a tough one.

    I’d go as low as 1%. =]

    • Haha sorry for making you stop to ponder it in the middle of your full-throttle journey. This post stemmed from someone asking me “what are the chances of me becoming fluent?” So it made me ponder the question myself and what number would discourage/encourage, or if a number would be relevant at all.

  3. I believe in this time and age the only thing holding you back from learning Japanese is motivation. There are a plethora of resource, a lot of resources are free and if you are hard on cash you can ******* your sources if you’re into that. Obviously, there are other sources than JALUP to be fluent, but I love the JALUP system so I chose to stick with that.

    • Motivation can be tough for some people, but I agree that if you can control motivation, you control your own fate.

  4. 成功率なんてどうってこともない。寧ろ低ければ低いほど、最後まで貫く衝動に駆られる。

    • Or my recent favorite quote:

      「越えるピンチが大きいほど、後のご飯が美味しいじゃん」

      Massive bonus points to anyone who knows what this is from without Google.

  5. I think of it in terms of investment vs returns. If I learn another 1000 words, I can understand and enjoy Japanese media just a little more. For me, that’s worthwhile whether or not I ever make it to fluency. Fluency is certainly my goal, but it’s a distant and possibly unobtainable goal. In the meantime I savor the small victories and enjoy the journey.

  6. Even if it was 1% I wouldn’t be too concerned. Maybe millions of people give Japanese a shot and then realize they weren’t that committed to it. What’s more important than how many people start is that you surround yourself with other motivated people. (On that note … RIP JALUP Forums … I’d rather talk to 10 motivated people than the endless spam of that other forum …)

    I also feel like victory can come very fast. I moved to Japan not knowing Japanese and was really frustrated after 6 months when I still couldn’t talk with anyone. I spent the summer break talking with random strangers in small bars and eventually worked my way up to a few minutes of conversation. At that point, probably level 10 or less in JALUP terms, I had already achieved victory and the 10 years that followed has just been large amounts of icing on my victory cake.

    • Mike appears again after several months! You need to comment more often、命令です (笑)

      And I fully agree. Victory isn’t necessary fluency, it’s reaching the point that the language becomes so fun, and so much a part of you that not continuing it just would never cross you as an option.

      • Hah, I will try! I have been letting my in-about ratio get a bit off so I was trying to correct that a bit. I recently make an epic amount of new Japanese friends and realized I need to improve my adult vocabulary a bit. Being around a bunch of people who have no clue, nor any interest, in dumbing down their conversations has been an eye-opener.

        Hulu and Netflix have really bumped up my Japanese movie watching so I’ll try and post a bit more in the monthly threads.

        Ref: In/About Ratio: http://japaneselevelup.com/beware-of-japanese-study-in-disguise-the-in-about-ratio/

  7. From I read the title and some way into the article I actually believed that Victory Percentage meant how much victory as in fluency was 100% victory, so if you only reached 50% of the way to fluency you would have gotten 50% victory, then I realized what it was actually about (笑)

    For the definition of victory percentage in this article I’d say 0% too. Should I for some reason never be able to study Japanese again I wouldn’t regret starting or any of the time I spent getting to where I am now. I’m far from fluency, far from 100% victory. But I have had countless small victories on my way already and that is what keeps me going.

    I love Mike’s point of view that a few minutes conversation was his victory and anything else is just icing on the cake!

    • Sorry if the wording was confusing. Yeah, victory does not equal fluency. Luckily victory comes in a lot of different shapes and forms, as Mike’s example shows.

      • No need to apologize since I can’t think of a way you could have made it clearer anyway. I just found it interesting that my first thought was something rather different from what you actually meant and wanted to share that thought with fellow Jalup’ers. I love these kind of articles where you get me thinking about my perspective on things :)

  8. I don’t know. The more people I meet that will likely not be fluent (based on their motivation) the more I feel a reason to be different and be fluent. Even though I want everyone to know Japanese, at the same time the less people that know it the more special I am. I’m going to say .1% because (though I could be totally wrong) I think that is roughly what it is like (1 in 1,000 people). Of course that guess includes people who don’t get past level 1. Perhaps one way of looking at it is: Based on your current level, how likely is it that you will be fluent. Because your odds are WAY better if you’re level 30 or something.
    Honestly, had I know the odds at the beginning, I probably wouldn’t have tried.

    • Excellent point about your progress showing your chance of victory, as I think most people quit within the first few months, and especially once they reach intermediate (http://japaneselevelup.com/enjoy-being-a-beginner/).

      I think the people that enjoy the difficult image and that many people don’t make it, want to do what others haven’t, and usually propel their way to success.

  9. I just know I can do it, I studied english and now I consider myself to have native understanding, I studied Italian and passed the licenza media in one year, and now after seeing all my progress with japanese and the native media I can now (barely) understand I just know from experience that I am on the right path, and I won’t stop until achieving fluency.

  10. As a famous guy said, never tall me the odds.
    On a more serious note, I only recently started studying. I had been telling myself for years that I wanted to learn since there were so many things I couldn’t enjoy not knowing the language but knew how difficult the language was.
    I finally got over procrastinating just before Christmas and decided to go ahead. I picked up a few workbooks and such but was able to really jump in after discovering this. Great ideas, tools and resources that help tremendously.
    So if anyone was ever to tell me I had less than %1 of a chance, myself stubborn self would learn just to spite them.

    • Congrats on finally embarking on the journey! Time to go full throttle forward.

      Stubborn learners, that do what other people tell them they can’t, win often.

  11. I’ve learned not to dwell on where I will “end up.” Studying Japanese is a habit I’m establishing that is an end in itself. I’d love fluency, but I don’t need it. I do need to keep learning. At 50, it’s essential to maintaining my cognitive abilities. Japanese is my favorite brain exercise! I don’t see myself giving it up.

    • Great to hear that. Those that enjoy the process usually go far (even if they don’t intend to get to some end).

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