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“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” ­Albert Einstein

Only Albert could give us something to ponder while being funny. This brought up a point about the importance of giving yourself a break. You are human. You will make mistakes. You will goof up. You will fall.

Will your mistake end the world? Will your goof destroy your progress? No. You can fix mistakes and goofs. Just realize that making mistakes and goofs are all part of the learning process. Learn from your mistakes. Learn what didn’t work. Learn why it didn’t work.

After re-wiring my brain toward coding again, I realized how silly some mistakes are. Software development languages are quite unforgiving when you screw up syntax. They are also maddening when you think they should do something, and they do something else. Between syntax and logic errors, logic errors are the worst. But, like every other developer before me, there are little hacks to learn, little “tricks of the trade” that allow you to avoid plenty of errors or have a process for finding logic and syntax errors.

The same thing that a software engineer uses can be used in real life when looking at your other projects. Look at the big task, break it down into little tasks, and execute each little task. This is what a computer programmer does because a computer can only work through little tasks to accomplish bigger ones. You must build the code, so your computer knows the variables it will have access to, the functions it will execute, and told when to execute a function or line of code. All these little tasks build up to an end goal, like allowing a person to play a game, do a calculation, or learn if they had enough sleep last week.

We do the same thing when we are looking to accomplish something. We look at the goal. We visualize what the end-state of that goal’s accomplishment looks like. Then we begin breaking the goal down into actionable steps.

I’ve really enjoyed getting back into programming. I haven’t done it seriously since 2005, but it is all beginning to come back quickly. I like the way software engineering requires us to think about what we want to accomplish. Only then can we build code to help us fulfill our desired end.

When you make a mistake and get down on yourself, take some time to contemplate the bigger picture. Each mistake you make helps you move forward—you find out what NOT to do. Learn from these mistakes. They’ll make you stronger—better. I hope all of my readers in the US had a terrific Thanksgiving!

Until next time…

Dave

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