Going slow. It's okay

Over the span of a year or two, if you want to maximise how many kanji and vocab you are memorising, consistency is most efficient, even if that means going slow. It’s better in the short term to push yourself, but unless your livelihood depends on finishing wanikani reviews, you will burn out. Experiment and find how much time and mental effort you can get away with putting in, while remaining excited for the next session. Working smarter, as in making sure the way you study and the attention you put into each review is as meaningful as possible, is an excellent alternative to spending more time grinding. This can all be implemented in a very flexible and relaxed way, crucially without comparing yourself to others’ progress. Gl everyone


I think you can see peoples usernames next to their profile picture.

Maybe it’s the flag of your neighbouring federal state?

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They never said anything about goals, they were cautioning people to not bite off more than they can chew, which is perfectly reasonable. What’s toxic is encouraging people to go faster than they can, causing them to burn out


Except that’s absolutely not what was said in the post at all. It just says to go at your own pace, don’t compare your progress with other people, and don’t beat yourself up for failing reviews as you work on it. And it’s okay to take a breather before you burn out.


A while back I found this post :durtle_hello: Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route :turtle:, and I like the idea/philosophy of it. Worth a look. It’s very much in the spirit of this post. Goals are great, but maintaining motivation over the long-term is at least as important, at least from my perspective.


Comparing to others is never productive in language learning, and I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of the original post. 100%, don’t rush yourself for those sorts of reasons.

But it is important to have a realistic idea of how long you can expect to have to wait to put your knowledge into practice in various ways, and to ensure that you are ok with where you land. Plenty of people on these forums are moving at more relaxed pace, yet can pretty well describe what they do and don’t expect to be able to do by X amount of time, and I think they’re doing this perfectly.

If your goal is anywhere near common conceptions of “fluency,” whatever that means, this is going to take ages no matter how quickly you move along the way. That’s fine because there’ll be some enjoyment along the way – but, qualms about how it was phrased aside, I get why people like @eglepe try to encourage pushing yourself to see results. You can burn out from feeling like you’ve spent too many months or years and still can’t “do enough” too.

All that to say, absolutely, take care of yourself. I think the most important thing is doing your best to keep realistic expectations of both what you can handle AND where your average workload will take you, and making sure the latter aligns with what you’re hoping for.


Same here! It used to be sets of 5 but 4 works wonders now


I think we all have goals. Some might be to get to level 60 asap. That’s fine. Others have the goal to enjoy the journey and make daily progress. I think that is also fine.


I’d just like to say I understand the point of the post and I appreciate the positive sentiment that OP is trying to give off. I think encouraging people to take care of themselves is something that no one can find fault with.

I think where the disconnect is occurring is in what counts as taking care of yourself.

I think this is good advice because you’re thinking of the individual when you say this. What one can handle changes on an individual basis and its good advice in general for individuals to know their own personal limits.

I think the issue is when you say:

I think this isn’t a good thing to say because it doesn’t think at all about the individual or their own personal situation. You aren’t the one who decides when its ok to go slow. You aren’t the one who decides when I get to take a break. Thats between me, my goals, and the standard I hold myself to. It doesn’t feel like you’re thinking of the individual anymore when you tell people the point is to take your time. That just seems like you’re talking about yourself now and pushing your own attitude towards your studies onto others.

Its important to remember that for some people its not ok to go slow in their current situation, because that would essentially mean they’re not being who they want to be. I think thats how it can feel a bit toxic because its feels like you’re trying to talk me into being (what I would consider) a lazier version of myself.

Like imagine if you have two HS students and one is highly motivated, loves school, and wants to get into MIT because thats his dream. The other hates school and is at risk of dropping out completely.

A teacher telling them “Don’t worry about getting all of your school work done. Its ok to repeat a year.”

Might be good advice for person #2 who is feeling overwhelmed over missed work since that might be best for them and is better than them dropping out. For person #1, however, thats like…messed up and toxic even maybe, right?

If you insist on giving blanket advice to both students, maybe something more along the lines of “Just worry about doing your best and remember take care of yourself”

I know its not your intent, but just thought I would do my best to explain why some users (myself included) kinda feel like this advice is harmful.


I think you’ve misread telling someone it’s OK to go slow as telling them they therefore should or must go slow. I don’t think this was the intent at all, despite them saying “the point is being able to take your time.” I think it’s telling people that going slow is an option should they wish to choose it, and that being able to take your time is an alterative way of looking at it, as most people will be putting themselves under too much pressure, which is counter-productive.

I get where you’re coming from here, but that just means this advice isn’t aimed at you, and I think people who are very goal-minded like you are going to pursue those goals regardless of advice like this, but that’s not most people.

Like, I want to stay in shape, but it’s important that I tell myself - because others have told me - that it is fine if I occasionally skip the gym or eat badly or so on. I had to learn to not feel guilty about that because of advice like this. That shouldn’t affect a professional athlete who actually does need to train every day to be competitive. They’re a small minority of “people who work out,” so the typical advice, especially in the form of platitudes between strangers, shouldn’t concern them.

OK, I lied. I don’t want to stay in shape, I want to get in shape.


I think this discussion is so interesting because it’s so individual, and there just are no actual rules for speed.

But the discourse is a hard one to solve because it comes with so much baggage, and tbh I see it just as an extension of the baggage that comes with school and academics more generally. People learn at different paces and in different ways, but school does not really allow for that. And so students who want to take their time or go off on learning tangents etc are discouraged, and students who stick to the structure are encouraged. But now we are (or at least many of us are) out of school and so there’s a pushback against that attitude. Like, I’m an adult now, so I should be able to take things at my own pace and not answer to anyone else about how I should be doing things, and actually the people who are pushing me to conform are the toxic ones. But it’s pretty easy to veer into being toxic in the other direction as well. And I think this is just because our feelings towards ourselves and toward learning, and how we piece those things together are really ingrained into our personalities and a moral structure we were taught as children, about who the “good” and “bad” kids were, and our own feelings about where we fell in regards to that system.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant, I have Opinions.

tl;dr educational systems have a lot of baggage attached to them that we carry around our whole lives and that makes it hard to learn peacefully sometimes as adults. But overall I think this forum is a good place full of mostly thoughtful people.


When you make general statements not aimed at anyone in particular and show those statements to everyone, you really forfeit any right to say “but this isn’t for you”.


Im not arguing a point or opinion necessarily, just explaining why some people feel its toxic. Whether or not those people are justified in feeling that is a separate matter. But it seemed to be hard for a couple users to grasp how people could possibly take this post negatively so I did my best to help with that.

I don’t think theres anything to solve in the first place.

I don’t understand. Weren’t you replying to the thread in an attempt to explain a perceived problem with one of the previous posts? And then isn’t that issue with the way people express themselves/fight about speed a problem you are trying to solve?

I was just offering a perspective that I thought might highlight how this kind of advice can be taken very differently depending on whos receiving it.

I don’t think speed is a problem really, but thats just my opinion. Go as fast or slow as you want.

I meant rather, the way people

not speed itself, which I agree is not a problem.

No I don’t really think the way people fight about speed is a problem we need to solve. I just felt bad for OP since he clearly had good intentions and might be confused why he got some pushback, so I wanted to try to help him understand why people might be upset.


I think that makes a lot of sense. In my family any conflict at all was always a problem to be solved, so I tend to interpret things that way, but my interpretation is of course not the only one…

I think it’s kind of you to explain things to the op (and all of us really) because sometimes on the internet it can be surprising and upsetting to get angry responses to something you wrote if you don’t understand where it’s coming from. That’s what I was trying to do as well, and although i replied to you specifically, maybe I should have replied to the whole thread, it was more of a comment on the general discussion and why i think people have such strong feelings about the topic.


That makes sense. I thought you had a good post, but I wasn’t sure how to apply it to what I said.


When I said “I don’t think this was the intent” I meant I don’t think that part had the intended meaning that you read into it, not that I didn’t read the part of your post where you said you know it’s not their intent to harm with the advice. I should have said “I don’t think that’s what they meant.”

I appreciate what you’re doing here, and my “this isn’t for you” should be aimed at the people giving initial pushback. However, I disagree that OP or I forfeit any right to say that. There is an implied intended audience, and people who don’t want to go slow and don’t need to be told it’s ok to go slow should know they’re not in it. Perhaps OP could have been more explicit about that, but also OP explicitly didn’t say “don’t set any goals”, yet that was the complaint that kicked off the pushback :person_shrugging: