Applying design thinking to death
The first secret of design is ... noticing

Why do we so often choose quick and easy over good? (And a slow Kanji lesson)


I study Japanese and, although it's far from perfect, I keep plugging away at it.

One of the toughest things about studying Japanese is learning how to read and write kanji (漢字), the Chinese characters that make up one of the three writing systems Japanese uses (four, if you count rōmaji, the use of Latin script to write Japanese).

There are literally thousands of them, many of which can be read and pronounced in multiple ways.

There are almost as many 'quick, easy' ways to master kanji. I know, because I've tried quite a few of them.

Here's the one that's worked the best for me:

Reading and writing them on a daily basis, then using them.

Funnily enough, this is exactly how Japanese people learn them.

Is it taking me longer? Absolutely.

Am I learning more? Undoubtedly.

Do I retain more? No question.

Am I still looking for a quick, easy way to learn kanji. Well, yeah.

Of course I want quick and easy! We all do. Yet, like most people, I recognize that quick and easy more often than not equals not very good.

Would you trust a doctor who said he could give you a quick and easy heart transplant?

How about a builder who told you he could throw up a quick and easy house for you and your family?

Why then, do we think that we're going to be satisfied with a quick, easy website, a quick check of our business documents, or a hastily produced school curriculum?

Despite our desire to get things done quickly and with minimal fuss (not to mention on the cheap, but that's for another article), we know deep down that investing time and money into something we care about is the only way we'll end up being satisfied.

It's also the only way I can be proud of the work I've done.

That's why I continue to spend time and money on worthwhile resources to learn Japanese. That way, someday I will be proud of my Japanese.

Some day.


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