How do you silence the idiot in your head?

Short and Simple Question: How do I shut the idiot in my head up? Anyone have any mental tricks?

I suffer strongly from what I would call presque vu or tip of the tongue when I am doing my reviews. I can only describe it as trying to remember a mnemonic, but an idiot in the back of my head is screaming a wrong answer be it a kanji reading or, even worse, a synonym for a word. Let me give an example of what keeps happening to me with a personified anecdote.

Higher Brain: okay, so it ended with く… what was the dumb story again for–
Reactionary Brain: KAKU! It’s KAKU like KAKUDO and KAKASU!
Higher Brain: Those aren’t even–
Reactionary Brain: I won’t shut up until I see red! Enter KAKU and prove to me that it’s wrong!
Higher Brain: Exasperated Sigh 告=かく (Red flares up, checks to see it’s こく)
Reactionary Brain: Oooooh… Well, we knew KU!
Higher Brain: Okay… next. The meaning of 訓. It began with an I…
Reactionary Brain: Investigate?
Higher Brain: No. We’ve been over this. Not every kanji is investigate or research.
Reactionary Brain: Interefence?
Higher Brain: No. You’re only guessing that because it starts with an I. We know that’s a vocabulary word, not a kanji.
Reactionary Brain: Incindiary, Idiom, Indecisive, Idiot, I can’t think straight?
Higher Brain: (Hastily types I can’t think straight to get reactionary brain to shut up.)
Reactionary Brain: Oh… Instruction! That was gonna be my next guess!
Higher Brain: No. It. Wasn’t.


I don’t give it time to think at times like those. That’s when I speed run reviews. Do I know it instantly? No? “Eee” it is and keep moving. You end up seeing the word/kanji more and getting more opportunities to associate it with the right reading/meaning. It might hurt your accuracy, but I think it helps in the long run. You get faster at reading and recall this way.

So not a direct solution, but a way to bypass it altogether


I have similar problem but not as much as your. What I’m doing is I try to take things slowly when I heard the stupid voice in my head. It’s not really stupid but it’s just false informations or doubts in your memory bank. So when it happens I just go dive down in to why I memorized it that way and clarify things so I wouldn’t make the same mistake again.


Hmm… I don’t know how my brain would react to that. I know I’d overflow my apprentice items like that. How many items are in your queue with that strategy? I’m currently sitting on 53 items I haven’t tried learning yet because I keep hitting sequences of failing things right now and I’m scared to overload considering I had to reset levels because of compounding failures before.

Do you mind giving an example? I am the type of person who forgets where I put the list of things that I needed to write a list for remember something, so delving into root causes of memory lapses could be many things.


Like this:


What kind of time are you putting into WK right now? Do you zero out all your lesson or keep them at a certain amount? If you zero out your lessons, it’s probably not a good fit.

It works fairly well for me, but I can handle having 200-300 reviews a day so long as I do them at least once a day. My apprentice varies between 100-150 usually.

Sorry, I misread that. Do you mean you have 53 lessons, not apprentice right now?

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I’m not good at memorizing anything either. For example, when I was a kid, I’m really bad at subjects that heavily rely on memorization like history, biology, chemistry, etc. On the other hand, I’m really good subjects that about understanding the formula like math, physic, computer, etc. Interestingly enough, when I reach my adulthood I found history are fascinating. I’ve read a lot about history and I remember all of them. It’s not about memorization it’s about learning.

So my approach to learning anything is I don’t try to memorize them but I will try to understand them. For wanikani I will make clear visions in my head what those radicles and mnemonics are. When it comes to vocabulary I read many sample sentence I could find on the internet to know what context they could be use in.

Hope this helps

ps. I’m so sorry my English grammar is not going anywhere because it’s just too hot in the afternoon so my brain is not functioning lol.


Please. I need more Higher Brain vs Reactionary Brain interactions.


Yes. Right now, I just pushed myself from 100-ish apprentice items to 72 apprentice itens with my last review. I find that I will forget about half of my master/enlightenment items and half of those will become apprentice again, so I try not to take on too much at one time. That’s what happened with my last reset, items just got overwhelming and it exploded on me to where I walked away for a bit and came back to WK and reset.

Thank god I am not alone in this. I learn via asking and rephrasing what I hear as well as visually or mechanically. I am good with directions from A to B, stories, and subject matter, but I am terrible with no-context answers like answering a date or a name. If I can’t make the radicals form a sentence or derive meaning of a kanji from a sequence of words, it’s like trying to remember someone’s name on a flashcard, which then Idiot Brain starts shotgun blasting until something works and I’ll probably forget it down the line.

Higher Brain: Dirt sliding out of your mouth is definitely a disturbing image, but I am not sure how this will get me to remember 告 and こく.
Reactionary Brain: Yeeeah. I think that is gross. I mean, if I wanted to announce something, I’d just vomit rainbows. That’d get folk’s attention for an announcement. Should we remember it as we らん rainbows of vomit to attract attention?
Higher Brain:


This gif hurts my teeth


Y…You don’t like my little ponies? :fearful: :pleading_face:


Well, no


Is that even possible? :thinking:


I totally get it. Slice of life isn’t everyone’s thing and… you can easily find veeeery troubling things in that fandom. To each their own.

Apologies to your teeth. My mother and brother grind their teeth in their sleep which is not pleasant from what I’ve seen from their dentist visits.

Back to the topic at hand though (or hoof considering the GIF mood I’m apparently in), outside of pass-fail for longer periods of time, any other mental things I might consider? I’ve researched the topic myself which helped me find presque vu in the first place, but really nothing actionable.


Sounds like your System 1 and System 2 are in disagreement. And this is absolutely normal for human beings. I’d say the more you practice, the more accurate your automatic replies will be. Maybe there are some shortcuts for avoiding System 1 quick judgments, too, but are you sure it’s the thing that causes issues for you?


Try these exercises to calm down your nervous system. It doesn’t seem like much, but it really helped me to improve my reviews. The brain works much better when you’re calm and relaxed.

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my consciousness is the idiot in my head :sob:

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In that case, I think it would better for you to try quick recall. Although you might have more reviews on average, it should go faster and this way you’ll get more exposure to the kanji and vocab too.

I’ve trained mine to be right a majority of the time by failing quickly and reinforcing the right answer. So in my case, second guessing the idiot gives me wrong answers. :joy: