First of all apologies for the title but it just spoke to me. I’m not some guru who has mastered all skills/languages and can dispense laws from a mountain top. I am on the path like everyone else, though now I’m enjoying it a whole lot more than I used to. The other reason that I felt compelled to use the title is because I am reading Thomas Leonard’s The 28 Laws of Attraction: Stop Chasing Success and Let it Chase You. This book doesn’t come from the mountaintop either but it’s getting under my skin and helping me ask different questions.
When I read Leonard’s chapter, “Create a Vacuum That Pulls You Forward” I couldn’t help thinking that Leonard’s ideas were key to developing skills such as learning a language or learning a musical instrument. Leonard explains that “being pulled forward is attractive; pushing yourself forward isn’t.” Leonard recommends some steps to make that possible:
- Realize it’s better to be pulled forward than it is to push yourself forward.
- Put yourself into creativity-stirring situations.
- put yourself among friends and colleagues who bring out your best.
- unhook yourself from who you were; this will let you be pulled forward
When I read this, I felt like I was rediscovering alljapaneseallthetime.com. (With two children and a busy work life, you have to forgive me that I keep mentioning Khatz’s website. It’s helped me change a lot of things. Plus, I don’t get out much. 🙂 ) He was able to learn Japanese fluently not only by studying but by also transforming his environment so it was fun and er, “all Japanese all the time.” You have to arrange the environment so it pulls you in. It’s not just about Japanese. Khatz explains that if you want to run more, have your shoes ready by the door. By changing my environment ever so slightly–having the guitar out of the case and other small changes–I’ve been writing and playing more.
Here are some quick ways I’ve been incorporating this “Law of Attraction” into my life, especially in the language arena:
- Create the environment that pulls you in.
Surround yourself with the fun and interesting books, music, and people that will pull you into the language or skill. At first, this meant that I kind of rejected manga and looked at self-help books. Now it means finding/fumbling around in the manga that I do enjoy.
- Find the fun part in the hard part.
Don’t be devastated that you don’t know something in a foreign language or any skill you want to acquire. If you are looking at a manga page or a flashcard, look at what you do understand or what seems intriguing or just fun. Keep yourself wanting more.
- Delete what is dragging you down.
I fought AJATT’s advice to delete flashcards that just drained me, now I am more like a black widow spider. I study a card and if it bores me. I delete. Create a vacuum by deleting clutter, time and mental drains.
- Use little gimmicks that pull you in. I am not learning Japanese/guitar, I am just moving that little progress bar a little further today. Learning all of Japanese may seem like a lot of work but its more fun to just see the “progress bar” move a little on Japanesepod101.com for example.
There is a time for pushing, there is a time for pulling. But if you are starting to grind your wheels and not really enjoy or flow in the process, think about how you can create a vacuum that pulls you in. Enjoy the “suckage.”