I'm currently engaged in two activities that many people all over the world have trouble with. Two activities where people are always searching out magic solutions, or the "best" way, or "foolproof" methods.
#1 Working out.
I've been overweight my whole life. Since I'm not at all a visual person, it doesn't usually bother me. But I've been through a couple of hard-core workout phases. The first was due to the fact that it is hard as heck to buy clothes. I realise now that's more because of my ridiculous proportions. My lower half spans 3 sizes! Recently, I've been working out because of genealogy. Older people in my family seem to have every disease under the sun, and I'm trying to give myself a fighting chance.
All of this leads to having been on the work out train forever. So I'm sometimes on fora where people are looking for the "best path" to get in the shape they want to.
#2 Foreign language learning.
I'm a pluralinguist. (According to Wikipedia, that's a more accurate definition for someone who kind of randomly picks up languages with little or no formal teaching.) I like languages, and I'm always trying to get better at the ones I speak, while fighting off the urge to pick up more. (Soon, Korean. Soon.)
As I browse products to improve my Japanese ability, I come across tons of people who want to know. "What's the best program for my money?"
Disney's Tinkerbell has the answer. (Because Disney always has the answer!)
(Okay, I realise Tinkerbell was not the first to stumble upon the concept of "to thine ownself be true," but she's definitely the cutest.)
How I do.
I've always been an extremist. Love something or hate it. Do something every day, no prob. Or not at all. Sure, I can keep up a middle ground for a while. But it's so much easier to just find the way that works for me. Then, instead of working at it, I can just sit back and watch it all fall into place.
So, I've designed a workout program that works for me:
A ton of workout DVDs from several big-name workout franchises. (Because I'd get bored of one cast.)
Alternating between off-the-deep-end working out and normal-people-pace. (I'd get bored at normal people pace, but I'd eventually burn out going off the deep end.)
For languages, generally the market-leaders are two particular programmes: one based on listening, one more visual. Well, obviously, the visual one was never an option. I'm currently doing the listening programme, but I've come across a problem I didn't expect. Just listening bores me out of my mind. I have to do something else while I study. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be.
My favourite language programme never gets called in the top 3. It's kind of like the books you probably used in school. Dialogue/ essay-type piece, followed by vocab, grammar break-down and exercises.
Should be obvious.
Once you've kind of stumbled onto the fact that stuff is easier once you tailor-make it for yourself, you wonder why it wasn't obvious. Cuz hold up a minute:
Things are easier when they're made to suit you.
Which part of that is NOT completely obvious? And yet, it takes us years to discover it. Some of us never do. And even after we have, we keep trying to crawl back into methods that have been proven to work well for others, but don't neccesarily gel with us.
Back to you.
All of this of course gets me to wondering. How many parts of our lives are we doing this with?
Working the jobs we're supposed to have. But not going as far as we could, because it's not what we want to be doing.
Being involved in good organisations. But not taking them forward, because they really don't pique our interests.
Writing what we're supposed to. How we're supposed to. Where we're supposed to. But not as well as we could, because it's not the best thing for us.
Takes a long time to learn the simplest lesson.
To thine ownself be true.
Fly to your heart.