My Language Learning Journey: German (Log: 04)

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“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama.

I needed to take a small break from German in order to recharge before I gave myself a huge burnout from language learning, but also to center myself again. Why do I want to learn a foreign language? I’ve been questioning myself lately. The simplest answer: “because I want to”, and that’s the honest truth of it. A desire. There’s also things like wanting to discover a different culture than my own that can only truly be captured through the (foreign) language. Once I found some closure on that, I found myself slowly getting back into the groove again, which I’m delighted about. It’s something to look forward to with all the personal hardships I’ve been going through lately.

Anyway, I finally got through the glossary section of my grammar book that briefly explains German grammar terminology using English grammar terminology. I think it was great to get a feel of the grammar that I’m going to explore throughout this grammar book, which makes things a little less intimidating for me. As much as I like to try new things, I have to do it slowly else I scare myself off with no hopes of returning rather than if I lose interest, there’s still a chance that I’ll return. I’ve been trying to learn a foreign language since I’ve been in middle school with barely any success, but now that I have the time to dedicate myself to learning what I want to learn, I think I’m advancing much further than I thought I had the dedication for.

My library offers Pimsleur, which I’m on the waiting list for in multiple languages and am excited to go through. Listening is something that I haven’t been practicing much of, so since my library offers Pimsleur for free, I thought why not? It’s a nice basic supplement to the basic materials that I’m already going through to help me hone a basic understanding of the languages I want to learn, especially German. They have up to level four in German, I believe, which is something I can listen to while doing things around the house. I should be able to borrow the German I Pimsleur within a month.

I’m looking to browse through Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct and Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever soon as my library also has both available that I snagged for the time slot allotted (21 days long for each borrowing period. As I’m a slow reader nowadays, I take the whole time and still need more time, which sometimes I can borrow straightaway again or have to wait a while, but either way, it’s alright). I’m starting to also become interested in learning about language itself along with how to study language and how to do so efficiently. I like thinking about language and how I can attain more than my native language. Language is so complex, and there’s a lot of literature that’s starting to come out about it. Therefore, we’ll see where my studying with these books takes me!

Overall, I’m back in the mode to do some learning! I’m excited. Despite feeling intimidated every now and then about the sheer amount of knowledge awaiting me, I press on because it’s my desire to learn. It’s what I can control now which is something that I need. There’s a whole world out there to explore and taking control of my time to do something productive seems like something that will benefit me in the long run. I’d like to think the hard work will eventually be worth it.

Discipline Over Motivation

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“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” – Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

How reliant are you on motivation? Do you practice discipline more than motivation or vice versa?

When it comes to most things, discipline typically is much better than waiting on motivation to strike. You build upon yourself with discipline as you force yourself on even the tougher days to continue your projects and assignments rather than procrastinating and hoping that motivation will happen and you’ll find your mojo to do your thing.

Per dictionary.com, discipline can be defined as an: “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.” Discipline becomes a habit over time. It’s important to make discipline a habit because its primary use is to train yourself in a skill. Discipline is a part of self-improvement. To self-improve, it takes a lot of hard work. That work will include times when there’s nothing more you want to do is quit, but you won’t because you want to be better. Discipline helps push you through, and it’ll be because of you and not some in the moment motivation that suddenly inspired you. No, it’ll be because you put in the time and effort to create hard work through your habit of utilizing discipline to attain true freedom by improving or developing whatever you focused your discipline on.

These past few weeks, I’ve come to realize how much I depend on motivation, especially in regards to how I feel emotionally. When I’m too stressed, I can’t function. I cannot think. I need a break. But one of the hardest things to do is to communicate that I need a break without lashing out. Emotionally, I am now practicing to feel my anger, but never let it overtake me as much as possible. Anger is draining, and it definitely hasn’t added to my life these past few weeks.

To cope emotionally, one of the things I’m working on is to become better disciplined in that even when I’m not feeling entirely good, I’ll still take the time to do my studying. It’s a work in progress, and there’s much improvement to be done, but I’m getting there. As yesterday has showed me, studying helped to take the pressure of stress off for a little while because it was something productive being done at the same time. Despite the stress, I managed to do something else, and that’s a good start compared to how I obsessively would think on the stress and completely overwhelm myself with thoughts alone. Sometimes taking things slowly one at a time is what you need rather than charging straight ahead and doing everything at once.

Remembering God and my faith is important as well. God is great, and continues to be great. He has helped me more than I feel I deserve, so through discipline I seek to become a better servant of the Lord. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Sources: “Discipline”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 4 Jun. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/discipline>.