"Are you a genius denier?"
This guy then describes how people who are good at something are usually obsessed with something on some level. He asks this question about whether Wayne Gretzy is really a hockey genius or does he just really love hockey more than a lot of people?
I think of some of the more difficult things I've learned: Japanese, Korean, guitar, reading music... All of these came at a time where I had a goal and I just became obsessed with that goal. Every spare minute I had would be filled with a related book, practicing kanji, or writing my hangeul, or strumming some pretty buzzy and dampened chords, or stumbling through an old hymnal. These didn't occur at the same time, but those times had a certain energy about them.
Prior to moving and taking a new job in a familiar city in January, I was learning Arabic, but my learning has taken a big hiatus. Why is this? I think it's because of routine. My cues have all changed, and I just got out of the habit.
In the Secrets of Success podcast from Radio Lab, they mention this 10,000 hours principle. Apparently, to get really good at any complex mental task, you must spend at least 10,000 hours (at least 416 solid days). I feel like I've hit that with guitar, but I know I haven't with Korean (I sometimes wish I could have spent another year or two there--I loved it).
"Because he can't get hockey out of his head."
"Absent that, you CAN'T be a genius."
This makes me wonder about learning English and even being a better teacher. Some of it has to do with having really good habits, and I think people who love learning something like English or being a better teacher do establish a kind of routine. It reminds me of this Ted Talk I just ran across on Twitter (it's only 3.5 minutes):
Whatever it is you're learning, I know it helps to love it, to spend more time doing it, and to form good habits surrounding it. Start today! Make it happen! You CAN do it, but it won't start tomorrow.
Have a good one, and good luck out there!