Trash-Talkin’ Samurai: Deleting is Achieving

Anki, ajatt.com, flashcard systems can help you untangle the flotsam and jetsam.  But its also important to keep exploring and having fun.  Polished stones and driftwood.

Anki, ajatt.com, flashcard systems can help you untangle the flotsam and jetsam. But it is also important to keep exploring and having fun. Throw out the trash.  Explore the trash.

The other day my daughter, who is five, asked me where to find a good boyfriend.   Startled, I answered that the trash might be a good place.  Luckily, she laughed her head off.  I’m not quite ready to answer those questions from my daughter.

I have trash on my mind these days.  Some people think about the Laws of Attraction.  I have the Laws of Trash:

  1. Delete, throw out on a regular basis.   Deleting is achieving.
  2. Don’t be afraid to enjoy  “trash” on the way to learning goals.

Delete, throw out on a regular basis.   Deleting is achieving.

I recently started a drawer by drawer method of elimination.  Every weekend, I go through one drawer or section of the apartment and take store of what is there and throw out what I don’t need.   It’s a doable project given my busy life.  Two interesting things happen:   I get more free space and I firm up my connection with projects and ideas that I had “shelved.”  I’ve come up with a lot of interesting projects that I thought I had abandoned.

If you are learning a foreign language (or anything) and using electronic flashcards deletion is really key.  Throw cards out and get some breathing room for what you are learning.  Every time I delete a card I feel like I am learning more because I am making a more active choice about what I am learning and reinforcing what I really like to learn.

The day of our path can often be a little less um, scenic, than our lofty goals.  Luckily, you have a pair of crappy sneakers to help you dance above and through it all.

Our path can often be a little less um, scenic, than our lofty goals. Luckily, you have a pair of crappy sneakers to help you dance above and through it all.

Khatzumoto over at alljapaneseallthetime.com is making it even easier these days with his surusu flashcard program.  Khatzumoto has been working in his mad labs again.  I hadn’t touched Surusu flashcards for a while because my decks had gotten huge.   He added a huge and prominent delete button on the card.   When you delete a card, you get congratulated for “keeping it clean.”  Thanks to surusu for making deletion an act of joy.

Now, when I delete I may think “Yes, you are very interesting but hey maybe I will see you again in a more fun context”  or “good riddance.”  Every deletion is a review.   It may even be a fresher review because you have made a fresh choice.  Deleting adds life where there wasn’t any.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy  “trash” on the way to learning goals.

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to enjoy trash along the way to your learning goals.  What are the silly games, books, et cetera that could help you learn your skill or language?   My skills and interest in studying Japanese jumped when I decided to ready trashy self-help books in Japanese.    Lately, I’ve gone back to reading “Beck,”  a manga about rock and roll.   My Japanese still sucks but I am amazed at how much more my reading comprehension has jumped.   Furthermore, some of the dialogue is review of cards I’ve studied, both deleted and non-deleted cards.   (In a weird way, at times it reinforces my continued suckage in guitar.  The other day, I just stared at a picture of the character studying the C major scale diagram.   I was “studying” but just kind of stumbling, day dreaming into part of a skill.)

Don’t lose the love for what you are trying to learn.   Put out the trash.  Look through the trash.  Think trash.

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