I’ve Been Dealing with Frustration

So I opened Tools of Titans and randomly landed on this chapter

I’ve been “learning” German off and on, on my own, for just over two years. I went through the Pimsleur audio series. I completed Duolingo. I am constantly listening to a German podcast, watching a YouTube video, or studying new vocabulary and grammar in a workbook. I have other apps, too, besides Duolingo. Lingvist is one of my recent favorites.

I took a long break last year to write my ebook, The Language Immersion School Handbook, because that was important to me. So I understand I wouldn’t be quite at the level I would be if I had studied solidly for two years. Nevertheless, I feel like I should be further along than I am in my acquisition of German.

This week, the doubts plagued me:

  • Is this hobby still worthy of my time?
  • Do I even have enough time, between my full-time job and my role as a mom, to properly devote to it?
  • Am I smart enough to learn a second language?
  • Will I ever achieve a level of proficiency in it?

Language learning is my favorite hobby, so feeling frustrated about it lately has been a complete downer.

My copy of Tim Ferriss’ renowned book Tools of Titans is due back to my local library in just two days. The parts I’ve skimmed so far have been valuable, so instead of turning to German studies tonight, I opened the book and landed on Page 160, the start of a chapter called “Coach Sommer — The Single Decision.”

Tim starts the chapter, “We all get frustrated.”

This is interesting, I thought. A sign. I continued reading. I’m not going to summarize the chapter. I’m not going to pull quotes out of it because I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to do that here (after all, it’s Tim’s work, and Coach Sommer’s words, not mine).

But I’ll share some words and phrases that stood out in Coach Sommer’s letter to Tim:

  • Patience
  • Temporary frustration
  • Path towards excellence
  • Not a linear process
  • Show up, do the work
  • Blue collar work ethic
  • Indomitable will
  • Refuse to budge
  • Long-term focus
  • No beating yourself up
  • Appreciate the process
  • Celebrate moments of triumph
  • Learn from defeats
  • Refuse to accept less

I’m not giving up on my quest to acquire German. One day I’m going to own this language, and I’ll look back at this Medium post with a smile.

+Reminding myself that if learning a language, amidst all the other responsibilities of life, was easy, everyone would do it.

I’m about to embark on a three-month intensive journey called the #Add1Challenge. At the end of 90 days, I’m supposed to be able to have a 15-minute conversation with a native German speaker. Along the way, I have to document my progress with videos for Day 0, Day 30, Day 60, and Day 90.

I’m not superstitious, but I must say that opening to the Tools of Titans chapter about overcoming frustrations was pretty freakin’ cool and inspiring.

German, here I come.