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Learning to Code: When It Gets Dark

A Handful of Useful Mind Tricks Addressing Your Innermost Fears

Let’s talk about how to stay on track. How to keep learning when you feel like there is just way too much to learn. How to keep going when it feels like you’re never getting that first coding job.

You find yourself thinking: “Maybe I’m just not cut out for it?”

It’s like a cloud that follows you around, blurring and distorting reality, so that it can present the case of how bad and hopeless the situation is and how there is no way you can do it.

Well I don’t know about you, but for me this happens every 4–5 days.

I have been learning to code since November 2014, slowly immersing myself into the field. I’ve used all sorts of resources: books, online courses, online challenges, blog posts, tutorials, etc.Free Code Camp has heavily influenced my learning by putting a positive spin on coding, and a clear path to advance along.

During that time, I often had to fight off my mind’s tendencies to scare me off the path. I am almost sure that you also experience this from time to time.

Steven Pressfield has famously dubbed this force “Resistance” in his book The War of Art . I highly recommend that you read this book. I find myself using the lessons from it on a daily basis (some days even by the hour).

In this post I will share some mental techniques that I use to dissolve the negativity “cloud” — the Resistance — that can be so hard to beat. All of the advice is based on what I’ve learnt so far, and if you have other ideas — please share them here as well!

I’m going to skip the most common motivational advice (which is usually too broad to be actionable), and focus on uncommon but effective advice. I’ve used these techniques and found them effective, and I hope you will, too.

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