Results do not fall on your lap without effort
Patience is an emotion. Are you able to overcome the discomforted feeling of not getting what you want instantly? Are you willing to delay happiness? Do you have the endurance, calmness, and forbearance to wait for the results?
Today’s advances in technology have made us an ‘instant breed’. By that, I mean we want things and stuff done instantly.
From experience, being impatient leads to missed opportunities, strained relationships, and unfulfilled goals.
These days, I allow things to play out when I strive for a goal and see my efforts to fruition. If I achieved my goal, that is good. If not, waiting for things to materialize allows new ideas to crop up that may enhance my effort.
It is not about doing nothing but doing all you can in the meantime. Wait for results and don’t quit.
The proverbial “Rome was not built in a day” rings true. When I first learned Japanese, it seemed impossible. The language was spoken fast and always dribbled off my ears easily.
But I love anything Japanese such as its food, music, scenery, products and I was determined to master the language to enjoy them as they are mostly written in their lingo.
It took me several years at a local night school as the lessons were only once a week and there was no daily exposure to the language in Singapore where it is mostly English /mandarin speaking.
I resorted to many tactics. Getting myself a Japanese mentor found me in the Japanese association as a member. We interacted with like-minded Singaporeans interested in the language. We would indulge in all aspects of conversations led by a Japanese group leader and made friends.
But sometimes your Japanese friend is more eager to learn English from you.
I waited for improvement and there was nothing much. I had to persist or thousands of dollars in tuition fees would have gone down the drain.
I ignited this desire to improve faster by enrolling in a Japanese language immersion course for two weeks in Tokyo at a Japanese language school for foreigners.
I might be the oldest student in the class and faced many subtle discrimination and remarks but patience and persistence were my constant bedfellows.
After lessons and cultural immersion outings, it was a mostly alone time that put my language practice to the test.
During my commute in Tokyo trains, there was plenty to see. Lots of interesting advertisements, all in Japanese characters. I deciphered them with my electronic dictionary and became so fascinated with their culture and thoughts.
My alone time after school was spent in the basement of massive shopping centers in Ginza or Shinjuku, sampling food and asking questions with the help of my dictionary. Some salespeople were quite amused but helpful. I find that the Japanese are not as cold as they are perceived.
When they know that you try to learn their language, they would open up and chat with you, never mind that the conversation was skin deep.
I have received a larger portion from a food vendor when they knew that I was enthusiastic to speak their language and they could tell right away that I was a foreigner judging from my textbook style and stiff Japanese.
When things seemed so hard because the teacher tried to test me all the time to see if I could cope in class, I remembered Gandhi’s message, “To lose patience is to lose the battle.”
With time, the three writings of the Japanese language- kanji, hiragana, and katakana seemed to be easier to decode in my mind, to my delight. The repeated announcements at train platforms made sense. It boils down to patience in learning and persistence to learn.
To be honest, I did not master Japanese but I will not be lost anywhere in Japan. My Japanese is still in smithereens occasionally when expressing my requests but I could get answers that I understand. With time, it will get better.
I have also learned to travel more economically like the locals and go to places that the locals like to keep for themselves. They do not want tourists to run over their hidden gems. That is understandable as in some resorts, they are very traditional and foreigners may not stick to their etiquettes.
I learned to adopt and imbibe whatever is good of their culture into my lifestyle and discard what I do not feel is helpful.
In conclusion, the learning of Japanese may be applied to the acquisition of any knowledge or skill.
Be patient and persistent. George Bernard Shaw said it well, “Two things define you; your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”
To that, I would add persistence which is inextricably linked to attitude.