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7 Steps To Overcome Your Fear Of Coding

nickbulljs profile image Nick Bull Originally published at blog.nickbulljs.com ・4 min read

Most of us who have a fear of coding, in reality, have a fear of failing.

Even if we haven't started learning a programming language yet, we already think we will fail instantly.

Why do we think like this?

There are can be a bunch of reasons:

  • We think that it’s too difficult.
  • We think that we are not meant to code.
  • We think that it’s too late and we are too old.

And the list goes on.

But let’s face the truth. All of them are just excuses. And behind every excuse, we hide a fear of failure. That is what is stopping us.

And we will never start anything when in our minds we think that we will fail.

We tell ourselves, “Why do I even start something if I fail?” We have no reason to start because we think that we will not succeed. That is why we have a fear of programming. We think that we will not succeed.

To overcome this you should reprogram your brain to success.

Here is how.

1. Talent to code is not exist

Most people mislead talent with ages of practice. We always say “This person is talented” when we see higher than average results. When in fact, this person began to practice from an early age.

It is very easy to defend our failures with the word “talented.”

What you should do is to start practicing. Start to code for just 30 minutes every other day. It doesn’t matter how much you code at first, you just need to start doing it.

2. Choose problem, not the language

Most people start their coding journey from the wrong step. They chose the programming language first. But you need to start with a problem.

We don’t write code just to write code. We solve problems with the code.

So you should find some problems or projects that you are interested in.

Ask yourself, “Why do I want to start coding? What motivates me?”

After you find it, do some research to figure out which programming language is most appropriate for your project.

3. The Pareto Law in coding

You don’t need to know 100% of the programming language to start coding or build things. Apply Pareto law.

The Pareto law states that for many outcomes roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. In other words, with knowing 20% of the programming language you can build 80% of possible things (in reality numbers will differ.)

So start with the fundamentals of the programming language, and then go deeper into it if you need it.

I don’t recommend falling into the rabbit hole of some language specification at first. Your learning path can be extended for months. Start from basics then go deeper.

4. Focus on one thing

Learning more than one or two languages at once produces a lot of bad outcomes:

  • You are distracting yourself.
  • You delay when you actually start building things.
  • You don’t see any big progress and start procrastinating.

The cure is to pick one language and stick with it. Stop switching back and forth between programming languages. **Multitasking is not working. **Focus only on one thing at a time.

5. Build things

The fastest way to learn something is to practice.

For our brain, if you gain knowledge without applying it, it’s a waste of time. It will simply forget it. So you need to put your knowledge into practice.

Watching YouTube tutorials? Open text editor and code what you just learned.

Learning web development? Choose a small project and start building it.

Play and experiment.

6. Fool your brain

Most of us instantly procrastinate when we open our to-do list and see a task like, “Create a website.” We know that it is very big. We know that we need to put a lot of effort into accomplishing it. So we just “Nah, maybe tomorrow.” but “tomorrow” never comes.

To defeat our laziness and start doing, we need to fool our brain. We need to convince him that it is very easy to do our task. Here is how.

Split your big task into small ones. Each small task should be completed in no more than 2-4 hours.

Todo list before:

Tasks:

  1. Create a website.

Todo list after:

Tasks:

  1. Buy a domain name.
  2. Create a website design in Figma.
  3. Create a home page UI with CSS and HTML.

Now, when you open your to-do list you need to take less effort to start when you know that each task takes a lot less than a couple of weeks.

Without starting you will always be learning.

7. Fear setting framework

And the last one, my favorite, the fear setting framework by Tim Ferris. He is an author of the New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek and host of one of the most popular podcasts in the world, the Tim Ferris show.

A fear setting framework can help you overcome your fear of coding and other fears that are holding your back.

Here is how to do it (full version).

  1. Make three columns and label them “Define”, “Prevent”, and “Repair”.
  2. In column one, define everything you fear about the idea of taking action.
  3. In column two, list ways you could reduce the likelihood of each of the worst-case scenarios from happening.
  4. In column three, list ways you could repair the damage if this situation were to come true.
  5. Assess the impact of these worst-case scenarios on a scale of 1-10.
  6. Assess the potential positive benefit of these successes on a 1-10 scale.
  7. Make three columns on the page and label them 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years.
  8. Write down the potential costs of inaction.

In the end...

I hope these seven pieces of advice can help you to start coding and achieve what you want.

Remember, when you bind yourself to failure, you will fail.

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Discussion (8)

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

Talent to code is not exist

I disagree. While talent isn't everything, it does play a role, and some people will find programming easier to learn than others.

The fastest way to learn something is to practice.

Couldn't agree more. Theoretical knowledge is important, but practising your skills is the most important aspect for learning something.

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nickbulljs profile image
Nick Bull Author

Thanks!

For me, talent = genetic predisposition.

The first commercially available language was FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), developed in 1956. Logically, only people born from parents who coded after 1956 may have a genetic predisposition. But this is too short for evolution to give you the gene of a "good coder". So you can probably have good problem-solving skills by genetics, but not a genetic predisposition for coding.

PS: It's just theory that pops up in my head, not pretending to the truth

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

For me, talent = genetic predisposition.

I'd agree with that statement, but disagree with how narrowly you apply it. There's lots of factors that can help with coding; from having a good memory for language constructs to finding it easy to visualize code paths and algorithms.

It's a complicated topic because, while I do believe not everybody can do anything, talent is too often used as an excuse to play down peoples achievements or excuse ones own failings. But I do think with coding it's like with art: Everyone can learn how to draw, but not everybody will be hung up in the louvre.

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nickbulljs profile image
Nick Bull Author

There's lots of factors that can help with coding; from having a good memory for language constructs to finding it easy to visualize code paths and algorithms.

100% agreed. Coding has smaller parts inside (math, problem solving, etc) You can have a genetic predisposition to solve logical problems, but not actually a genetic predisposition to coding. People mislead it with "talent to code."

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

When people say "talent for X" they usually don't mean "genetic predisposition for X", but just any genetic factor that helps with X, so genetic predisposition for all those "smaller parts", I'd argue, would also be considered (part of) a "talent to code".

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jwp profile image
John Peters

Anyone can code, it's the ability to focus and remain interested that matters most as you pointed out. In this day and age of computers I've always wondered why some people don't want to learn how to program, but I've been one for 30 years now. I'm a bit biased.

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armsofsorrow profile image
ArmsOfSorrow

"For our brain, if you gain knowledge without applying it, it’s a waste of time."

Damn, this one hit close to home. That's essentially how I felt pursuing my degree 90% of the time.

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uvinduharshana profile image