Your brain is far more elastic than you give it credit for.
A few years ago, my dentist told me that I was damaging my gums by brushing too hard. He advised me to switch hands when I brushed my teeth. Valuing my teeth and my health, I began to use my other hand. It was awkward. It was challenging. And it worked to prevent me from trying too hard… for a while.
Over the course of the next few months, I witnessed my brushing awkwardness disappear. Those annoying spots to reach were suddenly easy. Fine motions that take careful control were doable. I became adept with either hand.
What was evident to me was that it’s possible to do anything with practice. Too often, we sell ourselves short. We think we’re incapable of doing that one thing. We don’t try because of how convinced we are.
Well, I think we’re lying to ourselves.
We have the same frustration that I see in my young son when he can’t color in the lines perfectly. The difference with him is that he is constantly encouraged to keep trying. In that trying, he gets better. His practice is continuous. That one thing that was impossible for him becomes possible. Like children, our practice should be continuous.
As for my gums, perhaps I should learn to brush with my feet.
If you want to chat about this with me, I'm @mblayman on Twitter.
Carpenters, painters, illustrators, and many other craftspeople collect tools over the years as their experience and skills grow. These tools help produce better work. Similarly, developers can create their own personal toolbox to perfect their craft. In this post, you can learn ways to manage your toolbox.
Matt is the lead software engineer at Storybird.
Always eager to talk about Python and other technology topics, Matt organizes Python Frederick in Frederick, Maryland (NW of Washington D.C.) and seeks to grow software skills for people in his community.