Progress Happens

The guy who is quickly becoming my coding guru, Brad Traversy, has a series of videos on his YouTube page called JavaScript Cardio. They include the type of exercises you might find yourself having to answer in a job interview. When I first started learning JavaScript, I’d look at stuff like this and feel absolutely befuddled. Now I actually find it FUN and feel pretty confident in my ability to get at least one solution for most of the problems. So, how did I get here?

I run a lot, and usually with purpose. In other words, I have a goal race, and I outline a training plan leading up to that race and more or less stick to the plan. As I train, I’ll have days where I feel good, strong and fast, and days where I feel sluggish, slow and lame. But usually, when it’s time to show up and race, my hard work along the way translates to a result I feel pretty good about.

For me, learning to code, and I’m mostly talking about JavaScript here, has been a lot like that in the sense that, as a result of putting in a consistent, fairly structured effort to get better, PROGRESS HAPPENS.

There are days where I feel dumb as a rock and question all of my life choices. Then there are days when the clouds part and the sun shines and something just clicks (and maybe there’s even a rainbow!). Those are the highs and lows. In between, there’s a steady chipping away at the giant pile of stuff I don’t know, and a gradual, almost-imperceptible increase in size of the pile of stuff I do know. I often feel like I’m not making that much progress, until I have to “show up” and I find that I know more than I think.

I ran track in high school and college. I was sprinter, and I thought distance runners were insane. I occasionally had to run like 3 miles for a workout and I cursed my coach the entire way. If you asked me then if I’d ever run a marathon, I’d have laughed till I cried. Now I’ve run five of them, and about a dozen half marathons and it’s one of my great joys in life.

If you asked me, say three years ago, if I’d find JavaScript exercises fun, I would have probably said something like, “Haha, right. My brain will never work that way.” Yet, here I am! I just recreated an online child support calculator from scratch and it was really FUN.

The point is, you may not think you’re making progress on something, because it’s hard or it doesn’t come naturally and quickly to you. But if you put in the work, if you show up every day and do what you promised yourself you would, you’ll be pleasantly surprised in the end.

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