Why Is Chinese So Hard To Learn?

Chinese is notoriously hard to learn, and with good reason. It is the bane of many Asian students, who spend day and night studying it. Likewise, many westerners and foreigners alike struggle to comprehend the language, even after months and months of constant learning. But why is it so? Why is Chinese so hard to learn? In this article, we shall discuss the possible reasons behind this phenomenon. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: High Stroke Count Per Character

Source: https://www.thatsmags.com/china/post/13288/most-complicated-chinese-characters

One aspect of Chinese that drives many crazy is the number of strokes required to write a single character. Each Chinese character has an average of 12 strokes, making it more complicated than its English counterparts. because of the complicated nature of each character, many struggle to write its characters when first starting out. Furthermore, the Chinese language has 8105 unique characters! Compared to the English’s language mere 26 alphabets, Chinese is a monster. It is exactly because of this that learning new words in Chinese is difficult and require a higher form of memory. Not convinced? The above image contains one of the most complicated characters in the Chinese language. Try writing that.

#2: Words Can Have Vague And Numerous Meanings

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A single character in Chinese may have different meanings, many of which might be vague and hard to apply. Unlike that of English, many Chinese words do not have a direct meaning and may only be used in certain conditions. This makes it very difficult for a learner or beginner to differentiate when to use a word and when not to do so. Thus, phrasing and conjugating words become challenging and require much skill to accomplish. For example, the phrase “反弹” means rebound. Yes, you might think that rebound only probably refers to the rebound of a credit card or basketball. However, “反弹” also can mean backlash or repercussions! As can be seen, Chinese words often have abstract meanings that can be hard to grasp.

#3: Words That Sound The Same Can Have Different Meanings

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This adds to the confusion of the Chinese language. Different characters with different strokes can sound the same! Yes, you read it correctly, many characters sound the same. As such, many phrases may sound identical and may be difficult to differentiate. Again, this makes conversation very difficult to conduct, as a listener might have to infer the phrase’s meaning by considering and analysing the immediate context of the conversation and the relevant sentence structures in which it is used in. This intuition is not so easy to pick up and it may take years before it clicks in your mind.

Conclusion

In short, Chinese proves to be a infamously difficult language to learn, not just because of its complexity, but also because of its unintuitive nature and heavy emphasis on memory. Of course, learning Chinese is not 100% rocket science and can be achieved. It would just take more time and effort to master compared to other languages. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

Life Principles I Live By

Your beliefs, principles and faith determines how you live. These vary from person to person, depending on one’s background, life experiences and of course, upbringing. What you think, how you think, how you speak, all reflect your inner self. All these determines where you’ll go and how far you’ll go in this world. Today, I will share about the life principles I live by and why I do so. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated

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I think this life principle constantly eludes us, especially in the present world. All men desire happiness, love and care. However, do we consider the feelings and needs of others? Often we become selfish individuals, as we seek the ideals of the world. We start to think that the world only revolves around us. This way of thinking is prevalent in many people today, especially with social media everywhere and the inception of the internet. The reason as to why I think that we should all treat others the way we want to be treated is that no man is an island. The world does not revolve solely around us. All of us are part of the same race and have the same needs. Only if we work together, respect each other and care for each other can we achieve and move forward as one humanity. Don’t be afraid to give a hand to those who are in need and lift others up with you.

#2: Do What You Love And You Will Succeed

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In the past, many thought that success can be obtained through sheer hard work and willpower. Well, at least that was the thinking of the 20st century, especially for many Asians. The idea was that if you achieved more, you would be able to live a happier and luxurious life. While it is true that you might be more likely to succeed if you had more qualifications and achievements (again to some extent), you will not feel happy at all. Later, you will start to question the meaning of your success and you will start to detest every single day at work. Without a purpose or passion, success is meaningless and impossible to attain. What I believe is that as long as you do what you love and work towards it every single day, you will gain true success. Not only will you be granted great happiness, but you will also naturally be more determined and persistent. Look at Jeff Bozos and Bill Gates. Both of them have built a net worth of many billions of dollars and they could choose to retire any time. After all, the money which they possess is enough for them to live luxuriously till the end of their lives! However, both of them still choose to work everyday, because to them, their work is play. To them, they aren’t working at all, but doing what they love. I rest my case. Only when you follow your passion can you be happy and successful.

#3: Care For Others, Especially The Poor

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This builds upon principle #1. As humans, we have to be able to care for other members of our race. We should spread love and hope around the planet, and be united. As stated earlier above, we are not alone. We are not islands. We are all interconnected in many ways, even if we don’t perceive it. Yes, caring for others can be difficult and many of us may not have the courage to do so. However, all of us can play a part in helping each other. Some simple acts of love we can do is to donate to the poor, support your neighbours and build friendships. Many, including the poor, suffer not because of their circumstances or what they have went through. Instead, it is because of the indifference of others towards them. In other words, silence in the face of poverty, evil and suffering is the greatest evil among all evils. This is why I believe learning to care for others and the unfortunate is what defines us as humans and as a species. A single act of love is all it takes.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading! I thought that it would be nice to share some of my most cherished life principles with all of you. I hope that you did enjoy this article and learnt something from it. Stay tuned for my article!

The Importance Of Silence

Noise is everywhere. Noise doesn’t just refer to its physical form, but it also refers to its non-physical form, which can be our anxiety, worries, burdens and other negative thoughts. We are pummelled by both physical and non-physical noise as we go about our daily lives. We have decreasingly less time to think for ourselves, to ponder and to reflect. We become too attached to the world and the mind fog that accompanies it. We notice less of the little things of life and become mindless machines. This is why silence is important. Shutting out distractions, taking a break and reflecting are just some of the things you can do to introduce some healthy silence into your life. You might be surprised, but many supposedly beneficial things in the world, such as friendship and money, can take away our capacity for happiness and drain our energy away. In this article, we shall discuss why silence matters in our lives and some ways we can harness its power. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Silence Promotes Concentration

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Silence allows us to give our full attention to a certain task, event or objective. Our brains are not designed to multi-task and we become easily distracted by background noise or certain types of music. Have you ever found yourself unable to focus on a single matter at hand and switching between tasks? A good way to improve your concentration would be to shut out all possible sources of distraction, such as your mobile devices and computer. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you might have read that listening to music can help to increase concentration. Some of you might say, “Hey, that’s contradictory! You just said silence improves focus!” The truth is both are able to improve concentration. However, be careful to music which are not distracting in nature. For example, listening to classical music can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. More details can be found at https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/15/heres-why-you-should-listen-to-classical-music/. These two methods, help to remove mental noise – distracting thoughts which seek to pull our attention away.

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#2: Silence Allows You To See the Bigger Picture

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In the 21st century, we find ourselves moving from one event to another in rapid succession. We become so entrenched in the world’s events and our daily lives that we virtually have no time to step back and reflect. Reflection is a powerful tool in our path towards success and life in general. Every time you get a period of silence, do take the opportunity to think about what you have done for the day. Are you moving towards your goal? What could you do to be more productive? What were the setbacks I faced today? What can I do more for my loved ones? This thinking process helps us to plan forward and improve ourselves daily. This is how you and I can obtain success, step by step, only if we are ready to learn and reflect on what we can do better each day.

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#3: Silence Promotes Relaxation And A Healthy Mind

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Initially, some of us might find silence to be especially grating. This is indeed because we are so used to feeding our minds with countless distractions and overloading it with information. Consequently, we find ourselves craving for them and become unable to focus for long periods of time. Many of us suffer from short attention spans, as many of us have the bad habit of scrolling through social media and task switching. Silence gives our brain a chance to detox and get a hard restart. In fact, silence has been shown to promote neurogenesis, the production of neurones and improve sleep quality. For those of you who have trouble sleeping, you could try to meditate and take deep breaths at the same time. This should help you to feel calmer and better able to sleep.

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Conclusion

Sometimes, all of us need a break from the outside world. Silence is something that almost always eludes us. We must learn to understand its power and how we can utilise it. I hope that this article was a refreshing one and managed to convince you of the power of silence. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe newsletter if you haven’t done so.

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Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Gamble

Some of us might end up gambling from time to time. We are enticed by the opportunity to earn some cold, hard cash. But is it worth your time and your money? Gambling has been shown to be a harmful and destructive habit which destroys relationships and induces poverty. In this article, we shall discuss this topic in further detail. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

#1: You Will End Up Losing Money

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Many become excited by the prospect by earning large amounts of money in the casino or even illegal gambling dens. However, overall, you will only end up losing your hard-earned money. Let’s take a look at an example. About 85% of adults in the U.S. have gambled at least once in their life and the gambling industry takes in about $500 billion a year. Yes, that’s a lot of money. In fact, statistics have shown that over 95% of gamblers end up losing money overall. But how? This is because the games in casinos are handled in such a way that the casinos, otherwise known as the “house”, will almost always have the advantage. Furthermore, casinos leverage on the compulsion of gamblers to keep them coming back.

#2: Relationships Are Destroyed

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People who suffer from gambling addiction may find themselves siphoning large amounts of money from their precious savings and those of their loved ones, just to sustain their habits. Some might even engage in illegal activities so as to repay the debts caused by gambling. Furthermore, these addicts almost always spend large amounts of time gambling and report difficulty in quitting. Consequently, the time these people spend with their loved ones and family decreases, and naturally relationships are broken. A child might be ashamed of his father’s compulsive gambling behaviour, while a spouse might become increasingly suspicious and untrusting towards his/her partner. This is often worsened by financial difficulties caused by the aforementioned addiction.

#3: Mental Health

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By itself, gambling can be a highly stressful activity, with numerous highs and lows. As a gambler becomes increasingly consumed in the activity, he/she might experience mood swings, anxiety and decreased self control. He/she might find himself/herself worrying constantly about whether he/she will gain or lose money in the next run. Losing money can be extremely uncomfortable and demoralising for such individuals, thereby triggering explosive outbursts of anger. This is just the tip of the iceberg. After a long period of time and without changes to such behaviour, the individual might find himself/herself in financial difficulties. This is worsened by the broken relationships caused by gambling. As such, the individual’s stress might culminate to a point where he/she thinks of suicide. To add credibility to this point, research commissioned by a leading UK gambling charity, GambleAware, found that gamblers were six times more likely to have thoughts of suicide or attempt suicide.

Conclusion

Gambling is not a reliable way to earn money and most of you who have done so before might find yourselves losing large amounts of money. I hope that this article was helpful to you, and if it was, do give it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next article.

Here’s How You Can Increase Your Productivity

It’s easy to get distracted. A notification alert from your mobile phone is enough to throw you off course. We end up procrastinating and we never get our tasks done. So, how do we increase our productivity? This article will show you exactly how to. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Clear Your Surroundings

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By getting rid of potential causes of distraction, you are better able to focus on your task at hand. Can’t stand that mobile phone? Put it in a separate room. Can’t stop fiddling with markers? Chuck them away. It’s that simple. Still find that you can’t focus at home? Find an environment that suits you. It could be the local Starbucks, a public sitting area or even the park.

#2: Download Apps That Lock Your Phone Temporarily

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For this, I recommend Forest. Forest is an excellent productivity that locks your phone for a selected time. While your device is locked, the app will “grow” a virtual tree, which will be added to your garden. However, using your phone before the timer ends kills the tree. This app provides you with additional incentive to complete your tasks and stay off your phone. At first, this might seem hard to accomplish. However, seeing your trees in your garden will provide you with an unrivalled sense of satisfaction and achievement.

#3: Listen To Music

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You might have thought that steps #1 and #2 were enough. However, the silence of your surroundings can be incredibly unbearable. Music helps to fill this void and quietens your mind, thereby providing you with concentration. Of course, the choice of your music matters too. Take care not to choose music that would distract you. For example, listening to rock music makes some people tap to its rhythm. I personally recommend listening to classical or orchestral music.

#4: Avoid Multitasking

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Believe it or not, when you multitask, you actually aren’t multitasking. Mind blown? What you really are doing is switch-tasking. By nature, the mind is unable to focus on two or more items at once. So, by “multitasking”, you are shifting your attention constantly from one item to another. Naturally, the quality of your work diminishes. The solution to this problem is completing your tasks in a straight line. In fact, this is a tactic used by Samurai warriors when they are outnumbered. They will position themselves in such a way that their opponents would move in a straight line towards them. This allows the Samurai to focus on one opponent at a time. This concept can also be applied to our daily lives. Instead of overwhelming ourselves, let us focus on one task at once.

Conclusion

So that wraps up 4 ways you can increase your productivity. We all know staying focused isn’t easy sometimes and that our distractions can get the better of us. I hope that this article was helpful to you and if it was so, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

The Importance of Habits

There are many things we do everyday without a second thought. Our bodies automatically react and act accordingly to the cues of our surroundings. These are called habits. Some habits are great, while some others are destructive. The habits we possess defines who we are and who we will become, as actions speak louder than words. However, we must realise that our habits are the driving force behind our actions. In fact, the importance of habits is often ignored and overlooked by many. This article will discuss the importance of habits and how they influence our lives, even in seemingly small ways. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s hop right in.

#1: Habits Define Who We Are

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Habits determine our identity and the way we see ourselves. For example, if you play badminton regularly, you might see yourself as an athlete. Likewise, if you write regularly, you might see yourself as a writer. Your perceived identity influences most of the actions you take in your life, your values and guiding principles.

#2: Habits Can Lead Us To Success or Failure

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Good habits inch you closer to success while bad habits nudge you closer to failure. The actions we take everyday due to our habits, while seemingly insignificant, influence how we manage our finances, set our goals and work towards them. Good habits like reading, for example, provides us knowledge related to our fields. The habit of planning a timetable also helps us to use our time wisely and productively. However, bad habits like smoking wastes your hard-earned money and damages your health. It could also be as simple as being addicted to that latest mobile game or playing tons of ranked Mobile Legends everyday. These habits above waste time and decrease productivity, thereby leading you away from success.

#3: Habits Help You To Be Productive Even When You Feel Unmotivated

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There are days we find hard to be productive. You might have worked a long shift the previous day and missed out on sleep. The good news is that habits require little willpower to work. The University College London defines habits as “behaviours which are performed automatically because they have been performed frequently in the past. This repetition creates a mental association between the situation (cue) and action (behaviour) which means that when the cue is encountered the behaviour is performed automatically. Automaticity has a number of components, one of which is lack of thought.” Your body naturally acts the way it has multiple times before, with minimal to no effort. However, there is a limit. If you haven’t been sleeping for the past few days, even your habits can’t save you as the human body can only go so far.

#4: Habits Provide You With Calmness

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As stated under point #4, habits help to simplify our lives. We no longer have to use our precious willpower to get something done. As a result, we are provided with calmness of mind as our stress to get things done is removed. We start to lead happier lives as our minds are able to focus on the more important things of life. Indeed, a detached mind naturally possesses clarity and makes wiser choices.

Conclusion

Habits play an important part in our lives. We must learn to master the power of habits and use them to our advantage. If you are interested in learning how to build habits effectively, do visit my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/30/how-to-build-a-habit-effectively/. On the other hand, if you would like to learn how you can destroy a habit, visit my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/05/how-to-get-rid-of-a-bad-habit/. If this article was in any way helpful you, do consider giving it a like! Thank you for reading!

Wooden vs Mechanical Pencil: Which To Choose

At some point in our childhoods, most of us have wondered which writing instrument is the best. Some of us used mechanical pencils in our childhood and continue to do so today in the workplace or for general use. However, some of us are die-hard fans of wooden pencils. There are many possible reasons to the choice we make and this article will attempt to address this age-old debate. Before you continue reading, do follow me on and subscribe to the newsletter. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Reasons to Use a Mechanical Pencil

#1: It’s Eco-Friendly

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A mechanical pencil can last for years, that is if you take good care of it and don’t break it. In fact, mechanical pencils are more durable than wooden pencils, as they do not require sharpening and can survive the occasional fall. Furthermore, some mechanical pencils are made out of recycled plastic or metal. Thus, choosing a mechanical pencil helps to reduce your carbon footprint and save the environment.

#2: It Doesn’t Require Any Sharpening

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We’ve all been there and we know how annoying or frustrating sharpening a pencil can be. A mechanical pencil, however, requires no sharpening. Even if you break the lead, all you have to do is push more lead out by pressing the top button and you are ready to write again. It’s that simple. Another point to note is that the length of a wooden pencil decreases with increased sharpening. Eventually, it becomes so short that it virtually becomes unusable. A mechanical pencil, on the other hand, faces none of these issues. Amazingly, all you have to do if you run out of lead is to refill your mechanical pencil with more lead.

#3: It Provides a Sense of Ownership

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Mechanical pencils are able to withstand heavy amounts of usage and can last for decades. Unlike their wooden counterparts, they are completely reusable and are able to provide a sense of ownership a disposable wooden pencil can never provide. For those sentimental folks out ther, a mechanical pencil will be a great writing instrument which will always remind you of past memories.

#4: Mechanical Pencils are More Ergonomic

Source: https://wowpencils.com/pentel-graphgear-1000-review/

Unlike wooden pencils, which can be quite painful to hold after hours of usage, most mechanical pencils come with a rubber or metal grip, although the latter usually comes at a higher price. As a result, mechanical pencils are more comfortable to hold over long periods of usage. For example, the Pentel Graphgear 1000, as shown in the image above, comes with a metal grip with inbuilt rubber pads for a more comfortable writing experience.

However, there are also some reasons as to why some people prefer to use wooden pencils.

Reasons to Use a Wooden Pencil

#1: Artistic Use

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Wooden pencils are widely used by artists nowadays and for good reason. Shading with a wooden pencil is much easier as a mechanical pencil usually only produces fine lines. A wooden pencil can also be much easier to hold while drawing on an easel as it is lighter than mechanical pencils which may have a metallic body.

#2: It Is Affordable

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For those who rarely use pencils, a wooden pencil is good enough. 5 USD are enough to buy 24 pencils or more (a pack of pencil usually contains 12 packs, so this means 5 USD is enough to afford 2 packs of pencils which gives 24 pencils), which is quite a lot for casual use. This is way cheaper than a mechanical pencil, which may cost about 1 to 40 USD depending on its quality. Furthermore, mechanical pencil lead may cost another 1-3 USD per pack. However, for long term use, I would still prefer using a mechanical pencil.

Conclusion

A mechanical pencil is way better than a wooden pencil due to its durability, reusability and simplicity. However, some might like the feel of a wooden pencil while others might find a mechanical pencil more convenient. Whether or not to use the former or the latter depends entirely up to you, although I must say I prefer using a mechanical pencil. If this post was useful to you in any way, do consider liking this post and comment down below. Stay tuned for my next post!