Sometimes I am as optimistic as a Russian novel set in gulags of Siberia. However, I am finding that optimism is not necessarily something that just magically happens but something you can develop as a habit. I don’t know if this habit will transform your life or anything, but it has slowly transformed how I approach learning and writing. (I owe a lot to AJATT.com and its constant and various ways it encourages persistence and fun.)
In previous articles, I’ve discussed the advantages of finding small moments of time and using them to do CRACK (Crevice Reading Acquiring Cool Knowledge). There’s more to life than crack. There’s honey in the crack–discovery, laughs, affirmation.
Breaking News! As I Am Writing This Post (as always during my “crack time”), my iPhone now finally has my music. It took some hand-holding from India and Tennessee but I was able to get my “ancient” six-year old computer to update iTunes. I now not only have my music but also my word history on Midori flashcards. Yes, I guess I a am a geek, but a technically “developing” geek. 🙂
Become like a hungry bear. Sniff out the honey in the crack and turn over logs to get to it:
- have a place, friend, professional where you can unload and discharge feelings. I don’t believe in being an optimism robot. Are there places and people that won’t be afraid of your feelings and let you whine, cry, laugh? Notebooks can be a place where you can do that but keep it separate from your samurai notebook.
- keep hopes, projects, inspirations, inspirational quotes, and useful ideas in your samurai notebook and review regularly–in a nice spot with your favorite beverage and your favorite tunes. Looking at your samurai notebook on the run works too. While everyone else is pissed off and wondering when the train is going to come, you are looking at honey.
- wake up earlier and do something fun. Study the skill you want to attain. The day often goes better for me because I’ve written a silly post or captured an interesting thought from silly Japanese self-help books.
- Make your last thoughts or reading at the end of the day positive ones. Even if you had a crappy day, scan the bright or potentially bright moments.
- Practice turning thoughts around. I used to listen to Japanese podcasts and just get depressed about what I didn’t know. Now I know a little bit more and my mental habit is a little different. When I hear a stream of Japanese that I don’t know, I just listen for small phrases that I could repeat even briefly and just treasure the honey in the voice or the phrase.
These days, I am watching a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about a premium sushi chef in Tokyo. (I watch it in 5 to 10 minute gaps before I go to work.) I understand about 30% of the dialogue. (I have turned off the subtitles.) I could just be frustrated by my lack of language but as I am listening, I am also fascinated by the whole process and beauty of the restaurant, Tsukiji Fish Market et cetera. I’m finding honey in the crack.
What? You don’t study Japanese? Well, maybe you have a job that you don’t particularly like. However, even there you can find the honey in the crack. What aspects of the job can you enjoy and learn from? Study Hacks says you should treat your job like a seminar. What can you learn and treasure? You can’t bear your job? Become a bear. Find the honey in the crack, learn from where you are and move on. More crack! More honey! Make it! Find it!
(note: overuse of honey may lead to overuse of the exclamation mark in blog writing!!!!)