By John Sonmez May 5, 2016

Emptiness: When You Don’t Do Things For Yourself

There comes a time in our lives that we simply need to stop and ask ourselves for who are we living for. Today, I received a question from a reader that was literally lost in life. He quit university, he is suffering from serious parental pressure and he seems completely lost. Meanwhile, he is trying to find his space and he is trying to survive all this.

However, at this time, he seems to be motivated and acting as if he was trying to prove his family wrong. And this is exactly my point here. Whenever you try to do things for others, it usually ends up in disaster. You feel empty because when you accomplish whatever it is that you're trying to find, you feel empty.

And this is exactly what this video is about.

Transcript From Video:

John: 

Hey, what’s up, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got this question from Varun. He says, “Hi my name is Varun. I am from India. I’ve discovered your channel a month ago and I’m following you since then. It’s an awesome channel by the way. I know maybe this could get lengthy.” It is a little bit so bear with me here. “Thanks for reading this with patience and bearing with me. I’m 17 and I’m a school dropout. I dropped out because I was bullied, as it turned out as one of the biggest mistakes of my life so far. I dropped in 2013 and my whole life was turned upside down from then as my dad didn’t like that at all. Who does, anyway? It’s also one of the reasons why I’m so strong today from inside. I’ve learned a lot from it. My mom died when I was 2 and he is the only caretaker of me and my little sis since the JYK, no sympathy.” Anyway. He says, “I’ve lost all my hope since then and thought I’d never be successful in my life until I discovered programming. It gave my life a whole meaning 6 months ago. I agree that I was stupid back then. Since then until now my dad has been killing me daily with the words and it’s a lot difficult to learn programming under such pressure and everyone just keeps discouraging me everyday. I don’t mind them mostly. I’m currently learning web dev and I love JS so I’m in fear that I would lose in this battle as my dad is saying that that won’t even fund my internet bills in a few months and he’s just running out of his patience. So as I put all this together, will you give me a best way to deal with this problem in a form of advice or anything like that? I’m also losing my hope everyday and I feel very guilty about myself. Also, I’ve also just recovered from depression so please just say anything as your words could bring a change and will be remembered in my life. Thanks. Enthusiastically, Varun.”

You can probably see why I went and made you listen to this whole long email because I do want to help Varun out and I think that the whole syntax of this or context is important. Varun, here’s the thing. You’re tempted right now to basically prove your dad wrong, to become successful as a programmer in order to prove your dad wrong.

While I want you to do that, I don’t want you to do that because of that because if your motivation is that you are going to prove people wrong, if your motivation is, “Oh those people who bullied me, oh my dad who didn’t believe in me, I’m going to prove them wrong.” What’s going to happen is a couple of things.

One, that might last you a little bit of time but it will fade. Two, once you achieve that you’re going to be so empty it’s going to be worse than before. I know this from experience because I was actually bullied as a kid. I was actually trying to prove the world wrong. So many times I’ve been caught up in this, and every time when I got there and I stood on that hill with that victory flag, it was an empty victory because I had not done things for myself, I had done them for other people. They had essentially forced me to that decision. It wasn’t for me. I couldn’t celebrate the victory and it felt empty because, so what, so you’ve proved everyone wrong. There’s still someone else that’s going to doubt you. There’s still someone else who’s going to bully you. There’s still someone else who’s going to disbelieve in your and discourage you. It’s a never ending battle. You can’t live for other people. You have to live for yourself.

This is the thing, when you find that, when you start living for yourself, when you start having that purpose things will change around. Here’s what I would recommend for you. Again, don’t worry about what other people say. That’s the key. There’s a whole difference about not caring about people and not worrying about what they say. Don’t worry about what they say. Do what you feel is right for you. You’re a man. You make decisions as a man and decide what it is that you need to do and do that thing and ignore everyone else, ignore the haters.

It doesn’t mean that you shut off and you only listen to you and you don’t take in good counsel and advice. Any kind of discouragement and the hate and whatnot, you block that out and you go forward and you drive. The reason why you do it, your motivation is because of you, because this is what you want, not because you’re proving something. You can’t do that. I know you’re tempted but do not do it because you’re proving something, do it because it’s what you want, because it’s what you want for you, because it’s what you deserve. Don’t think that you’re unworthy. You are worthy. You are worthy of having what you want, but no one is going to give it to you. Not only is no one going to give it to you, no one is going to take pity on you. You have to take what you want. You have to do it.

I’m not saying to be a jerk and I’m not saying to step on people’s toes but I’m saying that you have to have the drive and the passion and the focus to do that and to go and take life by the balls, so to speak, and grab it and don’t let anyone else tell you can’t. Don’t live your life either for someone else because you think that will make them happy or to prove someone else wrong because both of those lead to destruction.

Varun, I appreciate you sending me an email. I really hope things do change for you. Let me know, send me an email. I want to know how you’re doing. I want to know how you’re progressing. I appreciate you and I appreciate you watching the channel and all of you out there that watch the channel. If you like this video, definitely subscribe. Talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."