I’ve been working on learning Japanese again… Actually, I never stopped. But I did kind of lose my way. I forgot why I was doing it. I got distracted by competition with other learners. I kept it up because I had a tracker with an impressive streak of days studying. I kept doing it because I didn’t want to say I stopped. But I forgot the point was learning Japanese.
It’s not what you’re doing, it’s why you’re doing it
When you forget why you’re doing something, it’s easy to get lost. In my case, I got stuck doing the same wrote exercises again and again. With a friend of mine, he got so wrapped up in the money and perks of being a restaurant manager that he left college. Twenty years later, the restaurant game isn’t fun anymore and he could really use that degree. But he doesn’t have it….
We have reasons for everything we do. It’s a good idea to examine them from time to time. If our reasons are good and what we’re doing has value, it’s a good idea to keep those reasons out in front of us. If we don’t, it’s easy to lose track of them.
When we lose track of our reasons, it becomes easier to be distracted. It becomes easier to chase those transient shiny things that don’t really get us anywhere. It gets harder to do the counter-intuitive things that get us closer to our goal.
Sometimes the work isn’t glorious. Nobody enjoys taking out the trash. But, if we don’t, we end up living in the trash, letting it get in the way and making it harder to do what we really want to. It’s understanding our purpose, the why of what we do, that gets us through the hard parts. It also tells us when it’s time to quit.
The law of diminishing returns…
Sometimes we get an immediate payoff. Sometimes the value of what we’re doing grows. But then, eventually, the payoff lessens or even stops. It may be we’ve ‘mined out’ the benefits we were getting. Maybe we ‘grew out of it’ and don’t value what we were getting anymore. Either way, if the amount of reward per amount of work is declining, we need to look and decide if it’s really worth it to keep going.
Sometimes it will be. The worth of souls is great in the sight of The Lord. So, working to help a loved one through puberty/addiction/‘life stuff’ probably has a payoff in the long run, even though you’re not seeing it right now.
Sometimes it isn’t worth it. If you’re working 20 hours a day and not making ends meet, why are you doing it? It might be time to look for something better.
The point is, we need to match our actions to our purposes. For me, that means putting more effort into learning Japanese and less concern on what people think about my learning Japanese.
It also means I do some deep thinking about the blog. Not about putting it away, but about what to do to make it better. Changes are coming, dear reader. I’ll tell you about them soon. See you next post.