“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”

Finn and Jake

I love Adventure Time. It’s fun and tackles some pretty cool concepts for a kids cartoon. The quote in the image above, for example, is an idea that I see in a lot of places, and one that is true and helpful to bear in mind when starting something new / throughout the learning process.

You will suck initially, but that is not a reason or excuse to not start learning

It’s a common theme on language learning blogs I’ve looked at. Khatzumoto at AJATT advocates practice, however small, over deliberating about whether or not to practice. Some of his tweets convey it well:

(If you’re on twitter I recommend following him! (And maybe following me?))

And in his ‘Showing Up‘ post, he gives the following advice:

Don’t EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER judge yourself on your first try

You will suck on your first try. It’s an inevitable part of the learning process. It’s easy to compare yourself to people who are awesome at the thing you’re wanting to learn and getting disheartened because you’re not that good, without considering the years of effort and practice it took them to get to that stage.

The argument that some people are prodigious, whether it’s true or not (I’m undecided) is irrelevant here: 99% of people aren’t, and need to put in effort and practice. They all started from scratch, and sucked, too.

So, if you haven’t got all the resources you think you need yet, practice anyway. If you don’t feel fully ready, practice anyway. You can gather resources and change approach on the way, but the momentum is important; if you don’t start now you risk never starting.

I’m writing this blog daily at the moment, and I’m fully aware that the tone isn’t perfect at the moment. Some of the topics might not be particularly interesting, the posts might not flow particularly well, it might suck. But at the same time I don’t care too much: improvement is probably inevitable.

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    • Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by! How long have you been learning Japanese for? It’s been way too long since I last practiced – need to take the advice in this post more seriously!

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