Using leverage

A wonderful idea that comes out of Chinese martial arts is that of ‘four ounces redirecting one thousand pounds’. It refers to a kung fu master fighting with someone many times larger and physically more powerful. The master knows how to move and how to touch the larger person in such a way that the power is redirected, the master is unharmed, and the assailant is defeated. The Japanese call it aikido. The Chinese talk of  tai chi. The same principles apply. That’s leverage. Efficiency. Multiplication. Minimal effort for maximum gain. The point is, as you learn your new language, always look for words and phrases in the language that are ‘efficient’ and that give you ‘leverage’. Something that’s efficient is a part of the language that gets you a lot in return for a minimal amount of effort. Start by finding the one or two words that you can use many times in a day.

To remember:

 A word gives you leverage if it helps generate interaction with other people, if it can be used in many different places, and if it leads to other people talking a lot.

Remember to look for the following types of word:

Words that get a reaction. Like question words.

Words that can be used all over the place, many times a day.Such as ‘skeleton key’ words.

Words that get native speakers to tell you new words. Pointer words, such as thing, there, that, sort of words.

Words and phrases to communicate politeness. Please, Thank you, and You’re welcome.

I’m going to find this kind of words. I’ve found out some frequent words, and  over time I can remember them by hearing them over and over again without consciousness. However, I need to be actively involved in the language learning. Firstly, I will find some words that I can say it many times  in a day, and to practice them over and over again until they become natural and automatic for me.

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