Sometimes here on Jalup, and on many other sites, there is an image of having to do everything fast. Learn kanji fast. Learn J-E fast. Learn J-J fast. Get to your first novel fast. Get to your first conversations fast. Speeeeeeeeeeeeeed. First one to get to the flag wins.
However this is the exception, not the norm. And this is the exception for people who enjoy a speedy game.
It’s not just about becoming fluent in as fast a time as possible and who can get there faster. The image is that those who get to fluency fast seem worthy of great praise. They are the chosen ones. They have ultimate power. They can do it, and you are obviously doing something wrong because you can’t do it as good as them. This makes you feel lacking, especially when you spend too much time playing the comparison game.
There are three things you need to remember about speed.
1. Speed creates a danger of burnout
Ultra fast learners often burn out. They drop their pace down significantly, returning to normal. Something in life gets in the way. Or on the rare occasion, playing too fast results in them abandoning the game.
2. Learning Japanese is a lengthy journey, and taking your time can be rewarding
When your Japanese journey is at a normal pace, fluency often feels like it eventually just comes to you. Over the years, you continue steady, doing what you love, not rushing, and soaking in everything. Before you even realize it, you are fluent. This doesn’t mean you can study for a few hours a week and expect this, but for regular paced learners, you get there.
3. Speed is not constant
Whatever speed you are going at now is likely to change, based on your circumstances, your motivation, and level. If you are taking it easy at the moment, there may become a point where you will want to put on the jet boosters. If you are going so fast everything seems like a blur, there may come a time when you’ll slow down to take things in more leisurely.
So who cares if it takes 2 years, 4 years or 7 years to become fluent. You can enjoy the journey way before you reach that fluency. I’ve met successful people on both end of the speed spectrum. Sure, doing what takes people 5 years in 2 years is admirable and awesome. But it isn’t necessary (or possible for some people), unless you want it.
Choose your speed setting
Fast or slow, make sure that the speed setting is based on your real preference. Don’t play the game on a setting that isn’t your game-play style. Otherwise you might ruin a great game.
What’s your current speed setting? Slow, normal, fast, or turbo?