What's wrong with me? I can't stop!

I think I might need an intervention.

I have this thing, this disease, where I always have to try to figure things out on my own instead of just looking up to see how it’s done and moving on.

Today, for example, I thought, “I’m going to make a carousel slider from scratch”. It worked, but it took me a couple of hours. Instead I could have looked up the code somewhere, read it over to make sure I understand it and moved on to the next thing. When I was done with that, I started wondering how to use the mouse scroll as input to control elements (such as when you scroll down a page and it speeds up and snaps in place at the next section) so I played with that for a while.

The only thing I “look up” is the most basic statements and syntax and spend all my time trying to assemble them in a way that works instead of being more efficient and learning at 5x the pace, which is what I should be doing.

How do I stop wanting to figure it all out on my own and “seeing if I can do it”?

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Do you enjoy figuring things out or don’t you? Simply copying code makes you little more than a machine. It’s one thing if you’re on a deadline and just need something finished, but if you enjoy intellectual challenges, then why would you want to stop?

He meant to say he’s wasting precious time learning things too slowly, doing them the hard, unefficient way, and he is looking for help to fix his behaviour.

@GitCoderr I don’t know what could be done, but you could try to “overwrite” the goal to “see if I can do it” to “see how fast can I possibly do it”.

And I counter that this is not a waste of time, but an expression of his natural creativity. I would further say that simply copying code that already exists to solve a problem is the inefficient route, and that he’s probably learning a lot more by tackling these problems. In fact, problem solving is the most important skill in any of our tool belts, and the only way to improve it is to solve problems. Reading code will absolutely not have the same effect.


With the exception of hard deadlines (which I think you know make this behavior problematic), this is a good thing. You might not get projects done as fast as other people at first, but you will have a much deeper understanding of them than someone who just copy/pasted or even someone who followed a tutorial. The only real question you have to ask yourself is whether you enjoy working this way or not. If you do, then keep it up :slight_smile: Exercising your brain like this will pay dividends in the end.

I’d say you’re going about it the right way. There’s no better way to learn code than to build things. That includes just looking up the “right” way.

All the best programmers I’ve ever known (and they are just a few) were insatiably curious to learn how the things work from existing materials, and try things to see if they got it right, and only after they felt they understood all the most important parts would they start toying around with stuff.

And no, I don’t say that he should copy-paste, but that he should try to copy by manually write that code, then fiddle with it trying to understand the logic behind it, how it works, and (depending on the code or architecture) why it works that way.

But hey, that might be because I’m usually procrastinating and don’t write code untill I understand how to because I try to delay things… or it might be because I subcounsciously realise that I shouldn’t learn the framework, but the architecture (so I shouldn’t learn that piece of code so I can copy-paste it from my mind at any time, but understand it both as a whole and deconstructed into pieces, so I can not only use it the way I’ve seen the code, but in many other possible ways).

I understand … i have being saying to myself … post a question for a solution … but i keep on googling my problems till i figure out what to do from post i see on the subject or something similar … on the positive side i always seem to find a solution or something similar that i can adjust and manipulate to sort out the problem. Downside is though is i waste a lot of time on something somebody probably knows the answer too and if i posted i could move on and do more. I suppose i should put a limit on how much time i should spend googling a problem might make me more productive … but i feel it will be a hard habit to start.