Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

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lusan
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Re: Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

Postby lusan » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:43 pm

I believe that the problem is not Anki. I know because I had the same problem. I concluded that it is that my expectations are off.

So I calibrated myself as only judging my mature cards count at review end:

60 % - Wuao.... I know 60 % - I am not in a good day. Maybe I am tired, have to many cards, etc.. Skip the day and take a break; avoid burn out.
70 % - Not bad... I am learning
80 % - We are moving on... great
85 % - No bad.... Super
90 % - OOh... I have a problem... It is too easy
95 % - Darn! I am not learning at all! HELP. Make it hard.
100 % - What a waste of time! Time to really change strategy.

I believe that I need knowledge of at least 30,000 words to read fiction. Which words are those? Whatever...it needed to make reading pleasurable. If a word does not want to play/stick, then fine, drop it fast. There thousand of them happily waiting in line. So set your leach rejection about 5-7 and move on. Not worthy the agony!

But you might say, "well... It is a frequent word..." But consider: it will show up many, many times, while reading so it does not really need Anki at all!

I would suggest to relax, keep going; the tough words will take care of themselves as we read and listen to our chosen language. Patience pays.

Of course, I am talking about learning new words. This view is not applicable to grammar & verb conjugations.
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Re: Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

Postby rdearman » Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:07 am

Raconteur wrote:Anyone else experiencing this, or am I the only nutcase in town? How do you approach such situations?

No, it's just you. :lol:

I keep saying this to people, but nobody seems to listen.
You don't have to be perfect, just better than yesterday.


Which means if you learned and remembered 1 word, then you're better than yesterday. So you are improving. Focus less on what you can't do and more on what you can. Someone once told me some great advice about listening in a TL, which was don't listen to the words you don't know, they will not help you understand. Listen to the words you do know because they will help you understand the rest.

Also, EMK used to tell people a lot about anki becoming a "torture machine". Don't let it. Use delete/suspend (a lot) or if you are using Ankidroid on your phone, set up the gestures, so you can simply swipe right to suspend a card (only one step, deletion requires two).
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Re: Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

Postby kelvin921019 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:47 am

Frustration is normal, I even learn a few swear words in my TL just in case I need to vent my frustration in my learning of that TL. I also vent in my log.

If it's a short term down day, or a particular words. You can sit back, relax, wash your face and go on again.

If it's a long term problem, you may wish to see if you're pushing yourself too hard. For example, I only memorize 5-6 words everyday for Russian but I can do 30+ cards for Japanese because I can rely on a lot of cognates / existing knowledge / sense in Japanese but I'm pretty new to Russian, which every words sound nothing like any language I already know.

Also I adopt a lenient approach in SRS (like I press hard if I made a tiny mistake in the pronunciation or misplacement of stress) or alternatively shortening the time gap between reviews for more difficult language. I also adopt different "again" policy with respect to different deck (like I won't force a 100% accuracy if I'm doing sentence translation because it just serves to refresh my memory on certain grammatical items).
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Re: Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:46 am

While frustration might be deemed normal, I beg to differ. The key elements in this thread so far are these three:
1. acceptance.
2. expectations/goals
3. everyone learns differently.

I have been reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle's books again lately, so what follows draws a lot from his material, which I feel a not his own ideas to claim, but rather forgotten truths that he has helped uncover along with author authors, philosophers and the like (he's not alone).

Frustration is exceedingly common, most of us feel it at some point. However, just because the vast majority of humans experience this, doesn't mean that you should or that it's healthy. So often we are our own worst enemies. Frustration stems from a discord between how you want things to go/turn out and how they are actually going/turning out. It is a problem of acceptance as iguanamon points out. You don't accept what is and fight within yourself by attempting to deny what actually and simply is. The degree to which you don't accept your situation, accomplishments etc could perhaps be correlated to the degree of frustration you experience. Be a tree in the wind. We can all make plans but they are only ideas to work towards, they are not reality. Sure we can make them reality, but it things do not always go as we plan and if we are idealists or perfectionists with lofty aspirations, then we are often going to disappoint ourselves.

As another poster mentioned, stress is not good for learning. It's not good for your body either and I might go against the grain when I say that the old saying of "letting it out" can even be a bad habit. Perhaps it's useful here and there, if you can let go of your anger, but if you get into the habit of "letting your frustration out", you run the risk of being consistently pissed off when things are not going your way, that is when your actual situation doesn't match your planned goals, however lofty or humble.

This isn't an attempt to denigrate, to put myself on a throne and talk down. This is a humble contribution for some self reflection. I've needed to come to understand a lot of these things myself in various aspects of life and continue to try to apply them. Not all of this lengthy post will be of use. Perhaps none of it.

Accept that you learn the way you do, accept that some things are just plain difficult, accept that you are where you are right now on your language learning path. And as another poster wisely said, enjoy the journey. Keep your eyes on the goal, be flexible to accept where you're actually at currently and above all focus on the moment because the future is imagination in your head however determined you might be to reach it.

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference


Change your study methods if you don't like them, change the way you use them if you feel the need. Change what you can, accept what you can't change and be open to things turning out differently. Getting angry is not going to help.

However, I'm not suggesting you ignore your anger either, as tension build up is likely to get worse. It's best to go to the root cause - your own mind. Thus keep an eye on your own thinking patterns and learn to recognise any negative patterns of thought that you can change as well, because our brains are powerful tools but if you let them make all the decisions, they're poor masters, leading us astray by finding problems in potentially anything we do. Disconnect from the stream of constant whatever when it's not necessary, get down to learning with the task at hand and use the tool when necessary for doing what is necessary.

On your memory troubles, it reminds me of my basketball days. I had a friend, slightly taller than myself (I'm 6ft). He seemingly never did much training but he could walk onto a basketball court and dunk a basketball with ease on a full size ring. My first day of attempting this was after seeing guys in the NBA perform acrobatic marvels on TV back in the 90s, and while I was quite fit and athletic myself, I figured I could dunk on a full size ring with a bit of effort. Well, at an absolute rough guess (my memory isn't the best at times either), it was somewhere around three-ish years later than I could manage to do this myself after LOTS of training hard every day and it wasn't with ease either.

My point is, as iguanamon pointed out, any reasonable human being can learn a language, but it's not easy, especially on your own. Some of us seemingly take to it easier than others, as my friend with basketball, but as with my friend, we don't always know their background. Had he done lots of other activities conducive to crossing over to basketball or for language learners that seem to learn with ease, what are their backgrounds? Some people just do have a knack for things. However, for people like me with basketball, consistent application patience and putting in the work will get you there.

I hope this helps... someone.
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Re: Dealing with frustration/anger when learning

Postby Steve » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:24 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:Frustration is exceedingly common, most of us feel it at some point. However, just because the vast majority of humans experience this, doesn't mean that you should or that it's healthy. So often we are our own worst enemies. Frustration stems from a discord between how you want things to go/turn out and how they are actually going/turning out. It is a problem of acceptance as iguanamon points out. You don't accept what is and fight within yourself by attempting to deny what actually and simply is. The degree to which you don't accept your situation, accomplishments etc could perhaps be correlated to the degree of frustration you experience. Be a tree in the wind. We can all make plans but they are only ideas to work towards, they are not reality. Sure we can make them reality, but it things do not always go as we plan and if we are idealists or perfectionists with lofty aspirations, then we are often going to disappoint ourselves.


Lots of good advice and observations in the entire post.

About 5 years ago, I collapsed at work and ended up in the ER. Nothing physically wrong, just too much stress. My doctor recommended counseling. The introductory session was filling out paperwork, him asking me some questions, and him telling me to buy a book and read the first half before a second session. I got it and finished it in a day. That book shone a light on something in my life I'd normalized. It was one of those epiphany type of moments. The second (and final) session, I think he was surprised I'd finished the book and identified what was up (which frankly he probably saw in the first couple minutes when we first met). He just gave me some general practical advice on things ranging from diet to lifestyle changes.

The book was "SOS Help For Emotions: Managing Anxiety, Anger, And Depression" by Lynn Clark. Bottom line is that I had no clue how much I had let anger into my life. If I had been angry at individual people, I'd have immediately realized something was up. (Years before, thanks to things like Gallup StrengthsFinder and other such work, I'd come to realize how different people are so people rarely bother me anymore.) But I was angry at the way the world was. I was angry at systems of things I thought needed to change. I was angry at organizations that needed to change. I'd deluded myself into thinking it was a positive thing like passion and caring about making things better, but it was really working myself up over things I could not change. Instead of applying myself to those things I could change, I was letting myself be consumed by things I couldn't change. This is one of those few books that I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Now, whenever I have a strong negative reaction to something, I ask myself why I reacted that way. I then don't stop asking that question until I understand why. Of course, that by itself doesn't fix things, but it helps me to see the real source of things and gives me a fighting chance to do something about it.
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