Ever find yourself on a binge of looking at Japanese language blogs and videos which go on endlessly about studying Japanese? If yes, you are far from alone. Unfortunately, reading about studying Japanese can be more enjoyable than actually studying Japanese, and this is a big problem.
If you are reading/watching someone talk about Japanese, they are probably passionate about it. Their excitement will show through their work. This gets you pumped up about studying Japanese and makes you feel good. I’ve talked about the downside of reading too much overly positive material, since it can have the opposite effect of hitting you hard when you are at a low. But even regular material can get you addicted.
Sounds harmless. Light the Japanese fire under you. Then study.
However, you continue to read more and more about what you are excited to do. Then don’t study. You’re too tired from all of this reading, so you tell yourself that you are all ready to go for tomorrow. When you wake up tomorrow, you lost that motivating feeling, and need more energy. You read more about studying Japanese to get that feeling back.
A long time ago I compared motivation to power ups, and that certain rules should be followed like not overusing them, and not waiting to act. Too many motivation power ups leads to reading about Japanese rather than in Japanese.
The danger is real.
The addiction is real.
This isn’t just about beginners who haven’t yet fully started diving into the language. It’s easy for anyone of any level at any time to slip into pseudo study habits.
When you’re tired, you don’t have the energy to study Japanese. But you do have the energy to read about it. Sometimes it gets you to actually study. Sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends on how quickly you begin after you become motivated. This is why it’s a bad idea to read motivational sites late at night. You are unlikely to actually do anything after it.
The result is a long spiral of reading more and more about studying Japanese, and then feeling guilty that you aren’t actually studying it. In order to overcome that guilt that is draining your energy, you read more to try to get yourself to study.
I’ve been there. It feels good to read uplifting information and stories about your dream. Studying Japanese is a long, tough journey and we could all use some good feeling about Japanese.
Just be careful. If you find yourself getting too absorbed in motivational articles, you need to adjust your studying. Your study time is what is important. Motivation is just there as a timely assistant. Remember that, and you can avoid developing this bad habit.
Japanese is what is truly fun and addicting. It may not feel that way yet, but give it the time it deserves and you’ll be glad you didn’t waste an hour a day just reading about it.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.