A while back, on Stories of a Second Attempt Learner, we had a writer who discussed her less than optimal study situation. She considers her learning adventure on a difficulty setting of hard, stopped comparing herself to other learners, and is not allowing any life situation to get in her way. I love this concept.
It’s really easy to become fluent when life is perfect. When you have time, money, confidence and motivation. When the tools you choose to study with work perfectly. You don’t doubt yourself, and you set a continuous schedule that you follow through with every day. You have no interruptions, worries or problems intruding in on your thoughts, and every day is a perfect Japanese day.
Does this sound like you?
Of course not. If everyone had this set up, there would be no study failures. The fluent population would sky rocket. And you’d be in eternal kick-ass mode. Creating the perfect study conditions is not what you should be after. It’s not possible. Creating the best conditions you have in your current circumstances is what you have to do deal with.
Everyone has things that get in the way of your goals in life. Time, money, illness, family, stress, etc. You have two options, and depending on your situation, often only one is possible.
- Change your circumstances
- Figure out how to be successful in your circumstances.
Chasing after perfect study circumstances is silly. Because balancing Japanese with your specific life, and what goes on in that life, is your quest task.
If you have a family of 4, you are going to have to find time in a different way than a college student. Struggling at your job to make rent? You aren’t going to be able to study in the same way as someone who is enjoying a one-year stay in Japan. Have a broken arm, a broken leg, a broken heart, or a broken mind? You will be studying differently as well.
For every situation you might have, there is a way of fighting it.
To quote from a book I reviewed recently (この世でいちばん大事な 「カネ 」の話):
「最下位 」の人間には 、 「最下位 」の戦い方ってもんがあるんだよ 。
“Even for people that hit rock bottom in life, there is a rock-bottom way of fighting your way to success.”
So assess yourself. Assess your life. No matter what, you can win. But you have to change your tactics to your individual world.