April 2, 2021
The strangest thing happens when a colleague hops on a video call and I share my screen. Instead of feeling miserable and stupid, a flip switches in my head and I'm able to crank out more code in just a half hour than I have all day. Besides the obvious way that pair programming is able to get a developer unstuck--referred to as "rubber ducking"--I have found that there's even more at play for me.
There have been times in my past when I'm tasked with learning up to two hours of music on a few weeks' notice, and these types of challenges are very complicated for me. On the one hand, I consider myself a professional musician, and learning songs for a paid gig is something that's expected, and it's generally not considered a big ask, and is often really fun. On the other hand, learning a bunch of stuff in a short amount of time is fucking hard! 😂
It's often during these days of intense practice and learning that I feel like an imposter when I can't figure out the simplest of parts, and there are still a dozen more songs that I haven't even started on. As the deadline approaches, I sometimes even begin to feel dread and regret.
And, yet--when it's showtime--I have no problem knocking it out of the park! 🎉
Whatever happens in my brain between the despair and the performance also seems to happen when I'm at work. I don't know if it's a general brain thing, a musician-brain thing, or a my-brain thing, but I'm willing to bet that it's mostly due to being a performer. When there is a paying audience, the stakes are significantly higher than just toying around on your own.
Likewise, when there are colleagues lending an eye and their time, it's not unlike having a paying audience watching your every move. The stakes are much higher than when I'm coding alone, and I think that's the secret to unlocking whatever part of my brain that pushes me past the finish line when I'm coding or drumming.