Success loves failure

失敗は成功の母。Shippai wa seikō no haha. Failure is the mother of success. — 日本のことわざ

We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it for long enough. — Helen Keller

Failure so soon still a success

I’m only days in and already I’ve failed. By Day 3 I had already fallen short on completing one of the tasks on two different days. Days 4, 5, and 6 were worse. I had dropped to only completing about 2 out the 10 tasks.

That’s a failure-focused itemization. It’s okay, but only as long as I truly realize what’s happening: I have studied Japanese every single day for the last five days! That hasn’t happened in more than four months. Additionally, my vocabulary has increased, my comprehension has made small advancements, and understanding of the culture and grammar have improved.

These incremental improvements didn't exist the day before I started this project. That, my friends, is success. In the end, my ultimate, single success of achieving felicity in Japanese will far outweigh any number of soon-to-be forgotten failures along the way.

Remember: the successful outcome of a singular endeavor outweighs a million failures when it comes to language learning. 

Recognize the failures. Learn from them. Appreciate and validate the true success.

Taking steps, L. Cromwell

Make one million language mistakes as quickly as possible

Expect to make a million mistakes learning a new language. Embrace them. Make them as quickly as possible. Because when you’ve done so, you’ll have achieved success.

For example, I write in Japanese. I send it to a Japanese friend, and he corrects it. I study the corrections and compare it to my failures, and I learn how to compose sentences correctly.

The same happens in speech. My Japanese friends will wait until I’m finished and then let me know, “It’s better to say it this way,” or “It sounds more natural like this.” I face my failures. I replace them with what I’ve just learned.

Now I make fewer mistakes.

(Yes, you need friends who are native speakers. Get some right away.)

Set yourself up for success

But there are still 1 million minus 2 mistakes to go before I’m where I want to be.

In all reality, to achieve competency in a language requires far less mistakes than a million. However, by allowing myself one million mistakes, I’ll feel much better in the end. Besides, who’s really counting (if you are, stop it!)?

Still, if you do make more mistakes than me on your way to learning Japanese, then there’s no doubt in my mind that you know the language better than I do.