At the beginning of his Chinese study, Luke had two core beliefs about Chinese education:
1. I can do it, on my own, in one year
2. It’s going to be painful, because “No pain, no gain………right?”
It’s certainly not wrong to have confidence in yourself, because there isn’t such a thing as being “bad at languages,” but in retrospect both of these core beliefs were false. Let’s take them one-by-one.
“I Can Learn Chinese,
On My Own, in One Year”
We vehemently believe that you CAN learn Chinese to a respectable level of fluency in one year. Doing it without help, though? It’s a rare person that would be able to achieve such a lofty goal. Why? Well, to succeed in Mandarin acquisition you must comprehend two things:
1. The correct & incorrect ORDER by which you should learn new facts
2. Which METHODS work & don’t work most effectively
What are the pre-conditions for an understanding of either of these? Already being a master of the subject. Uh-oh, a Catch-22 has arrived! When starting, the amount of data necessary to conceptualize your journey is too much for a single human brain to process. Our minds can store information well, but when it comes to short-term conscious processing, we’re hopelessly slow.
We all know the feeling of cognitive overload, and you are going to hit it FAST if you don’t have help with your Chinese learning plan. That’s why we made The Mandarin Blueprint Method, to assure you that you are on the right path because only walking the entire path allows for knowledge wrong-turns and dead-ends.
“It’s Going to Be Painful, Because ‘No Pain, No Gain, Right?”
Luke’s attitude is quite admirable here, but you know what proved it wrong? Our own laughter. Lol, what?
Picture this scene: Luke & Phil sitting in a coffee shop on Kehua Road in Chengdu, China looking at Chinese characters they want to learn. At sporadic intervals, one of them breaks the silence with a sudden burst of laughter followed by sharing with the other what made him laugh. What’s that all about?
In The Mandarin Blueprint Method, we use imagined “Movie Scenes” to learn a Chinese character. It’s the most advanced form of mnemonic visualization ever applied to Chinese character learning, and guess what? The more silly, raunchy, emotional, hilarious, surreal, or horrifying the better. Sound boring? Sound painful?
Don’t Be Married to Your Path – Be Married to Your Ability to Walk It
The beliefs we have about ourselves that dictate our day-to-day actions sometimes run so deep that we can’t even consciously identify them. Where do they come from? Heck if we know, but we do know that even the deepest beliefs are at least editable, if not entirely changeable.
When applied to Mandarin Chinese learning, we’d recommend dispensing with any core beliefs about the “right” path…for now. Don’t be married to your path. Be married to confidence in yourself. A confident person is willing to change paths if that’s what your experience demands.
Look, whatever you think learning Mandarin is “going to be like” is destined to change. We’d give it a likelihood of 100%. Embrace it! After all, quite possibly the most admirable quality of the Chinese is the emphasis on humility, and by approaching this journey by taking a page out of their book, you’re one step closer to bridging that cultural gap. Now look at that, this writer is getting all weepy. Gratitude towards a whole group of people from a foreign land who accept you despite being an “outsider” tends to do that.
We know you can have that type of transcendent experience as well, and it all starts that same humility. 保重.