Why Am I Doing This?

At the end of another week of language study I was repeating my review of past tense verbs (again!!). By objective and subjective measures I made no progress during the week and miserably asked myself, “Why am I doing this?”

In the constant battle to live more intentionally—to act and not to be acted upon—it’s a great question. Three questions, really:

  1. WHY am I doing this? (What is this really helping me accomplish?)
  2. Why am I doing this? (Is this the best use of my time, should someone else be doing this instead of me?)
  3. Why am I doing THIS? (Is this thing the best way to get to my goal and does it even need to be done?)

The question works on the strategic, tactical and task level.

  • Strategic: Why am I doing this? I believe learning a language will make me a better person and give me a better brain.
  • Tactical: Why am I doing this? I believe completing my daily goal in Duolingo is an effective tactic for language learning.
  • Task: Why am I doing this? Duolingo says I’m having trouble with past tense verbs.

Asking in the moment and from the task horizon produced an unsatisfactory answer (Why am I doing this? How many times am I going to have to go over these damn verbs?). Asking on the tactical level (What else can I try to get these verbs learned?) produced a new tactic: Set up a lesson through italki.com. The problem didn’t escalate to the strategic level, but it might later.

h/t Derek Sivers