I broke a rule of mine recently in my approach to learning and it turned out to be a great decision.
I’ve been obsessed with my study of Japanese characters for the last few months and I’ve managed to learn approximately one thousand. It has certainly been hard-work, nevertheless I’m pleased with my progress. However, two weeks ago I stopped studying despite the fact it meant breaking my number one rule – consistency.
Learning the characters had become boring and I reached a point where I dreaded having to study what was once fascinating and exotic. I didn’t want to accept it and I forced myself to continue by studying in small chunks spread out across the day. It worked – for a while, but then even that began to feel like drawing blood from a stone. It had also become difficult to learn new characters. As if it couldn’t get worse, I started forgetting the old ones, too. I tried everything I could and it only seemed logical to stop.
I broke my number one rule and I felt terrible, but sadly studying made me feel worse. It hurts me to write that, but it’s the truth. I wondered if I would ever return. Could this be the end of my journey? I’ve spent countless hours studying, and even more day dreaming about the day I’ll be able to read manga (Japanese comics). However, none of that matters if there isn’t a flame of passion burning, and sadly my flame seemed to have burnt out.
That was how I felt two weeks ago, and I’m happy to say that I no longer feel that way. I’ve started studying again and I’m loving it more than ever.
Why did this happen? I was being an impatient learner and I burnt myself out. Fortunately, two weeks was all it took to make a full recovery, you might not be so lucky. Be sure not to make the same mistakes as me – be smarter.
The lesson here today is simple: familiarity breeds contempt and absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Sometimes, just sometimes, you can solve your problem if you take a break and just stop studying.