I didn’t send a tip of the week last Saturday.

I spent the day adjusting to setbacks.  They consumed my mind for the day.  I did not recover until the next morning.

One of my childhood friends joined the U.S. Marines after college. He is a Major now.  To put it mildly, he has been through hell and half of Georgia.

He told me once that the Marines have a saying:  “No plan survives contact with the enemy.  Learn to flow with disorder.”

The same principle applies to language learning a new language.  Of course, learning a new language is a bit safer than combat.

I am constantly teaching myself new languages.  It’s what I love to do.

However, I am also in constant “contact with the enemy.”

There are constant daily distractions.  Phone calls, emails, door knocks, meetings, lesson plans, duties, and bills keep me from studying.  I’d be happy to bet it is the same for you.

So, how do you stay on track?

First of all, get rid of the notion of staying on track… perfectly.  It’s impossible.  Flow with disorder.  When you get distracted (and you will), relax.  This is not the end.  You do not have to lay your goal down.  This is only a distraction.  It’s ephemeral.

Second (and this one is tough), implement the advice of General George Patton.  He once said, “You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.”

So, how do you combine the two?  I suggest you treat studying as a job.  Set aside a certain number of hours a week to study.  Even better, set aside a certain amount of time every day.  Focus.  Do not allow anything, or anyone to distract you.  Over time, those hours will add up.  When unavoidable distractions do come, flow with disorder.  Take care of them.  Come back to your goal as soon as you can.

I dropped the ball on Saturday.  So… here (on Monday) is the tip of the week.  I am practicing what I am preaching.  Flow with disorder.

By the way, my family and I are in Tulsa, Oklahoma today.  We were not planning to arrive here for another month.  But, we looked at the plan, made some adjustments, flowed with disorder… and here we are.

We will be on the road until July 9.  I will try to post the tip of the week every Saturday during the month of June… but, there is a small chance you will not hear from me for a bit.  Not sure how much access I will have to the internet.
I will be on the road.

Have a happy Monday!