Being around positive people can make a major difference on whether you learn Japanese or don’t. The people you study with, the people you ask questions to, and the people who write about studying Japanese. These all go into your Japanese learning environment. While everything may begin bright and welcoming, it can turn dark very quickly…
Everyone starts off extremely excited to study Japanese. It’s not like one tired day you mildly mutter to yourself, “hmm, I guess I should start studying Japanese…” You are filled with unending energy and are ready to shout out to the world “here I am! I’m studying Japanese, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to the golden land of fluency!”
That initial enthusiasm naturally fades a bit, as to be expected, and your rocky mountain climb begins. You encounter hurdles, gain your battle scars, and fight valiantly forward. Because you encounter a lot of difficult things, and struggle, it can be easy to start complaining and feeling a bit negative.
Why can’t I do this! Why is this so hard! What the hell!?
This is also normal. No one goes through the difficult Japanese worlds unscathed. Some people tend to bounce back from these surges of negativity quickly. Other positive learners, and a positive community can help pull you out of that darkness.
However, it’s when you reach a bit of that darkness, and instead of having someone pull you out, someone jumps over you and drags you further down. Deeper, and deeper. Darkness combines with further darkness. Negativity starts to brew, and expand in all different directions.
Temptation to negativity
Sounds like it would just be easy to avoid. No one wants negativity after all? However it is tempting. When you are down, it is easy to complain. It is easy to get angry. It is easy to get frustrated. It feels good to get that all out with other people. Especially other people who know what you are going through. Misery loves company, and you are creating a party of darkened Japanese learners.
When negativity gets together it starts increasing rapidly and going into areas that you weren’t even negative about in the beginning.
Negativity will start off attacking methods and tools. Then native materials. Then Japanese people. Then Japan. It continues to branch out. Once you get stuck in the negativity abyss, it is hard to get pulled out, even by positive learners. You are so used to the negativity and have become friends with the other negative learners. This is your new world. You can’t escape. And if you aren’t careful, you may even turn into an evil Japanese learner.
Don’t let yourself slide too far
The solution to prevent this is to make sure you keep track of negativity, and don’t let it go too far. Everyone will have negative thoughts about learning Japanese. Everyone will complain at some point. But it will all come down to what you do with those thoughts, and who is around you when you have them. Choose your allies wisely. You will share your fate with them, and your party determines your success. Once you go down the wrong path, it is hard to make it back to the light.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.