intensity and optimism

In the last two weeks I’ve toned back my intensity a bit, but I’ve really seen that it’s hindered my progress. Half as intense does not mean you accomplish half as much. It’s worse.

I went from 20+ hours of tv per week down to about 8, but i found that it was harder to watch. Each episode seemed harder to understand than before, and i could only focus on all the words i didn’t know. When i was watching more, and listening to audiobooks more, i could really “get into the groove” and everything seemed easier as i got lost in it.

Once my intensity fell, and then my ability to easily listen fell with it, then i became too focused on the unknown words. This had a detrimental effect on my self-esteem and my mental outlook. I began to think that i wasn’t making any progress at all, and that german would be hard forever. The solution to this is clearly to ramp back up. I’m making new goals based on items instead of raw numbers. I just finished watching season 6 of DS9, and i want to finish season 7 this week. I watched 4 hours yesterday and it started to feel better again.

The interesting part of this for me, is thinking about how this effect scales up as i intensify. If i watch twice as much again, can i learn 3x as much? I’ll see if i can find out.

Lessons for this week: Keep going, add more native content. Fill up your time with immersion materials. Part-time study just means you’re going to drag it out forever. Go big, or go home. Doing more makes it easier to do more. Doing less makes it easier to do less.

4 Responses to intensity and optimism

  1. Keith says:

    Hmmm. Interesting. Though, it is harder to do something when you are less used to doing it. At one point, I was listening to Assimil Chinese lessons everyday. Then my schedule changed and I couldn’t keep doing it the same, so I stopped for a month or so, and when I tried to start it up again I just couldn’t do what I was doing before. My mind just wasn’t in it.

  2. Sounds like you overthink things way too much. If you have to will yourself to “go big”, then maybe you should approach language-learning in a way that you’d enjoy more. And as far as quantifying the rate of learning, you may be better off just immersing yourself in the process and not the goal or the numbers.

  3. doviende says:

    I have a pattern where i usually only stick with one topic for 6 weeks or so, before i find something new and shiny and switch to that. So i think it takes me a bit more effort than normal to stick with something for several months.

    I also have very high goals for german. Ya, i could do only a couple hours per week and then it’d take several years to learn the language. But i want to learn it fast, so i’m trying to spend several hours per day on it. This means i have to cut a lot of other things out of my life in order to get enough time to do several hours of german every day.

    So ya, it takes effort. The numbers and the goals really seem to be working for me more than my strategies in the past. Plus, like i said in the main post above, i think i get more benefit from 4 hours in one day than i do from 1 hour each day for 4 days.

  4. rcy says:

    get back in there

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