When you come across something that you find isn’t working for you, or you stop believing in, or is bringing you too far out of your comfort zones, your inclination is to drop it (off a mountain into a fiery abyss). This could be media, textbooks, methods, techniques or anything else. There is nothing wrong with dropping what you hate doing, and I often encourage it. Studying shouldn’t cause pain.
But there is one danger that comes with this: not giving what you are trying enough time.
I occasionally get e-mails telling me the following:
“J-J is just too hard. I don’t get it.”
“I can’t understand anything I’m listening to with immersion, so I’ve decided to stick with English subtitles for now.”
“I can’t work with Japanese dictionaries, so I’m going to use an English one as well.”
Everyone will study differently, so I understand where people are coming from when they say things like this. Except… when they say it after only a few days of trying it. J-J and immersion are titan-level game changers in your studies. It’s like running up to a giant ogre and throwing rocks at its feet for a few days, expecting to vanquish it.
There is no way you will get it in a few days, or a few weeks (and sometimes not even in a few months). If you aren’t ready for this, then you are better off not challenging it at all, because it won’t work. You’ll just end up frustrated because you’ll wonder why it doesn’t work for you.
Not everyone uses immersion or J-J. You don’t have to and that’s completely fine. But if you are planning to, you need to mentally prepare yourself. I’ve repeatedly spelled out everywhere that J-J and immersion take months to finally get used to. Most people on Jalup Intermediate don’t start to get into the hang of it till around Stage 3. You will start off understanding 1% of what you hear on immersion. To achieve greatness, this is a path you choose.
I’m not here to condemn people who give up these things easily, because I understand the feeling all too well. I can say “give it more time!” to you endlessly, but you can respond with “that’s easy for you to say.”
Of course it’s easy for me to say with where I’m at now. So I wanted to use this post to get feedback from some people who had not given J-J or immersion enough time, and were ready to throw in the towel (or did temporarily). But when they stuck through it, and actually gave it the time required, they realized how important a decision it was to see it to the end. Some people don’t got through this (and go straight through without ever stopping or self-questioning). But many do.
Two questions for you:
1. How long after starting J-J did you feel like giving it up? When you decided to give it more time, how long did it take you to finally start getting it and glad you continued?
2. How long after starting immersion did you feel like giving it up? When you decided to give it more time, how long did it take you to finally start getting it and glad you continued?