About This Talk
When we get stuck, we often have feelings of frustration, doubt, and stress. In my talk, the Beauty of Being Stuck, I argue that being stuck is a good thing. It's an opportunity for growth and an indicator of progress - something that can be hard to come by as a developer! By changing our mindset around this tough situation we are better prepared to get unstuck. Finally, I'll discuss the different types of being stuck and offer tips to get unstuck.
- A new way to think about being stuck.
- The "Ok Plateau" and why it's so dangerous if you're looking to improve.
- Different ways to get unstuck.
- Brain Pickings - The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the “Ok Plateau” of Performance & Personal Growth
- Quote slide 23-24 - Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer, pg 171
- Joshua Foer: Step outside your comfort zone and study yourself failing
- Carol Dweck - The Power of believing that you can improve
- Desirable Difficulty - Make it Stick, Brown et al. pg 68-69
- Four Kinds of Stuck - Jeff Wofford, 2011
- Illustrations from Pixeltrue Packs - Minimalistic Illustrations
- UNC Learning Center - Tools and Tips on Skimming
>> Click here to download slides
🌈 Comment below and ask me questions — I might just answer them during my live speaker discussion!
Jonathan Yeong is a Senior Developer at Shopify and a Rubyist at heart. In his spare time, Jonathan produces videos about all things programming and writes on dev.to and CodeNewbie Community about topics that matter to early-career developers.
Connect With Me
This on-demand talk is part of CodeLand 2021 — a virtual conference brought to you by CodeNewbie & DEV on September 23 & 24, 2021.
Top comments (28)
Heyo! If you have any questions for Jonathan (@jonoyeong ) please drop them here! 🙏
We're gathering up these questions for the live speaker discussion coming up later on. 📣
I'm early on in my learning journey. I've been coding little one page vanilla JS apps just to practice and on a couple of them have felt completely lost before starting but eventually after the coding equivalent of throwing spaghetti at a wall figure it out on my own . You said in your talk there's value in reaching out for help when you're stuck and I'm sure I would've solved these problems faster with guidance but is there also value in just hacking at it until you get something that works?
Yes for sure! There's no hard and fast rule, it's all guidance. And everyone has their own way of approaching a problem. I'd still suggest using a timer to set how much time you hack on a problem. In a job you might not want to spend too much time on a task. And even though you might happily hack away, it may be a detriment to your work.
A timer is also a nice break, and a point to pause and reflect on how far you've gotten!
Thanks for the response!
Wow - the first 45 seconds of this talk make me feel so seen LOL.
Question: what do you think are the best indicators for a person to identify what level of stuck they are on? I know for me, I struggle mightily with when I need to take a break vs when I'm just going down the wrong path. What are some of the warning signs to look for?
Hahaha yay I'm glad it was relatable! Also, great question! Knowing when to take a break vs going down the wrong path comes with practice. The more you get stuck the better you get at getting unstuck.
Some indicators that have helped me in the past have been:
Hope these help!
getting unstuck is possibly the greatest temporary high in programming. until you hit the next block.
so trueeeee, its roller coaster of emotions haha
Figuring out what the question is always seems like the hardest part. Escaping the woods by learning greater concepts is a great answer to that, but even figuring out what concepts you are missing can be tricky if you are lost enough
Amazing talk Jonathan! Those examples really got us. This is definitely going to be helpful for the audience. The connection you made with as growing as a developer was amazing! Thank you!
(Going on YouTube and Twitter to subscribe and follow :)
Thanks for a great talk, Jonathan 👏🏼
The intro was so relatable! I really appreciate the mindset that being stuck is evidence of progress. I find myself getting lost in the woods fairly often. Do you have advice for how I can prevent myself from going down a rabbit hole when trying to nail down the concepts I'm stuck on?
I mentioned this in the panel, but setting a time limit is the best advice I can give. When that timer goes off, that's an opportunity to step back and figure out if you're making progress. If you're feeling like you have more to learn then keep going. Otherwise, stop, take a break and come back to the problem. Or ask for help!
Amazing job with this talk Jonathan. You gave really great examples on being stuck and how different "types" of being stuck can be solved in different ways. The perspective shift from fearing being stuck to acknowledging it as growing as a developer is one that I will have to practice and adopt. Thank you!
Thank you! I appreciate it!
This was fantastic! There's a lot of valuable pointers here, and it's all conveyed with a sense of humor. It's been quite beneficial to me as I learn to code. Thank you for the extra resources, as well!
It's almost like there's a link between learning your way out of getting stuck, and learning your way out of imposter syndrome (community.codenewbie.org/metzinaro...)
but i'm stuck on what it might be....
Thank you for such a great talk Jonathan! It was great to hear the trials and tribulations of being stuck can be restructured for good! It's difficult to overcome being stuck as a newbie but your insight will make these instances less terrible! Thanks again! :D
OMG, it's not an exaggeration! Though mine typically goes D-A-Gaming-B-OkayMoreGaming.
Sometimes I feel like I need some of that doggo math. Just wag and press on, lol.
Love the analogies, Jonathan! Breaking it into categories where we step back and ask ourselves what kind of problem we're facing gives us some space from the issue as well.
Thanks for the talk!
Great talk, enjoyed it.
I was stuck in a project this week but after taking breaks helped me think outside the box and find a solution.
Good talk about a common experience. I think how many times you get unstuck is a key difference between a beginner/hobby developer and a professional. Loved the editing, made it fun to watch!
great stuff @jonoyeong ! It really is important to let go and take a break so you can pass that sticking point.