This post is the final commentary on the sessions where I was bombarded with questions by high school students last week. The first question was, "How did you learn English?" The second question was, "How do you have the courage to do something new?
The third question is an answer that ties in with these two previous questions.
Question 3: How do I keep at it?
For some reason, I remember a fortune teller coming to our house when I was ten years old and telling me that I would make it big. I have believed it naively. When things didn't go well, I think I lived my life believing that even if things didn't go well now, I would be able to do it sooner or later because I was a big talent ;-). I think that's why I've been able to keep going, even if I don't see immediate results.
But that's not very versatile for people who don't think they've got it in them, so we talked about other ways.
The easiest way to keep going is to start again when you stop. If you stop once, you often lose motivation and quit suddenly there. If you start again, you'll be just as motivated as if you had kept going. If you still don't want to continue, why not use what you've done before to start something else?
The second way is to get into a routine. For example, I get up at 5.30 am and go surfing every morning. Then I have breakfast and do 15 minutes of croquis before I take the kids to school. In the car, I let my Kindle read a book for me. Then, we have a morning meeting. Once you get into a routine, you don't feel like you have to do it because it's not that different from brushing your teeth. This goes back to the first question, "How did you study? Routines are also very effective for immersion.
The third way is to do something you don't mind doing if you want to keep doing it. This goes back to the second question, "How did you get the courage to try something new?" If you don't like something, you can't keep doing it, so do something you don't dislike. Then, as you sharpen those things you don't dislike, they will lead you to the things you love.
This time I'm going to be more specific. Unfortunately, this book is only published in Japanese. I write five things of "what I did today", every day which is written in the first part of this Smart Note. Before I go to bed, I write down five things I did today and rate them on a 5-point scale. As I continue to do this, I can see that I've had a reasonably good day, and at the same time, I'm doing less and less of the things that I rated lower. By writing down what I did for the day, I can visualise what I like and what I don't like.
When I was cycling around Australia, I used to cycle 100 to 120 kilometres every day, and when I got sick of it, I would stop and start again, or I would get up at 4:30 in the morning and do my routine. And I knew I liked travelling alone on a bike. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to ride 18,000 kilometres on my bicycle.
There were a few more question and answer sessions, but they all eventually lead to similar answers. When you think about the solutions in-depth, you end up with similar measures.