How to get out of tutorial hell for good (it's simpler than you think)

1 to 2 minute read

There's no shame with being stuck in tutorial hell. Even the best of us have been in it.

However, the longer you are in it, the worse it becomes. Over time you become discouraged, and eventually want to stop programming altogether. This is why it's so important to get out of there ASAP or you'll either burn forever in its fire or give up coding entirely!
Do not despair: tutorial hell is actually incredibly easy to get out of. You just need to know how.

Why you're in tutorial hell

In order to solve any problem, we must first understand the source of that problem.

To save you some time, I'll make it quick: you are in tutorial hell because of fear.

The fear that you might fail if you leave the safety of tutorials and start writing your own code.

So let's break that fear!

Why it's easier than you think

As aforementioned, you're only in tutorial hell because of the fear that you might fail catastrophically if you leave the safety of the tutor's hand walking you through the code, making you feel stupid and that you wasted all this time for NOTHING.

The fact is, to put it bluntly, you are entirely correct! You will fail. You will forget some stuff that you've learned in the tutorial, forcing you to go back and watch that part of it again. You will encounter lots of annoying errors and bugs. And that's OK. You're not stupid for it. In fact, smart people go through this every day.

No human on this planet has ever learned anything without consistently failing for a while. That's what learning is: fail and learn, fail and learn, etc... until you've mastered it. If you don't experience this on a regular basis, you aren't a genius, you just stopped learning.

You need to learn how to learn. Instead of just watching tutorial after tutorial, typing every word that your favorit internet tutor is typing, and then go to the next tutorial when you're not all of the sudden a C++ master after watching 1 course, you need to actually apply what you've learned!

But how?, you're probably wondering. Well...


How to actually apply what you've learned

You must create your own project, something incredibly simple and easy to do even for a complete beginner, that doesn't require much time to finish and involves what you've learned.

For example: if you've learned react, try making a calculator. Calculators are generally a good go-to option, but if you're unsure you can just look up easy projects for what you're learning on your favorit search engine.

DO NOT be over ambitious. DO NOT HESITATE to rewatch the same tutorial again for anything you've forgotten.

This is what feeds the cycle: you watch a tutorial, get cocky, try making an overcomplicated program, fail, then watch another tutorial. Every time the cycle is iterated, the fear intensifies, because you're afraid that cycle might never end. The key is to keep it simple.


P.S: While writing this article, I forgot to mention something crucial: Don't just watch the entire 8 hour tutorial straight with no pause for practice in between and expect yourself to remember anything.

Depending on the density of information in the tutorial, stop the tutorial every 30 minutes to an hour and make a very basic project using what you've learned so far if that's possible.

You can also use the feynman method as explained in Richard P. Feynman's book "Six Easy Pieces" (it's a book on physics). Just explain to yourself what you just learned as least complicated as possible using simple analogies, as if you were explaining it to a 4 year old child (don't take this too literally).

Don't use the exact same explanation and analogies as the tutor: make your own analogies and explanation. I recommend you write it down on a notepad to solidify the concept into your brain (ideally use a real life notepad but a digital one is fine).

If you can explain it, then that means you understood the concept; it'll also help your brain remember the information for the long term (because you used the information in an effort to explain how it works instead of just taking it all in at once).

If you can't explain it, that's probably because you don't understand the concept yet and need to rewatch that section of the tutorial again.

Repeat this process and you'll never forget!

The first few weeks are most important. If you slack off after that simple project mentionned earlier, you'll probably forget everything you've learned again and fall right back into tutorial hell!

So if you're learning what you're learning for a specific project, start now! If you're learning to gain leverage in the job market, just do at least 1 easy project like mentionned earlier per week or two to stay sharp.

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