Following a rabbit trail from another blog, I came across an interesting article at the slightly irreverent “All Japanese All The Time” blog. The post, “Probability Over Certainty, Or: Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Immersion, I Learned from the Miller-Rabin Primality Test“, rambles a bit till he gets to his point that much of our procrastination is due to focusing on accomplishing the end product rather than the intermediate steps that lead you there.
In the GTD (Getting Things Done) universe this is seen as breaking your goals and projects into action items that can be done, that are ‘accomplishable’ (my term). As everyday distractions pop up, you get closer to finishing your project or meeting your goal by working on bite-sized chunks that will, in the end, complete your projects and goals.
Don’t try to get things done. That’s too hard. Too painful. Too annoying. Too prone to failure.
Don’t try to get things done.
Do try to increase the probability that they will get done.
Don’t try to get things done. Do try to increase the probability that they will get done.
Don’t ask if you’re doing the right thing.
Do ask if what you’re doing increases the probability of having what you want to happen, happen.
Do ask if what you’re doing increases the probability of you getting what you want.
Don’t work with the certainties; it hurts too much; it’s too painful. Work on pushing up those probabilities.
Next time you feel so overwhelmed in your quest to become fluent in Japanese, that you just sit there and do nothing, sit there and watch English-language shows on Hulu to try to drown out the guilt you’re tripping on (just like Maddie used to), stop yourself, wake up and smell the probabilistic coffee.
Watching a Japanese anime instead of running off to Hulu may not be as “perfect” as doing your SRS reps, but it demm </SouthAfricanAccent> well increases the probability of your actually learning Japanese, more than some English escapism ever could.
The post concludes with ““Nothing” is the only too little; “Not Now” is the only too late.” Rather than plopping down on the couch after a long day at the office, what little thing can I do to move myself along towards my goals?
Source: Probability Over Certainty, Or: Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Immersion, I Learned from the Miller-Rabin Primality Test
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