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Healthy Difficulty: Dealing With Frustration and Confusion

Published 5/20/2015

In this episode, I discuss the origin of difficulty and confusion, and how we can better deal with these things on a day to day basis. It turns out, frustration and confusion are some of the most important experiences in our lives.

Today's episode is sponsored by Developer Tea! Go to OneMonth.com/developertea to get 25% off now!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. Today is your inspiration episode for the week. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I am talking to you about healthy difficulties. We seem to look at difficulty as a negative thing. And in fact we often look at difficulty as if it is a thing in and of itself. We see difficulty as being too much to handle too often. And in fact difficulty is an artifact of change. Difficulty comes as a result of confusion or discombobulation. It comes as a result of not being agile enough to be able to handle a particular situation. And I don't mean agile in the sense of the agile manifesto or the project management revolution that's happened. I mean quite literally we are not able physically or mentally to be able to take the challenge on that is at hand that is when we experience difficulty. And in fact difficulty is the evidence of change a year ago or so. I decided to become a little bit healthier. I decided to lose some weight and become a bit more active. And this is a very common trend amongst developers but it doesn't make it easy. In fact I joined a gym and I started eating better. And it was very difficult initially to get used to the taste of the new foods that I was eating. It was difficult to convince myself that going to the gym was a better idea than staying at work later or a better idea than spending my time in front of a television or going out to eat. The truth is the experience of difficulty is the artifact of change in our lives. It's what's left over when we try to change courses. We are very much following science when we follow in the ways that we've already been going. We gain momentum in some ways not literally but when we think about the ways that we have developed taste for a particular type of food. When we try to switch away from that food to a new food it is new and it's jarring and it's not comforting. In fact it is quite difficult to change to that new food. In the same way if you're trying to learn a programming language that is unfamiliar to you you experience difficulty and that difficulty is coming as a result of your confusion and because your brain is wired to work with the patterns that you've already created with other programming languages or perhaps with no programming language at all to make reference to you're trying to forge a new path entirely. That is also quite difficult because you're creating brand new connections in your brain and guess what? Our brains are lazy. They're very good at being lazy. I'm going to tell you a quick tip about how to deal with difficulty as soon as I get back from this very quick sponsor break. What if you could learn to build anything in one month? Well with one month dot com you can just ask anyone of the 20,000 students who have learned to code on one month dot com by building real websites and applications complete with payment systems security solutions and full stack deployment. You can start without any prior experience in just 15 minutes a day for 30 days all online. That's because one month hyper focuses on applied techniques that you use immediately in the apps you are building as part of the courses. One month's courses are the easiest way to learn new text skills including Ruby on rails, Python, content marketing, growth hacking and more. And the best part is if you get stuck there's always someone there to help you out while you learn. Yes, that's a real person not an automated computer. So enroll now at one month dot com front slash Developer Tea and get 25% off your first month. Now normally access to all courses cost $99 and access to one course usually costs $49 but with the special URL you get full access for just $74 or one course for $37. That's less than $3 a day or if you do a single course is just over $1 a day. And enroll now for 25% off your first month at one month dot com front slash Developer Tea. So I promise to give you a way to deal with confusion but you actually already know it. You already know how to deal with confusion your brain is great at this particular thing since we were children we learned through the process of becoming confused and understanding why we are confused and working to figure out that confusion. And that's because our brains create narratives in order to make sense of the world. For example, a study showed that when somebody was put in a situation where they were trying to solve anagrams and they were being distracted in the background by a phone conversation one group of that study was being distracted by a phone conversation that was only one side of the conversation. And the other group heard both sides of that conversation and which one do you think was most distracted we might initially think that the group that heard more auditory stimuli was the group that would be more distracted but in fact the group that heard the one-sided conversation was more distracted and that's because we have a natural built-in system in our minds that tries to make sense of chaos that tries to make sense of the world. And that's because we have a natural built-in system in our minds that tries to make sense of the world that we are confused and we are confused and we are not talking about the world. And that's because we are confused and we are not talking about the world. The way of dealing with confusion is understanding that confusion is not bad. That is the simple takeaway from today's episode. Understand that confusion is not bad. In fact, confusion is one of the best things that can happen to you because it means that your brain is going through the process of feeling in the blanks and that is how we learn. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Developer Tea. I hope that you get confused today. I hope that you become profoundly confused and that you get into a state of frustration and difficulty. When we experience difficulty, it is a product of confusion and when we experience confusion, we learn and learning is a good thing. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. If you are enjoying these episodes, there are over 70 episodes available on Developer Tea. Make sure you follow the show on Twitter at Developer Tea and you can email me at Developer Tea at gmail.com with any kind of feedback that you have about the show or with the question which I will try to answer on air. Once again, thank you so much for listening. I hope that you will join me again and until next time, enjoy your tea.