- Harendra Kumar Kanojiya
It had been far past midnight. My wife and children had long since retired to their beds. Sleep, on the other hand, was not an option for me. It was up to me to sort it out. So, for the umpteenth time, I modified the code and clicked run.
The software should run the "calculate next move" function if I click here. Yes. And if I click here, that function should be invoked automatically. Good. If I click here now, I should get...nothing.
How did programming become a pastime for me?
I had gotten dissatisfied with my creation-to-consumption ratio during the previous few years. I spent much too much of my leisure time consuming. The list goes on and on: Netflix, podcasts, Twitter, magazines, televised sports, Facebook, blogs, Medium, newspapers, books, and so on.
None of these activities are inherently bad, but they are all input. Consumption extends to even reading a fantastic book.
Sure, I was putting out a lot of effort in my profession as a writer, but I couldn't accept the reality that I only worked hard when I got paid.
With a family, a work, and other responsibilities, I only had so much spare time. I was consuming way too much media during that time. I was also feeling like a pig.
So far, my programming pastime hasn't yielded much in the way of results. In a recent essay, I described how I created one basic app. On freeCodeCamp, I accomplished all of the front-end tasks and projects.
However, it's a start. My purpose is not to impress people by creating beautiful stuff. It's just to immerse oneself in the process of creating, to challenge myself, to take on a tough task if only for the sake of completing it.
The more difficult the task, the better.
Make Your Day Harder is an initiative to increase physical health in my home province of Ontario, Canada. The core assumption is that minor changes to regular activities to enhance physical activity add up to better health.
Instead of taking the elevator, take the steps. One stop before your location, get off the bus. At work, find the parking place furthest away from the entrance.
This group's motto is "Perhaps easy isn't really better..."
I completely agree. Those far-parkers who despise elevators may be onto something.
However, I don't believe it's a leap to claim that learning to programme is beneficial to your brain. At the very least, it's better for you than binge-watching Iron Fist or scrolling through famous Instagram profiles.
Even after I started coding, my default mode of relaxation is still much too frequently leisure. I've already spent dozens of hours this month watching genetic outliers throw a ball at a metal ring. The NBA playoffs are also known as this. You might also call it self-inflicted suffering because I'm a Toronto Raptors fan.
Is it true that watching so much basketball – alone, in my basement — is beneficial to me? When I watch sports, I tend to drink more beer. Nachos, wings, and potato chips are among my favourite foods. Mike and Ikes have appeared on multiple occasions. Oh, and because I frequently stay up late to watch West Coast games, I am getting less sleep.
To put it another way, watching sports is a vice for me. It's fun for me, but it's harmful for my health. It entertains me, but it doesn't supply me with anything else. Except for love handles and a mid-afternoon yawn attack, that is.
But it's simple. It's a piece of cake. Lie down on the couch. Open a bottle of Corona. Raise your feet. Allow three hours to pass.
The simple way out is more appealing. It is more satisfying to choose the harder way.****
Embracing the challenge
While seeing the film Hidden Figures, I was reminded of the importance of accepting adversity once more. A clip from John F. Kennedy's "We Choose to Go to the Moon" address was used in the film. The US pursued space flight not because it was difficult, but because it was difficult, according to the president.
"We chose to go to the moon and do the other things in this decade not because they are easy, but because they are difficult, because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one that we intend to win, as well as the others." ― President John F. Kennedy
The adjectives "tough" and "hard" are frequently used to characterise anything bad. In many circumstances, this is correct. It's difficult to see a loved one become ill and suffer. When a relationship ends or a pet dies, it's difficult to move on. There are times when it's all agony and no gain.
Learning a tough skill, on the other hand, is valuable in and of itself. The award is in the process. While annoying, tinkering with coding is good for the intellect.
Many people study programming in order to achieve a certain purpose. Perhaps your current employment is monotonous and you desire a more challenging position. That's not a problem. Perhaps you want to get into technology because you need more money to support your family. Someone needs to purchase the bagels and flip flops, and someone has to keep the WiFi on.
However, you don't need a goal in mind to begin coding. Just get started. Don't give up if the path becomes difficult. It indicates that you're on the correct track. This is the difficult one.