I finally got around to picking up a copy of The Last Samurai: The Life and Times of Saigo Takamori. After watching the Hollywood Tom Cruise version of history, I realized it is time to get a real historian’s re-telling of this transitional period of history. Saigo Takamori is the “real” last samurai, who rebelled against the central government. Long story short, Takamori loses his head. The central government tries to find it but can’t. That becomes a problem.
For me reading this chapter was an opportunity to turn great history writing into a schlocky self-help mantra: How to Get Ahead Without Losing Your Head. In truth, this is what this whole blog is about: how to move your mind and life forward without self-abuse.
One of the key germs for this life approach was All Japanese All the Time. I was beating myself up about how I wasn’t learning Japanese and stumbled upon this website. Khatz, the founder, explained that you could learn Japanese by doing more fun things in Japanese and through consistent but micro moves such as SRS flashcard reviews, and a whole host of techniques. What AJATT helped me to do was be gentler with myself and keep trying, probing, and most importantly looking for the fun opportunities.
I haven’t made learning Japanese a big priority though I still make it a daily habit. (I am treading water, but I still know a hell of a lot more than if I had kept on beating myself up.) However, through my AJATT methods I’ve learned how to get ahead without losing my head. Khatz explains in “Why are Third Rate Ideas Better than First Rate Ideas”:
Here’s the trick to making deep, long-term, self-directed language-learning work.
Don’t do ten good things.
Do one good thing. One day. At a time.
And not even a very good thing. Just a good enough thing. Just barely good enough.
I think this is a great idea for making “deep, long-term, self-directed” growth work in areas beyond language. Be gentle but push forward. The samurai mind notebook is a great way to do one good thing. Put your daily inspirations/vital information and review–just a little bit if you can’t do more.
Get ahead without losing your head.
Take time each day to reclaim your samurai mind.