Radio stations suck. They play the same songs over and over, sound nowhere near as good as a CD or MP3, and even play commercials at you. I’ve got a thousand songs and podcasts I want to listen to, yet when I get in my car, I often end up listening to the radio. Why? Because the radio is easy. The radio is there. The radio makes all my choices for me. Most important of all: the radio is automatic. It turns itself on when I turn the key. It’s easier to passively receive mediocrity than to actively make choices.
Formally, the theory goes something like this:
1) The radio automatically starts playing when I turn on my car.
2) If I want to listen to my own L2 music or podcasts, I’ll have sit idle in the driver’s seat while I turn on my iPod, make choices, and act on them.
3) I’ll probably end up with the former because hey, I’m just driving a few minutes to buy oats and protein powder.
This theory means that merely having L2 stuff around you isn’t always enough if your willpower is running low. Optimally, you shouldn’t need to use willpower at all. Whenever possible, make it automatic. To fix the driving situation, I’ve given up on the iPod, and instead burned a CD with tons of miscellaneous L2 music and podcasts on it. I set my car stereo to shuffle and BLAMMO, problem solved. Now when I get in my car it automatically starts playing my L2 CD, and shuffles it just like the radio; my choices are all passive now. Before, I had to 1) think “what should I listen to” and 2) physically make it happen. Now I just react to an automatic situation, mashing my hedonistic palm on the next button if it doesn’t immediately please me.
Laziness can be your biggest weakness or greatest strength – it all depends on your environment.
Share and Enjoy
Latest posts by Matt (see all)
- Guest Post from our handsome, rich, totally ripped friend Danchan - January 17, 2016
- How to Get Paid to Learn a Language - January 20, 2015
- The New Testament of Language Acquisition - October 25, 2014