Has motivation ever backfired on you?

On my end, sometimes I would be “too” motivated and do too much in one sitting, resulting in an extended hiatus. Other times, thinking of what’s in it for me in another culture makes me bitter and envious which leads to me changing my motivations.

What do you all think would be a good way to handle such things? Is motivation required when you reach the stage where you can just have fun with the language?


‘thinking of what’s in it for me in another culture makes me bitter and envious’

I think this statement is a bit unclear. What did you mean there?

On motivation:

In every culture or language comunity there are truths or stereotypes about it that can be motivating and others that can be demotivating.

As a learner, when you’re still more of an outsider to the culture or when your motivation might be fragile, a helpful thing I find happens is that you’re driven by a more or less irrational fascination with certain positive stereotypical aspects of the culture. That is a good thing and I tend to nurish these positive stereotypes to get that extra motivation boost.
That might be anime, samurai, tee ceremonies and sushi, etc. for Jap, the whole range of fun, sun and music imagery for Spanish and so on.
By the time you really get into the language and gradually become a semi-insider, much of these motvating stereotypes fade and are replaced by real impressions. (Any prejudice would also be checked.) You discover about yet another culture, that they’re normal modern human beings with the full range of positive and negative qualities.
Obviously as an intelligent person you already consciously know in the beginning that these sterotypes will prove to be just that, but I’m referring to an irrational gut feeling.

However, as you lose this superficial motivation, another takes over. Now getting close to becoming an insider you find the actual motivating factors in the reality of your new aquired culture. (Updated refined confirmations of some stereotypes among them.) Also going on learning the language has become almost effortless and you can just have fun with it, as you say.

For me, positive motivating aspects are always winning so far, and the returns of joy are imense.

Just keep on fanasizing about the country/culture and rub it in any naysaye’rs face when you can confidently say +1 and are enjoying your expanded range.

What I meant by envy is that most of what I’ve been doing for 5 years is English-translated version of very Japanese things, such as anime. Believing that I have an inferior version of these things makes me feel like I’m getting 1-up’d, leading to a negative chain reaction. It’s not the easiest thing to describe but it’s as though the fluttery excitement I get for these things turns into the feeling of my heart falling through my stomach-not fun! It makes me reluctant to even look at the things I’ve once enjoyed in some cases.

Ideally, I would like to move forward without feeling like a chump. Every now and then, I get tired and have to remember how fun the culture was in order to motivate myself which often leads to falling back on an English-subbed anime. However, a possible issue that just occurred to me is that understanding the voices may lead to being distracted from the story/subs(?). I’ve reached the level where I found myself irregularly listening and ignoring the story and it took me a while to kick the habit and get my focus back in line. Quite discouraging since I’d rather not feel like I’ve lost a source of entertainment along the way. I am often demotivated by worries.