In her book “Polyglot”, Kato Lomb advised her readers to believe themselves genius in learning languages. I think it is very important to have this belief, if not, we already set ourselves for failure. Somehow I had this belief ingrained in myself, always questioning my ability, “Will I be able to do it? What if I fail?”. I was a serial learner who tried my hands on a lot of things since my childhood. First the piano, guitar, and then French. Those took a lot of money, and I ended up selling my expensive guitar to a friend.
One reason maybe I was not diligent enough. I was enthusiastic at first but the motivation faded away. The only language I keep on working diligently is Japanese. At least, I did not learn it just for the sake of learning. I was interested in Japanese media and culture.
Another reason was the ingrained belief that I was stupid and would have a lot of difficulty in mastering something. I remembered working on my homework in elementary school and was called “stupid” by my parents for not being able to understand it quickly. Unfortunately it was reinforced every time even up until high school. I unconsciously thought that “It won’t work anyway” and that thought came true. Outwardly, I seemed like working hard, taking after school classes (similar to Japanese’ juku) almost every day, but these efforts were not very successful.
I am grateful to educators who believe in children’s potential. Those such as Shinichi Suzuki and Montessori, who believed that children are not stupid, it was the system that is flawed. I am still doing my best, but this time believing in my potential and ability to succeed. My mother is always a fan of asking me, “What’s your plan if this proves to be a flop?”. Well, it’s not going to be a flop! In fact, it’s passing JLPT N1 or bust!