The Frustration of doing CTFs and Hacking Challenges.

2 min readFeb 20, 2021


The frustration of not knowing, when you feel you should.

Frustration of not knowing, when you feel you should.
Photo by Eduardo Mallmann on Unsplash

Doing CTFs and Hacking Challenges is one of the most efficient ways of practically learning the ways of a penetration tester.

We usually follow the process of learning a concept, like cross-site scripting or command injections, by reading and writing notes about the topic. But when it comes to actually doing it, it becomes, much harder.

Getting stuck in a challenge, and not being able to figure out what to do next, and having the feeling that you should know it, is not a very pleasant feeling to have.

Nobody wants to fail and feel stupid. It’s encoded in the human brain.
You see, when we as humans fail, our brains release cortisol, which leaves us feeling demoralized, hopeless and disappointment in ourselves.

This has led many of us to be scared of failing, and avoiding what is hard, like CTFs and Hacking Challenges.
But, it’s important to always keep in mind that CTFs and Hacking Challenges are not meant to be easy. If you could just stroll through all of the challenges then they wouldn’t really be challenges, and you wouldn’t learn anything.

There is nothing wrong with looking up a video or a writeup of a Hacking challenge, as long, as you tried your absolute best.

And it truly is important to Try Your Best. Don’t cheat yourself, by looking up a video before you’ve done all that you can to try and figure it out.

Work on finding your weaknesses and work on improving them, that’s after all the whole point of these challenges.

Don’t beat yourself up, you’ll get it eventually, if you just stick with it, and consistently improve.

Things that could help you with the topic at hand further: vs. Not Knowing in Hacking and CTFs Is Part of Success Tedx