What Coding Taught Me About Confidence

This has been a stressful few days, which is why I haven’t posted at all since last week. Every moment I’ve spent in front of my computer this week up until this point has been writing code, lots of code, for my class. Before that though, there was a lot of worrying about if I could even do it. Why am I writing about this? Because I learned something valuable this week from my journey to become a programmer, and I wanted to share that lesson.

When I was in grade school I struggled with math, to the point where I often get overwhelmed with my homework. My parents had to do everything short of physically force me to do it, and I resisted because I didn’t have the confidence to even start tackling the work. It would stress me out, even before I started really struggling with my anxiety. Shutting down and feeling unable to tackle something because I didn’t have the confidence has been a pattern throughout my life.

This brings us to Wednesday night of this week, I was faced with this project that I didn’t have confidence in myself to be able to complete. I felt dumb, I felt like this was all a mistake and I should just drop the class and rethink my life. I thought “how am I going to get a job doing this? I’m just not good enough, I don’t even know how to start this project!” I went to bed, depressed and ready to throw in the towel.

I woke up the next day just feeling bad about myself, but I decided I had to try because I’m already going to have to pay for this class I might as well try to tough it out. Worst case scenario, I fail this project and hope for the best next week. So I grabbed a coffee, and sat down at my computer to just try, and before I knew it I got in a groove. There were setbacks, but I worked through them, and by the end of the day I had what was a pretty decent start to the project. Nowhere near done, but enough to make me realize “oh, I actually can do this”.

Anxiety often tells us we can’t do things, whether it’s because we’re scared, or we just don’t feel that confident. It’s easy to let that get to us, and cause us to avoid trying. But the fact is, we have to try. Worst case is we learn something new, best case is we surprise ourselves. Either way, I’d say that’s a pretty good risk to take.

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