Ask DN: Finding the motivation to learn something you've always struggled to learn

almost 10 years ago from , Wannabe CSS god

That something for me is javascript. I've tried to learn it multiple times in the past and it always seems like it's going good, then something will cause a hiccup and it'll put me off because I can't fix the problem or find a solution, so I forget about it for a few months and end up forgetting most of what I've learned because I'm not putting it to constant use.

So, I ask, how do you keep yourself motivated with things you aren't familiar with? I almost feel like I'd need a mentor to keep me going.


  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, almost 10 years ago (edited almost 10 years ago )

    I've been (and sometimes still am) in the same boat.

    Javascript is fun, but can be a tough learning curve. For me it's a bit of two things:

    • Learn the foundation, not the gimmicky trick and flashy stuff. I've found myself lose interest because I was trying to learn something that wasn't the core language and lost interest quickly since it was just a 'flavor-of-the-month'. With that said, I find pure JS and also jQuery to be pretty freaking interesting! And it's rudimentary knowledge that will always be valuable.

    • Build small things and grow your knowledge incrementally. I built one or two websites that did small things but did them well. It can be overwhelming to want to build a huge system with your newfound knowledge.

    • Understand its a marathon, not a sprint. It's really hard to change a mindset or perspective in one swoop so just realize and be okay with it taking some time.

    4 points
  • Andrew McCarthyAndrew McCarthy, almost 10 years ago

    Most of what I've learned on my own has come from the need to solve a specific problem, as opposed to deciding "OK, I'm going to learn [blank]." In other words, I think learning happens best when it's the result and not the goal. If you have an idea that you really want to achieve, and it requires a bit of javascript, you'll be more likely to endure the hours of banging your head against the wall until it starts making sense.

    2 points
  • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 10 years ago

    I have the same exact problem, and so far I've been doing well at continuing my learning.

    If I pay for something, there is a much higher chance I will use it, so I purchased a year subscription to Code School. They are great teachers and there is a huge range of courses covering all skill levels. Highly recommended.

    1 point