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Get in a Learning State of Mind

The time that you can wake up to what you can do is now.  As you follow your dreams and learn what you’ve always wanted to learn you need persistence.  You also need to bob and weave.  You can change your materials and your learning approaches like a time shifting ninja.

I’ve been taking photographs of pages from books that I find inspirational or interesting. This is from Kenichiro Mogi’s Japanese book, “Only Do Good Things With Your Brain.” This phrase here means that developing happiness helps your brain grow. Happiness, learning, happiness. A non-vicious cycle.

However,   I’ve also come to realize lately is that you can also change your state of mind.  Yes, you can change your materials and your methods and you should always be awake to that.   But you can also change your mind, and that can make a world of difference.  Before I lose the thread of what I want to say in a jet-lag haze (just got back from Japan two days ago), here are some quick tips to help get you get in a learning state of mind:

  • Check your breathing and your posture.   Open up.  Breathe deep.
  • Smile towards towards your work and tell yourself, “I am going to look for what is fun in this.”
  • Be gentle with yourself.  Do you point and laugh at children that are learning how to walk?
  • On the other hand, don”t try to bliss out.   You don’t have to motivate yourself to do what is odious to you.  Put that Napalm for Idiots book in the trash.  You don”t have to know every fact or keep every flashcard.  Choice is a loving act.

The other day, I was looking at my Samurai notebook and really feeling resistant about looking at it.  I had been resisting looking at it for days.   Part of the reason I was feeling this resistance was because I had filled my journal with “obligatory” notes from online courses from my job, etc.  I realized this recently smiled, took  relaxed breath and a looked at one of the positive goals in my Samurai notebook and turned a chore into a joy and challenge.  I also made a decision to quickly skip over things that didn’t interest me at the moment.  My samurai reviews have been going better ever since.

“Don’t focus on being negative.  It won’t work anyway.”

In one of Khatzumoto’s emails as part of my Silverspoon (a Japanese immersion service) experience he writes something like, “don’t focus on being so negative.  It won’t work anyway.”  (Khatzumoto sends out emails containing both an inspirational quote—sometimes brutal, sometimes sublime, sometimes cheesy. )  In the daily “sprints,” Khatzumoto asks that you do what I would call an affirmation (though I think the youngster would probably choose a “hipper” phrase.)   “Why do I choose to touch Japanese every day” is just one example.

A sign for guitar classes in Numazu. I want to take guitar classes and study how to play guitar with Japanese materials. Use what you love to learn. Loving two birds with no stone!

Part of the reason I keep recommending Khatzumoto’s site, ajatt.com, is because he is constantly finding ways to challenge states of mind that get in the way of doing what seems impossible.  His site is about learning Japanese but just check out his site and replace learning Japanese with whatever “impossible” goal you have in mind.  Here’s a start.  I want to turn this into a bumper sticker.  (I just need a car first):

“Keeping the Game Alive: Self-Abuse Ruins Everything, So Be Nice To You


Take a look around you, inside of you.  What seems impossible?  What’s one little step you can take.  Breathe.  Smile.  Open a new page.  Samurai reading is samurai singing.  Samurai singing is samurai learning.

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