Keep Moving. Don’t Look Up. Don’t Look Down.
Inspiration for the aspiring <%= career_you_want %>, from an aspiring Ruby on Rails developer
It seems to me that learning new things is a lot like hiking up a mountain. The same rules apply. The fastest and surest way to get up the mountain is to put one foot in front of the other and just go.
Don’t look up. Don’t look down. Just go. Keep moving.
If you focus on the mechanics of walking — rather than the mechanics of measuring progress — you tend to move faster.
If you focus on the mechanics of measuring your progress, you create opportunities to deliver bad news to yourself; bad news like: “you still have a really REALLY REALLY long way to go.”
I find this is the easiest way to psych yourself out, and I should know because it literally just happened to me. You pause when you are tired, and then attempt to measure how much farther you have to go.
It’s like you’ve just left the driveway on a 4 hour car ride and you’re already checking the Google Maps to see how much longer.
It’s like you’ve just set a pot of water to boil, and you hover over the pot of water, waiting for the bubbles come to life.
This way of measuring progress is destructive for two reasons: (1) you are spending less time on the skill you want to learn and (2) you are replacing your learner’s mindset with a judgemental mindset.
It’s ok to stop and examine your route. It’s ok to make sure you are moving in the right direction. But it’s not ok to beat yourself up over your progress. This is a long journey. You’re better off spending your energy on putting one foot in front of the other.