Patience – Mindfulness and software development (3/8)

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That’s a no-brainer. Learning new skills always requires patience. That’s definitely the case with mindfulness, but anyone learning to use a new programming language, platform, or project management method for the first time will also need some time until everything becomes second nature. Since technologies in software development by their very nature have a short lifespan, it’s extremely helpful for software developers to have a positive attitude towards learning new skills. And since new skills take time and energy to learn, it’s also very helpful to have the necessary patience.

So far, noting new. But it’s not that easy to stay aware at all times that learning takes time. We often get frustrated when change doesn’t come as quickly as we would like and then assume that our efforts have been fruitless. James Clear explains the phenomenon (in my opinion) very accurately in his book “Atomic Habits” [i] He believes that we expect a linear development of new skills, but in reality there is a certain starting hurdle to overcome before things really get going. There is a mismatch between the expectation and the real-world development of skills at the beginning, where frustration can quickly arise:

Development of new skills, expectation versus reality (based loosely on “Atomic Habits”, James Clear)

If we don’t rise above this discrepancy, we never achieve what we expect. But that doesn’t mean we have to go through the frustration. Once you realize that learning takes patience, the frustration disappears. Just like that!

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