When you get stuck, it’s really easy to block yourself from creatively solving your problem.
You start asking “why am I so dumb?”, or thinking that you don’t have a programmer’s brain, or feeling that you’ll never understand anything.
How is that helpful? It isn’t.
The way we talk to each other (even to ourselves) impacts our performance. It’s not self-help BS. It’s how our brain works.
As Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of my favorite neuroscientists, shows in this short video, “The Power of Words is in the wiring of your brain”:
You see, transitioning into tech is going to take more than just improving your coding skills.
As a developer, you also need to learn how to learn and to manage the hard times.
The purpose of this guide is to help you use your determination to build up a ladder you can climb instead of digging yourself into a hole 🕳️.
Let’s learn how!
The Unstuck Guide for Developers
These Thoughts and Questions will help you re-frame your perspective when you’re feeling in a rut on your coding journey.
Here is how it works:
The ❌ is the Negative inner voice that doesn’t help you. It’s a sign it’s time to change your perspective.
The 💭 is a Thought to help you see things from a different perspective. Our brains are really good at making us believe that what we feel and think is true, even when it’s not.
The ❔ are open-ended Questions that can help you get closer to a solution.
❌ I am so dumb.
💭 I’m not the only one struggling to transition into tech. I am doing what I can!
❔ Is this how I want to be feeling? What can I learn from this situation?
❌ I will never understand any of this.
💭 Feeling frustrated is natural. I can choose to see this as an opportunity to develop my problem-solving skills.
❔ What am I missing? Who can I reach out to and ask for help?
❌ I don’t know enough to figure out what’s going on.
💭 I’m learning and I’m getting better every day. Figuring things out is part of the journey.
❔ What makes more sense to do now? What questions can I ask?
❌ I’m so slow at coding. Everyone else is faster than me.
💭 There’s no way I can know for a fact how other people are doing. Everyone is different and has their own pace.
❔ What assumptions am I making?
❌ I’m not good enough at programming.
💭 I am good enough. This is a moment of frustration and I choose to take care of myself.
❔ How else can I think about my coding journey?
❌ I will never get an early career developer job.
💭 It’s a tough market out there for anyone without experience. Even experienced developers are getting rejected.
❔ What is possible? What are my choices?
Next time you feel like you can’t see a solution for your problem, go through the Thoughts and Questions from this guide. Bonus points if you go through this guide after you take a mental break 🧠.
Remember: we recommend doing this exercise on paper! According to Dr. Randy Paterson (on an interview for the hexdevs podcast), when you do this exercise on paper, “you begin realizing that many of the things that you’ve been using to tear down your self-esteem… When you write them down and look at them, you realize they don’t actually make sense”.
Learning how to develop a growth mindset will make a big difference. That’s what I wanted someone had told me when I was transitioning to tech. Now, I want to be that person for you 🌱.
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