The MILITARY Approach to Learning How to Code

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I got this YouTube comment from Raul:

“I cant thank you enough for this video. I’ve been a long time listener for your show on and off for around 3 years now, and I’ve been learning web development during that time. Back then It was struggle just to get to grips with CSS let alone JS or PHP, but I’ve always loved the idea of being a freelancer and I watched a lot of your early videos that gave basic principal tips on freelancing that I should have been applying . I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on online courses over the years because I fell into a shiny object [syndrome] and I became convinced that “If i buy just one more course” then I’ll be good to go. I never touched most of those courses. I got to the point where I burned myself out trying to learn a lot of things that really had no relevance to what I should have been learning which was my full stack. As a result I had to take a year break from coding just to see if my efforts in a different field would work out better for me. Things didn’t work out there, but at the beginning of this year I saw your is php dead video and that video gave me the jump start I needed to get back into coding. I already had rob Percivals web dev course so I told myself F*** it let me give this course a shot, but I knew I had to do things different this time so now I’m doing my best to apply the “slow is smooth smooth is fast” approach you described to coding and its been night and day. Now im in the PHP section and while its by no means easy, it doesn’t feel as hard as it did years ago. Thank you for all that you do John, I would not be where I am now without your videos.”

My god, how I can relate.

I don’t know how many times I stopped and started when I first started learning how to code. It’s the biggest thing I regret. So much lost time. Frankly, that’s why I hammer the idea of “persistence” so much.

And why I lampoon the “shiny new language” know-it-alls on Twitter and Medium.

There’s so much to get distracted by.

And, that first crack at learning how to code is hard enough.

But, at the end of the day, it’s about trusting yourself and trusting your own instincts. Very smart people really have a problem with this. Because, most everything else comes easy to them.

And when this doesn’t…

It throws you for a loop.

And, you start questioning everything.

Best advice I can give you is to calm down.

Take it slow.

And, focus on the details.

This is how we trained when I was in the Army. “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Practice doesn’t make perfect… PERFECT practice makes perfect. And, if you slow down and focus on doing it right, not fast…

With time, the speed will come.

And, you won’t end up chasing every shiny object that comes along.

You ARE smart enough.

It’s really about persistence.

Work on that.

Anyway, if you want some help, then grab a membership in my Patreon community. You’ll get access to all my current AND FUTURE coding and freelancing tutorials, courses and source code for just $10/month. Info is here:

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.

Ray Edwards

I recommend John every chance I get. If every person I worked with were as committed to excellence, punctuality, value, and unquestionable integrity… the world would be a better place. Highest recommendation.

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

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John is amazing at building membership sites. He converted one of my sites over from it’s existing (hardly working) platform over to the clean and simple to use WishList membership platform. I highly recommend using John and WishList for any of your membership site needs.

Bob Patterson

Not only is John a very talented programmer and developer, he is also an excellent communicator. He has a talent for taking complex subjects and communicating them in terms that anyone can understand. This is a rare combination. This ability has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge to the next level. Thank you John for for all that you do.

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On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”