Embrace the suck: An Infantryman's guide to becoming a better developer

Type: Lightning Talk
Tags: Development, Personal Growth, Culture, Wellness, Mental Health
"Dude, sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."
---Jake the Dog

Anybody who has ever under taken a physically demanding task knows that physical feats are not driven by strength, they are driven by our will. For me this revelation came in the Army. I figured out early on that no matter what happened to my body, if I could endure mentally I would survive. I learned to embrace the suck, that pain is only weakness leaving the body and that my attitude directly correlated to what my day was going to be like. This belief was put to a real test about nine years ago. I almost lost my legs and arguably my life in Iraq. But as my belief dictated, I survived.

As web devs we are almost never confronted with physically demanding tasks yet we still view problems the same way. We think if we try hard enough, if we want it enough, if we spend enough time, then a solution will present itself. We tackle a bug in our code the same way an athlete would tackle a physical limitation. We fail to realize it is not our bodies that are quitting on us, it is our brains.

In this talk I will discuss the importance of retraining our minds to allow for failure. I will reshape the idea you have of what it is to preserver and I hope to equip you with the tools necessary to not just survive the suck but to thrive in it.

Presented By: James Schultz

Student @ Galvanize
Hmmmm, who am I? I am originally from Mobile,AL but I have been in Colorado since middle school. I have been living in the actual city of Denver for just over two years now and am slowly learning all there is to know about this awesome place. I am an Infantryman turned student, turned bouncer, turned red bull employee, turned student again. I entered the Galvanize web dev program just over 3 months ago and at 30 years old, finally found something that I am passionate about, coding. I think my interest in coding stemmed from a curiosity about how the world works but it has grown into something larger. I see coding as an invaluable skill. It is the power to fix things you had no idea were broken and to affect real change in the world around you. Becoming a developer is uncomfortable. You are constantly exposed to new view points and different ideas and ways of doing things you never thought existed. In this environment you have no choice but to grow. I love it. I have never been part of a community so diverse, so interesting and so intelligent in my life. Hmmmm so who am I? Well like all long winded, self indulgent paragraphs I will end with a quote. Aristotle once said "We are what we repeatedly do..." if that is the case, then I am a line in the console that says "unexpected token" but I am hoping to change that.


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