7 Steps To Overcome Your Fear Of Coding

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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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Comments (2)

Lyfe Design's photo

Hello Nick I've read a couple of your articles and enjoy your attitude. Ive been dibbling and dabbling with web design for over five years now. I find it enjoyable. I consider myself a problem solver and enjoy doing word puzzles. Which peaked my interest in web design. I've learned some graphic programming. Currently and finally chose the Affinity suites(no subscriptions). I've taught myself the basics i.e. HTML/CSS and have created a few projects. (currently learning WordPress). I've always wanted to Build my own sites. Herein lies my problem and to cut to the chase. *Coding. I knew i would have to learn a programing language. So i jumped right into PHP. As stated i dibbled and dabbled as i have a JOB and enjoyed Designing as a hobby.(staying out of trouble. ;-). Ok Ok im getting to it(been on my chest). While learning PHP. I understood the Logic but had difficulty with the SYNTAX. I understand you are writing a book on learning Javascript. My question to you is. Will you be explaining the SYNTAX of this language. I've watched numerous tutorials about learning PHP. (Javascript next). Why is it that the creators always assume we are familiar with the SYNTAX. They are teaching lessons, just banging away at the code. With no explanation of the SYNTAX being used/created. I've spent a grip on tutorials and am always disappointed at this omittance. I would spend 30% more if these explanations were included. I know I know its about repetition and memory. If these content creators would understand that as a total beginner understanding the logic is difficult enough without understanding the SYNTAX. Why am i placing a #,$,&,{,},(,),! etc. etc. within this script/argument... language. There i finally got it out. Lack of these explanations, makes learning difficult and somewhat confusing. While attempting to understand the logic.(just how my brain is setup).

Im almost sure i am not alone in my conjecture.

It is my hope that while you are writing your Lessons, these omittance's are not assumed for i am surely interested and willing to pay 30% more for this instruction.(it also makes for a good selling point. (which no one does) As Javascript will be my next venture.

I apologize in advance for selecting you and your forum as my place to Rant. It's just frustrating to me as a Newb to have this barrier stifle my objective creativity.

Looking forward to your release. How far out are you? No Fear, just Frustration.

Thanks Lyfe

Nick Bull's photo

Hey Lyfe!

I know that problem.

When you don't understand the basics (fundamentals of language) and struggle to build something complex without them.

It's like trying to build a second floor without the first one.

Also struggled with this when I started.

"Why this guy use !DOCTYPE at the beginning of the HTML file?"

"Why I need to write ; at the end of every line in JavaScript?"

I will try to do my best to cover all aspects of the javascript language.