Over the last couple weeks in my new project I’m working on, I came across something that stumped me. I’m trying to program my game and get the player character able to use spells and ranged attacks on enemies. This requires some reasonably complex calculations to make sure that everything happens just right – walls block properly, and the attacks go right to the desired target as designated by the player. It may sound simple in principle, but over the last two weeks, I wrestled with finally getting this right.
In total, I probably spent about 30 hours figuring it out with many, many tries. Each time I learned how not to do it. Even now, I look at the programming I’m doing and think to myself, “Gosh, I’m a noob at this.” But that’s okay! It’s day 76 of the year now and I’m still hard at work at completing this project. Between that and watching my dividend stocks and Prosper lending account grow, I feel very blessed with the opportunities I have in my life.
Pushing through this latest part of my project was difficult. My tendency is to just go do something else when I don’t know how to do something right away. I can see that this isn’t just my problem to deal with. As humans, I think we deal with this psychological problem all the time. Looking at my kids, for instance, I can see how quickly they want help or get frustrated when they are trying to do something they’ve never done before.
I believe there’s a great reward whenever we tackle something we’ve never done before and do the necessary work ourselves to figure it out. Sure, it is ok to use the Internet (which I did heavily), or ask other people. But the learning really only occurs by doing it ourselves. I now know programming collision detection much better and I would not have learned this had I had someone else do it for me – or do most of the work for me.
The lesson here for me is whenever something presents itself that you don’t know right away, resist the urge to do something else, but instead push through the task at hand. I know it’s easier to go to ESPN.com, Facebook, Email, or your favorite game. I know this because that’s what I’m tempted to do when I’m presented with a situation and I don’t know how to do it. But there’s a great reward and satisfaction when you finally figure something out for yourself. And the skill gained is equally valuable.
What have you had a hard time figuring out, but finally did? What are some of the things you get tempted to do when you don’t know how to do something and don’t feel like figuring it out?
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