Hey, I never said I focus only on the bare minimum. I learn words and phrases that are, presented to me to learn (e.g. here on WK or other platforms), that come up often enough (in anime for example) or which just seem interesting and/or useful.
The numbers I mentioned are just approximations and don’t refer to a fixed list of words anyway. They also don’t mean that when you have the more or less essential vocabulary in a language, that you’ll understand everything in depth in everyday conversations, but that you at the very least get the gist of it.
Edit: And after a certain amount of words learned, the rest almost comes by itself. That’s how it was for me with English. After I got the base vocab and grammar down, I was able to deduce the meanings of many words just from the context(s) they were used in.