“The first mistake rarely proves disastrous, but the downward spiral of the second, third, and fourth error creates a devastating chain reaction.” Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning

In this passage, Waitzkin was talking about chess; a single mistake won’t end the game, but what ends up happening is a player will keep making mistakes instead of stopping and regrouping.  The compounding errors kill the king.

I’m finding this happening with programming; it’s not the first error you encounter that is demoralizing, but when you see hour after hour and day after day of error messages, you can end up feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing.  Waitzkin’s recommendation:

“…being present at critical moments of competitions can turn losses into wins.”

In other words, Mindfulness.

This last week was really, really tough.  The coming week will, I suspect, be even tougher.  My goal, my difficult thing, for the week: take more regular breaks, regardless of whether I’m doing well or poorly, with an emphasis on meditation and state management.  Then, get back into the game.

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