Under Achieve to Succeed

Doing less can give you more

It’s been a crazy week and a half.  I have been getting ready for a very important event at work and a lot of time and energy has been devoted to it.  This has meant that only the most important things in my life have been worked on and everything else has been left.  No, I haven’t updated my status here at the blog, but I have been learning Samoan.  Despite my really busy schedule and preoccupied mind, I learned and perfected my abilities to speak and understand Samoan.

How might you ask I was able to accomplish this?  I under achieved.

How Can One Under Achieve to Succeed?

I know you might be asking yourself some thing like, “How can one succeed if you do less than all you have? ” or “I thought I was supposed to give 110 percent?”   Continue reading



Filed under How to learn

The other language

J (programming language)

J (programming language) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For about a year and a half now, I have been learning languages.  First Spanish and now Samoan.  It’s been fantastic and I love doing it.  Learning and writing about it has become such a great love, but I have been learning another language besides Spanish and Samoan.  I’ve never mentioned it before in the blog, not because I was hiding something.  I just never thought it would be relevant.

How could I not think that learning a language would be relevant to this blog.  Well it’s not a spoken language or even one to communicate with another person.  It’s a programming language.  I have been learning how to program Excel using Visual Basic for Application (VBA for Short).  Though it wouldn’t seem like there is a correlation between learning a programming language and a spoken one, I have found a couple of things that are related.

Start with your own language

Before you start writing code at all you have to understand what it is you want.  I get done a lot faster, with much better code if I can explain and plan out the code in English first.  If I can’t understand what I am trying to do in my own words, then how can I write the code for it?

Same goes with spoken language.  Your own language is a great starting off point.  Write a sentence or a paragraph about some subject you are interested in and then start translating it.  Give it to an expert and have them check it.  Then memorize it and improve it!

Trail and error is a great tool

Trail and error are two great words in coding.  You know what you want to do, but then you get a stumbling block and nothing you do seems to work ok.  So you keep trying and trying till you finally, and probably accidentally, figure it out and it works.  The reason it works is because you were doing something.  The very act of doing helps you get there.

Language learning is like that.  Just keep trying and even if you are not learning something the most efficient way you can, momentum will eventually bring you there.

Just hit record

Sometimes, you are just so stuck with this or that and you don’t know how to even address the issue.  This is often a good time, in office programs at least, to use the Record macro.  You can then go look at the Macro code and tweak it for what you are trying to accomplish.

Sometimes, we also need to just hit record and listen to Experts of our language.  Then pick it apart and tweek it for what you eventually need to say.  Don’t for get that conversations can’t happen by themselves.  You may have to really try hard, but when you are get a chance to speak with an expert/native speaker, pay attention and “record” mentally what they say.

That’s it.  Hopefully this will help you in your journeys going forward.


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First week of Samoan

It was the first week of Samoan.  I liked it.  I’m obviously still in my honeymoon phase, but I am so happy to learn this.  There are so many things about Samoan that are so different from any other language I have tried yet and if you combine that with the fact that my resources are SO much more limited this time, one might think that I would have gotten frustrated rather quickly.

In fact I have learned a lot about Samoan and language learning in general that I though I would like to share with you here:

Old and limited resources are not a problem

The older resources, that are not designed around a language learner Continue reading


Filed under Samoan

Language for 2013 is……SAMOAN

Samoan Beach Fale - Samoa

Samoan Beach Fale – Samoa (Photo credit: whl.travel)

Yes it’s official, I am learning Samoan in 2013.  It was a hard decision to make, but ultimately I want my kids to have an understanding of who they are and where they come from.  Since they are one-quarter Samoan, I want them to grow up appreciating what that means.  This reason was the ultimate reason why I chose Samoan over all the other languages.  It has the least practical use for me and the least amount of resources, but it had the highest motivation for me to learn it.

Speaking of resources, I have collected several resources over the last few months using Evernote and I have already started to a Samoan resource page of the ones I have had a chance to review.  Samoan does not have a large amount of free resources online like Spanish.  A good and bad point is that Samoan does not have a plethora of courses, free or paid, like Spanish does.  This means I am not having to filter through a lot of courses, but it also means I have less to choose from.

All of the resources I will be using will primarily come from 3 course manuals I have got my hands on: The book Gangana Samoa, The Peace Corp’s manual for learning Samoan, and the one I am most excited about is the Samoan for Mormon Missionaries.  The Gangana Samoan book needs to be purchased, but the other 2 are available on my Samoan resource page.

Other Changes

I am planning on making some changes, going forward, to how I blog. Continue reading


Filed under Samoan, Thai

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  So I thought I would post it for all to view for the fun of it….Keep a look out for the new language being announced at midnight of New Years Day, US mountain time.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Hello out there.  Long time no post, right?  Yeah I know it’s been a while, but it’s that time of year.  Time to think about God and time to think about family.  To be honest, I’ve thought about writing something, but nothing has come to my mind.  I’ve been distracted and I am not ashamed to say that I am ok with it, because that distraction was my wife and my kids.  I’ve spent the last few days watching Christmases past and making Christmas memories with them.  I am so very happy to be married to my beautiful Kiwi wife who has given me 4 wonderful kids (5 if you count our still-born son).

Priorities in life are important

To be honest, that is what this blog is all about. Continue reading

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Filed under How to learn, Motivation

The polls leading up to 2013 language

Over the last few months I’ve had a new poll going about the languages I was going to learn.  As the day has gotten closer, more and more languages have fallen off the list.  So I thought you might find it interesting to go through the previous polls and see how the voting ended up:


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What a week it has been!!!

Ups and downs of Language learning

Crazy, crazy, busy week.  I’ve been doing projects at work and almost all my time has been devoted to them.  I love the projects, but it has meant a lot of things have been put to lower levels, including this blog.  I’ve missed it a lot.  There is so much good that comes out of this blog. I truly do hope that I can help others learn languages.  I don’t try to give false expectations on what it does and doesn’t take as a language learner, but I hope to give small advice and encouragement.

All that said, this blog helps me more than I think I help others.  It helps me organize my thoughts, set a game plan and be accountable for what I say I am going to do.  I’m not always successful, but I hope this blog helps keep me going even when things get the hardest.

Since it has been almost a week since I have been able to be on to write, I thought I would give a little summary of the ups and downs of my week.  Despite not being able to write, I have had many an opportunity to feel good and bad.  So here they are.

The Ups

Despite my business, I have kept a solid learning routine. Continue reading

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Filed under How to learn, Progress

What happened?

Image form wikimedia

This has been a crazy week!  I have less than a month to get as good at Spanish as I can get, and yet this week went by with hardly any Spanish being learned.  It started great and then next thing I know, I am looking at a week of very little Spanish.  No progress was made and it’s possible I went a little backwards?

How could I let this happen?  To be honest, at first I didn’t know.  Sure, I have been busy, but that has never been an excuse to not do at least something to move my progress forward.  It’s been bothering me all weekend.  And then suddenly, I realized what happened.  I broke one of my oldest rules!

What rule did I break?

The rule was find an opportunity to learn in everything I do!   Continue reading

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Tis the Season to be Sick

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now. I we...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of year again.  Time for the spreading of Peace, Joy, and Sickness.  When you have a family of 6 people, then you have 6 different ways for disease to come in and spread among the family.  It’s almost inevitable.  The question isn’t if I will get sick, it’s when.

That is exactly what happened this weekend and is still going on now.  Almost everyone in my family was sick for at least one day this weekend.  Most of us are still a little sick, though the end is near.  Sickness has an interesting way to mess up both your routine and your plans.  I did learn a few things this weekend that helped me stay motivated and learn some more Spanish.

Learn “sick” vocab

Look up and use the words that describe your symptoms. Continue reading

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