Language Learning Motivation: Avoiding Pain

I just realized another very interesting thing. I mean, a well known technique for motivating yourself to continue is to realize that if you quit, there is a good chance you will regret it at some point. However, that motivation is just as distant as the motivation to continue. Just like telling yourself, “in 6 months time I will be glad I stuck with it” is often not enough, saying, “If I quit, in 6 months time i will regret it cause I’ll know where I could have been” is also not motivating enough on it’s own.

However, Once you’ve actually experienced that regret, you’ll realize it’s not like, in 6 months you’ll suddenly feel like, “O snap if only I stuck with it”. At least that’s not the case for me. It’s actually an on going thing, if I’m not actively learning, especially after how much time I put in, every day I am seeing Chinese or bumping into situations where I would love to even be able to say “I am learning Chinese right now, this is what I learned today, ect”. Just that feeling of knowing you are progressing, that you are in it, that you have that affiliation with it. This is a reason to maintain it daily.

Daily is what you need, and it doesn’t have to be a lot. Just something. I give it around 20 – 30 min a day depending on how my reviews(using anki) and new hanzi come to me.

SO, well I guess it’s kind of moving towards pleasure as much as it is moving away from pain. Maybe these two are part of the same spectrum. I just realize this type of motivation is really important in tasks that you know you will have to do every day, especially before they have become habit. Part of the motivation does come from failure from doing too much and quitting. I know this, so if someoen is just starting out and has the urge to do too much, I kind of feel like saying go for it. It will be more meaningful when you finally internalize how these things need to be done, and if you still have a flicker of passion left after quitting many times, you’ll know how much it really means to you.

For me, I can feel the difference when I do just 10 new hanzi each morning and the rest of the day I don’t need to think about learning any more but I have the constant assurance that I am getting there and that the whole time I am having more and more to show for it. Night and day compared to quitting and having less and less to show for all the effort, every day.

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Language Learning Observations: Walking, Hanzi Order, Slowing Down

The first observation is one that I’ve talked about before I’m sure but it’s important enough that I need to mention it again. Doing cardio like brisk walking for an hour really helps to increase a persons level of satisfaction with not only life in general, but with their work environment. What I mean by this is that after a nice walk, sitting down to work is way less taxing on the emotions and motivation. The serotonin (and maybe dopamine) is just there and so things don’t feel as draining.

I still don’t recommend doing more than 10 Hanzi per day, but just that this is way more doable after a nice walk. Also add music for even more of a boost in feel good chemicals and even a boost in general sense of purpose. I use video game/anime music that is meaningful to me for this. Long soundtracks that take more than one session to get through.

Next observation is about how the order of the hanzi allows for better mnemonics. All I will do here is introduce the idea though. I use an anki deck called taiwan grades 1 – 8 which introduces over 3000 hanzi. I sorted them I think by “hanzi” or by “question” in the browse thing. I’ll describe what the order results in and then you should be able to figure out what to sort by to get that result. Well it’s sorted I guess by pinyin so that it starts with a, then ba, then bian, ect. In sorting this way you get to see how some hanzi use the same elements. Not radicals, but larger 2 and three radical elements. If you just look through all the bians for example you will see some large elements that keep showing up. What this allows for is for you to learn those elements and use them in your stories and they get more review cause they are in more than one character in the same session.

Next observation is about how some hanzi already make sence. This is for people who are using mnemonics, but not the RTH by Hesig. If you go to zhongwen.com it shows etymology of characters and for the most part those make sense. However, you don’t even need this if you are the type that like guessing games and figuring out things based on context. I mean, and easy example would be if you see “tree” and “white”, then u learn the answer is “cedar” u can rationalize that it’s cause cedar trees leaves have a whitish tint to them, or something. A harder example is the character for paralises has “feild” with a line through it, and a cross on it’s side below. Then you see that the character for slave girl has that same complex element and “woman” beside it. So you can rationalizd that the complex character means being unable to move or some reason, and you can name it somehow.

The last observation I’ll make is that I found I was kind of rushing through the sessios for the first few days but I found my stress was building the more I tried to rush. So I just decieded to purposely slow down, write the characters more neatly(I don’t use stroke order yet) and try to enjoy the experience with the music I had on. It’s only around a 30min thing(could be shorted by I review and write out each character as I go) I felt better as soon a I decided to do this.

Avoiding burnout Languages/Resistance Training, Forming Habits by killing 2 birds

I’ve discussed before that in both language learnign and resistance training and I guess most forms of work and even in forms of play(ex video games), there is a maximum that if exceeded leads to a gradual loss of motivation.

So for resistance training I know many of the variables well enough that I can stay
consistent and not burn out.

The positive variables like music, people, sex drive, more reasons for workingout, ect, improve my motivation.

Lack of sleep, negative people in the gym, workig out alone, ect decreas motivaton.

However maybe more importantly is the factors of time, intensity, frequency and volume.
If any of these is too high then burn out will happen.

For Language learning it’s a bit different however a very important thing I’ve noticed is that I need to keep my environment as Chinese as possible so I keep having a reason to be learning what I’m learning. It helps me remember the goal.

Beyond that it seems time and intensity and freuqency and volume are important too.

So far I’ve have only realy done the cramming attempts that fail but I think I might be ready to try somthing more slow. It seems maybe I needed to try cramming and experience the failures and how much more I would have learned if I went slow, and how I still want to learn. Now with this experience, I am conditioned to not want to burn out because I have internalized that it is less effective for me.

What would probably be more effective is if I just did 10 Hanzi a day, for a year, and slowly start adding sentences in as I get used to it.

So I have been wondering what it is exactly that has me burning out so much. It could be as I stated before, if I try to spend so much time on learning one thing I am automatically obsessing which is automatically a form of stress because I want something badly but can’t get it until the alotted time is passed and that time is long. The more I obsess the more I feel stress and this leads to burn out.

Also I feel that doing a small number is easier for the brain to digest for me. It s way easy to remember just ten, than to remember 25 or 50. It just is. So It’s like less work over all to just do ten, so it’s more efficient.

It might end up being that I just keep trying stuff and quitting and eventually enough of the learning sticks that I get somewhere but iunno. My plan is to go slow and hope I can make it a habit and therefore keep at it.

I find it’s easiest to make habits for myself if they require less start up time, less time to get into a flow I guess.

I don’t mind doing dishes cause I only do 5min worth.
Breakfast, 5 min
Make a youtube video 5 min
blogging takes more time but I’m just recording my thoughts for myself so it’s not really work. Same with youtube kinda.

It seems the best way to get a habit going is to fit it somewhere in my life somewhere that makes it really efficient to be productive.

I started making youtube videos while making breakfast. I mean I do these two things at the same time. Efficient, therefore motivating.
I think people also like doing SRS on the bus for the same reason. Or listen to pod casts while cleaning the house. It’s efficient.
I think this is why I like working and workig out at school. I am around people which is important to me, and then I’m also doing work I need to do. Efficient.

I guess killing two birds with one stone is kind of like a way to increase dopamine, the reward for doing something. So it makes it way more motivating to do a two bird one stone thing. Maybe it’s cause the brain knows there is a more efficient way ou there that it finds it hard to do something that it knows is not that way.

Inferior Si reaction to lack of inspiration

This first half is my inferior Si talking through my Ne:

“There should be something I can do that is more valuable to me than money,
and sex and other things that should be a given(family, doing good, ect).
Music is one, but that feels like only part of something.
One way to look at it is wonder and awe.
Like, what makes me feel alive?
To be alive is to be conciouse and the highest form of
consiousness for me seems to be in a state of awe, curiosity, ect.
Even admiration maybe, iunno.
I mean there are lot’s of things that are important to me and that I value.
I mean, even problem solving ability is something I value. I just feel like it
is already a give in that you solve problems to reach some greater state of being.

Much like I am doing now.

So I’m thinking maybe I could just assume I will always be solving problems
as long as I’m always trying to improve.

Improve in what areas though I wonder.

I think one good area would be in creating experiences.

I wonder if I want to create real live experiences for myself
or if I want to focus on maybe something like story writing. ”

Some of that might have value, but not in the tired state I was hoping to use it in.
Now comes the realization:

maybe my tiredness is pushing me into one of those Si spirals

Well I just realized once again, that adventures(in real life)
are not planned. They just happen. So if there is nothing I urgently
want to venture out to do. I guess I could focus on creating some beautiful
things. Fencing could be good to. Also if I focused on finding more
interesting people to surround myself with, maybe the adventures will just
come out of this.

So I can focus on creating my own awe, and or finding it in other people.

hmmm, yup I feel that now the disatisfaction and thinking I need to
have a more defined focus is based on inferior Si wanting too much
stability.

My life will be an adventure as long as I focus on doing things as I find
interest in them. Maybe no need to push myself. As long as I remain healthy
I’ll be happy to go with the flow a bit more and just blog and vlog about
the adventures as they unfold.

Also could be that I’m trying to do a bunch of stuff just to say I do those
things when really I just want to do music… and the other things I already
do.

When I’m in a more positive mood, I don’t do as much trying to be something.

I just get inspiration to do things cause they seem like cool ideas.
Then I just do them.

WIth lack of sleep, I don’t get those inspirations. So maybe Si is realizing
I have no inspired direction where I should have a constant sort of stream of
inspiration. So it says, wait, you don’t have any goals, any interests?
What about your future? Better thing about that man. No time for sleep,
you don’t have a future…

So Si starts telling my Ne to search fot things I might be able to be inpired
by when the truth is the inspiration and many of the ideas come from inside
and there is no need to force them. It’s just that I’m tired.

I was thinking, I wonder if maybe humans are striving for a point where they
can just relax. What would happen in that case. I realized when I’m most
relax that is when the best ideas come (unless my mind is just blank which
takes effort mostly).

So as well as letting people find me, I think I need to just let inspiration
find me more. I assume that is how I recently got back into music, iunno.

So I will stop trying to become something, or find a goal for material for
youtube, and just let the inspiration and therefore adventure, come to
me in whatever form it does.

Of course if my inspiration tells me to search for something fun to do, that’s
different that my inferior Si telling me to do it.

I feel like this Si spiral is only made possible by modern technology especially internet ect. Without that distract and information at my finger tips I feel I’d be more ok with just going to bed and letting it go until the next day. Well anyways…bed time!

Thoughts on Motivation and Direction in making youtube videos

All my life, most of my goals have been things I wanted to become,
not things I wanted to produce. I wanted to be the value, not create
some kind of static value. I mean I would love to share all the ideas
and thoughts I have, but those things are not my goal and so focusing
on them would just be kind of like a distraction.

I feel like as I become what I think I should be, I will attract
the audience I’m supposed to, and they can score through all the
information I’ve wrote on the thoughts that led me there.

I like that better than trying to turn my process into the value,
when it’s not really my aim.

Also an important rule to keep in mind is not to hold onto any one
thing like it’s the only right answer. Not to be so attached to any
song you produce like you wont ever make something that over shadows it.

I mean, I would love it if everything I learned while reachin my goals,
could be shared with everyone else. However, sharing value with everyone
else simply has not been my goal. My goal has been to become something
valuable. Iunno, it’s almost like a trade off. I mean I could spend time
setting myself up as a go to guy for something by creating informational
products. Or I could simply achieve the dreams I want, and then become
popular through doing so. Kind of like the old fashion way I guess.

Joust. Kung Fu Masters showing their skills.

If I become what I think I and other ought to become, through hard work,
people will be asking how I got there.

I have these notes that I write because they help me get there. So maybe
they will help others as well. However, there will be other ways of getting
where I get so it’s not like there isn’t that abundance. The most important
thing I think, is that people know that something is possible, then if they
want it badly enough they will find out how to get it.

So I guess my message is about what is possible.
By message I mean say if we are all neurons part of some larger universal
consiousness, then what will my message or messages be. One of them I think
should be abundance and what is possible.

I feel like some people start youtubing for different reasons. Some for
information sharing as the end goal. For me I think the end goal is
becoming what I want, with the information being a side effect that is
definitly important but I can’t let it distract me from my origional
aim.

As I become more who I want to be, I assume people will approach me
to know more about who I am, read my blog more, ask more questions, ect.

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