9 red flags I wasn’t serious about language learning (yet)

Chris Eubanks
5 min readNov 29, 2023
Photo by Barnabas Davoti: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-two-golden-retrievers-playing-tug-of-war-on-a-snow-covered-ground-11249182/

In September 2022, I finally got serious about the Finnish language once and for all, putting in an average of 2–3 hours per day for a whole year. The road to get to this level of seriousness was rocky. I started and quit Finnish several times before this point. Little did I know that the pathway to learning a language seriously requires a counterintuitive approach.

These are my 7 red flags I was not ready to learn any language yet:

I told myself this was a non-serious “hobby”

This is a classic ego protection: set low expectations to prevent future disappointment. This lower expectations, fewer disappointments philosophy does the opposite of its intention. You will never regret anything you tried seriously. Instead you will regret putting your own psychological restrictions on something that could have been big. Even busy people have to be open to a new endeavor becoming serious and requiring more time. To be not open for a life pivot is to have a fixed costs mentality. If something is meant to stay in the hobby stage it will. There’s no reason to deny yourself the possibility that something new could become big.

My ship was sailing in multiple directions

When I first attempted the Finnish language, I was a burnt out digital nomad trying to find life purpose. I had my fingers in too many niches and was never all-in on a single direction. First I was trying to scale my “small space / tiny house design” business. Then at any given time, I had my capital tied up in a random crypto / stock options trade. Despite the monetary gains, the ups and downs of the market robbed me of my focus. I was also making about $25 — $50 per day playing Axie Infinity, when I could have landed any client by sending cold emails instead.

It didn’t matter which language I chose, nothing was going to work out with so many competing life trajectories. You’re probably going to have to drop some fluff from your life to take on a language seriously. Or decide that something else is more important than languages.

My freelance work had nothing to do with languages

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Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge that can't be found anywhere else on the Internet.