Hello Fellow Codenewbies 👋,
You read an article or a Tweet on how someone becomes successful. That person's journey then becomes a motivation for you.
If they can do it, I can do it too!
Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a good thing. Motivation is one of the factors that keep us going.
But one thing that we often forget, most of those successful stories also come with struggles.
And we tend to focus on the after stories and not the struggles.
Some people avoid sharing their struggles and they have their own reason to do that.
But we all know that there is no rainbow without rain. There is no going up without being at the bottom at one point.
This post would be different than my other posts. I honestly hesitated to write, let alone publish, this article. But I decided, I will share my recent experience as a self-note and reminder for myself. Also, as a lesson for you to acknowledge when to take some breaks.
I've been through a massive burnout not long ago.
I'm saying massive because it almost made me want to quit my learning journey.
Does it surprise you? Well, it did surprise me for sure.
All those years that I put into learning could've been gone in one day. Just like that.
I've experienced burnouts before. But with some days of break (or procrastination), I usually will start fresh.
This time it was different. Taking a break didn't make me feel better.
It started with me having hard times understanding some concepts. Then I forgot many things; things that I've learned and done quite a lot before.
I had imposter syndrome, a panic attack, and got so frustrated that lead me to think of quitting.
It was a smooth start for me at beginning of framework learning. So I forgot completely that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. I was rushing things. I wanted to add more and more to learn until I got stuck in one point.
I noticed that I started to get frustrated. But instead of taking a proper break, I pushed through because I didn't want to lose the momentum. I asked questions, I even got some mentoring from some friends. I got some light after the mentoring sessions, but the next day, I got confused again. And I was too embarrassed in asking for more help, especially because I wanted to ask for help on the same topic.
At the same time, many people that I know got a new job.
I'm super happy for them, but I also felt that I'm still far way behind. And that was also one of the reasons I wanted to rush things.
- Rushing myself in learning things.
- Ignoring the signs of burnout.
- Not taking a proper break.
- Not sharing my struggles.
- Comparing myself to other people.
those are the things that lead me to massive burnout.
This would be different for each person, but here what I did:
I did notice the sign of frustration, but I kept pushing through because I didn't want to lose the momentum.
Instead of being in the momentum, it pushed me away even further.
When you read the sign of frustration or burnout, take a step back. You won't lose your momentum. You're recharging yourself to go further with more energy. Whatever you do, it won't go anywhere, waiting for you to come back.
Though it was a bit late, I finally took a step back and took a break.
What I emphasize here is not to feel guilty when you decided to take a break. Let your mind off from your learning, your work, and be present. Have fun!
My mistake was, when I took a break, I felt so guilty for having a day or more off from learning. I did things that suppose to make me feel better, but my mind kept telling me, "Why can't I understand it? Why am I doing this while I should learn and try harder?"
I got much better after took one week off from learning without feeling guilty at all.
Taking a real break from whatever you do is essential for your mental health.
I finally shared my struggle with some friends. To my surprise, I wasn't the only one who got frustrated in not understanding what I'm learning.
After doing that, I felt the big burden lifted from my shoulders and I got my motivation back.
Struggling is not a sign of weakness or being defeated. It's one of the learning processes that many people are experiencing as well at one point in their journey.
Don't feel embarrassed. Do share your struggles.
People around you could give support only if you tell them what's going on. And a bonus to that, you could get back your motivation.
After I shared my struggles, one of my friends told me this.
Change your mindset from learning or doing to experimenting.
When you learn something and you don't get it, you could get frustrated and stressed. Or when you do a project, and you get stuck, you could encounter the imposter syndrome.
But with the mindset of experimenting, what you need to do is to try until you understand. Until whatever you do works.
No scientist knows in the beginning how to produce a vaccine for a new virus.
They do research, many experiments, and tests until they find one.
The mindset of experimenting develops a sense of curiosity rather than failing.
I like this mindset. I started to apply this recently and it makes me feel everything is all right, even on my bad day!
Gentle reminder: Everyone's journey is different and unique.
I can't compare myself to someone who's able to put more time into learning than mine.
I better not compare myself to someone who can understand things faster than me.
The only thing I can compare is where I am now and where I was before.
Looking back and see where I was 2.5 years ago and now where I understand much more things than a single line of HTML is huge. And I completely forget that!
And now, instead of beating myself up for "being slow", I'm learning from my friends who got the jobs. I asked how they got there, and what do we need to get there. Experiences are the best teacher. Not only ours but also other people's. And I'm very lucky to have friends who share their experiences so I can learn from them.
You (and I) should celebrate more. Celebrate our accomplishments, doesn't matter how small it is!
Last time, I bought myself a cute pen for being able to render a component without looking back at the tutorial. Sounds silly? Well, it was a small win after all!
I could encounter another burnout in the future. If that time comes, I will look back at this post, and remind me that I was there before and I survived.
I hope this could help you as well if you're in the same situation as I did 😊
Thank you for reading!
Last but not least, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊