There is no stronger ally than hard work and continuous practice when you want to achieve your goals. I believe that hard work never betrays us and great achievements are always the result of hard work. Albert Einstein said that Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work, Thomas Edison said that Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and Liviu Rebreanu, a Romanian writer puts it this way: One quarter of talent and three quarters of hard work will barely make a masterpiece. They have proved they were right.
I already wrote about my passion about Korean language and Korean dramas. Actually, I was inspired to write this article while watching a Korean drama, Prison playbook. The series tells the story of a successful baseball player who was sentenced to 1 year in prison after he killed the guy who tried to rape his sister. The main character had already had a surgery after a car accident in his youth and he had received chemotherapy for stomach cancer. However he successfully passed all these trials and he practiced a lot and became an even better baseball player. While he is in prison he is stabbed in his shoulder by a cell inmate and he finds out that he won’t be able to play baseball. However, he practices a lot in prison and trains everyday and he discovers that he can use his other hand to throw the balls. He is the portrayal of a passionate man who works hard and fights for his dream. He never gives up, he tries to find another way even when it seems impossible.
Thus while watching the series with eyes wide open, I started to analyze my Korean learning journey. I remembered the beginning, I saw myself again in the study room trying to read the words without using romanization, I saw myself writing words on hundreds of pages, reading texts again and again in order to read faster and faster. I remembered how I cried every time I failed, every time I was disappointed in my results, every time I succeeded. I used to think that my efforts were not enough, that I was not good enough after all these years. I only thought about me who was still unprepared, me who was still far from being confident in this language, me who was still disappointed that I am not getting better. I forgot about me who studied even after work when I was already tired. I forgot about me who studied alone and tried to become better. I forgot about me who didn’t give up even if it was already so difficult. No wonder I could not see the results. When you don’t appreciate the efforts you made for your dream, you won’t be able to see the progress, no matter how small it might be.
The bigger one’s passion is, the bigger the efforts are. The more we sacrifice, the bigger the disappointment is when the results are not what we expected. Shouldn’t we pat our own shoulder more for not giving up, for continuing to work hard even when results are not what we expected? Shouldn’t we appreciate ourselves for being better than we were yesterday even if the step we took forward is hardly visible? Shouldn’t we be more grateful to us who worked so hard for what we love? It takes as much courage to give up as it takes to go on. It is always our choice to do one or the other.
As for me, I may not be the best learner, but I never wanted to be that. All I ever wanted was to never give up on learning Korean, on learning new languages, a hobby of mine, as you already know. I am doing that and that alone is great. I am still learning and studying hard. I have a passion that motivates me to work even more. Every step I take, every new word I learn, every page I fill with my thoughts in poor Korean is still an effort I make toward my goal. Who cares is not perfect? If it was perfect than I would stop learning and that would be more painful than advancing slowly.
It is hard to see that your progress is not matching the efforts you put into something you really like doing. But the satisfaction you feel when you see you finally got it cannot be described into words. I remember how proud I was when I realized I understand more Korean than I thought while watching dramas without English subtitles or even without Korean subtitles at all. I was so proud that I started crying like a baby. I was that happy and satisfied. When something is making you that happy, you know you must never give up on that thing. Continue doing it no matter how slowly you advance. One day you will be surprised by how much your efforts have flourished.
So keep learning, keep doing what makes you happy no matter what others say, no matter how hard it gets. You will get there someday.
Until then, stay positive and healthy and I’ll see you around.