By March 9, 2017

Programming Is HARD And I Feel Unmotivated!

Programming is HARD, right?

At least this is what some programmers think. Today I've received a question from a reader telling me that he felt that programming was hard and he felt unmotivated.

He couldn't learn and he spent all day at home watching TV and etc… He couldn't just get his life ahead and go on with his projects.

So… How do we get around this? How do you find motivation so that you become a software developer?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what’s up, John Sonmez here from I got a question. This was kind of a funny title, although it’s not a funny thing, but it’s titled “Programming is Hard and I Feel Unmotivated, What Should I Do?”

First of all, let me point you to a playlist on motivation that I’ve got. I’ve got a lot of motivational videos and dealing with working when you’re not feeling motivated. You can come back and check out that playlist later, but I just want to give it to you now upfront for those of you that are really curious about this because this is a big problem. I’m going to go through the email, it’s a little bit long but I think it’s probably worth going through here.

He says here, “Hello! I hope you could help me. I’ll write it as simple as I can. I’m 20 years old now and I think I wasted my life.” Sorry, I can’t help but—yeah, you’ve wasted your life. Man, you wasted 20 years! What are you doing? You wasted like how much of your life. Gosh, it’s too late. I can’t even help you. It’s just too late. “I am interested in programming for almost 2 years. My goal is to be a full stack web developer and a Java developer. I really want to be a successful programmer. I have a lot of free time now, around 6 hours every day, someday more, someday less. I really want it, but sometimes I am unmotivated, I feel really bad, sad, etc. I have feelings like – I am not a genius, programming is very hard and just for very talented people. It makes me feel sad, and it’s a way to procrastinate more. IN these times I just sit on my couch, with bad feelings, and just watch TV saying, ‘Someday or tomorrow I’ll start again.’ As you know, nothing will happen. It’s very helpful and I love your work, what you’re doing for us, I love your videos. Could you help me? Is it possible to learn frontend and Java together? Later also backend? Do you have some tips for me? Do you have sources, courses, communities where I can join for motivation, programming tips or something like that? Yeah, I know that you have a lot of videos about motivation, maybe I only need to hear some nice words from you or something. I’ll be very happy if you answer.”

Okay, I’m trying to think where to go with this. The thing is this. You didn’t waste your life at 20. You’ve got a lot more time. Some people—there are 2 things that I think that people do. One, people overestimate how much time that they have in life to do the things that they want to do. Other people underestimate how much time that they have in life to do the things that they want to do. Either one of those is bad because it stops you from doing the things that you want to do.

Motivation. I want to talk a little bit about motivation. I gave you the playlist on the motivation stuff. You guys should check that out. I’m going to sort of briefly summarize and talk about some of the things that take away motivation and just kind of the recap on this. Number one is this, if you want to be successful in life, whatever you’re doing, you’re going to have to learn how to do things without motivation. I woke up this morning to shoot videos. I didn’t feel like shooting videos this morning, but I have to do it because I want to have a successful YouTube channel. I want to grow the YouTube channel. Not only do I have to do it, but am I sitting here, am I saying you’re going, “Oh yeah, so.” No, I’m giving you 100%. I’m turning up 9 or above. Remember, I always say or above because if I’m going to do it I’m going to do it with enthusiasm and I’m going to do the best damn job that I can whether I feel like it or not. That’s called discipline. I’ve talked about this before.

Discipline is more important than motivation. You’ve got to have discipline. You’ve got to push through the rough times. You’re going to have times when you feel motivated when you’re like, “Man, I love programming. I love doing this.” I feel like it a lot of times like, “I love doing videos today.” Some days I don’t. It can change from time to time. What I have found though is that once you get started you start to get a little bit more motivation. That usually comes back. Sometimes it doesn’t, but you’ve got to figure out how to work without motivation.

I’m going to give a book that talks about your problem. It’s called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Read that book. Read that book 5 times. This is important, this is a really, really good book because everyone struggles with this, every single person. Not only does everyone struggle with a lack of motivation and procrastination but they also struggle with feeling unworthy and like a fraud. That’s not big thing either. I’m not a genius. Maybe you’re not a genius—maybe you are a genius but you don’t have to be. You’re never going to be the best at anything in the world. There’s just too many damn people. You don’t have to be the best. What you have to do is you have to become a better version of yourself everyday. You have to beat yourself everyday.

I think I did a video on this. We’ll link to this video where I talked about who to compare yourself against. Compare yourself against your self, who you were yesterday, who you were last year, so you just want to improve. You’ve got to get off the couch. You can’t wallow in self despair. You can’t be like, “Oh, I procrastinated—I failed yesterday, so now I’m just going to watch TV and feel about how bad I am about myself. I don’t feel motivated and I’m not even a genius and this programming stuff is hard.” Fuck that! That’s not what you want to do. You’ve got to do the opposite.

You’ve got to say, “Look, how can get myself hungry?” You said you really want it in that email. Do you really want it? If you really want it then you’re going to have to force yourself, you’re going to have to push yourself to go the extra mile, to do it even when you don’t feel like it. You’re going to have force—you’re going to have to figure out how to make yourself enthusiastic when you don’t feel like it. What is the hunger? You’ve got to have that hunger and you’ve got to realize.

I’ll tell you one last thing, and it will give me a perfect opportunity to plug this damn shirt that I’m wearing which is Trust the Process. What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is look, set out a plan. You want to learn how to become a programmer you’ve got 6 hours a day, maybe you don’t spend 6 hours a day studying, spend 4, but plan it out, say, “I’m going to spend 4 hours a day studying” and figure out what to study. Take some time, take the first day, your first week if you have to and take 4 hours and say, “Okay, I’m going to plan out, based on what I know now and what I can research, what would b the steps that I need to take in order to get to where I want to go.

I want to become—you said you want to become a frontend programmer, don’t try and do it all at once. Pick one thing and say, “Okay, first I want to learn front end development and I want to learn a specific technology or stack.” Spend those 4 hours and plan it out, say, “First I’m going to do this, then I need to learn this, then I need to do that, I need to build an application. Definitely do something like that. I’m not going to get into the details there, but you plan that out. It’s not going to be perfect, it’s just based on the knowledge that you have now. That’s cool, okay?

Then what you’re going to do is you’re going to commit to a schedule and you’re going to say, “Everyday I’m going to do this for 4 hours. Come rain or shine, come feel bad or not, I don’t care. I’m not sitting on the couch. When I wake up in the morning I do what I’m supposed to do first. That’s how I run my life. I tell you, I have a schedule and I have a system and I just do it. Rain or shine I’m running, I’m lifting, making videos, I’m writing. Whatever I’m supposed to do I’m doing it rain or shine and I’ve got a plan. I’m trusting the process. That’s the key. Now you’re going to trust the process and you’re just going to say that if I do this for a year at the end of that year I’m going to reach success. I’m not going to look at the results right now, I’m not going to worry about the results. The results will come if you can trust and execute the process.

The place where people screw up where they lose their motivation and they never actually achieved their dreams and never actually achieved their success is that they start focusing so hard on the result, on what they’re not doing or what they’re not accomplishing instead of just saying, “Just trust the process.”

I go into the gym and I’m lifting weights and I’m like, “Okay, it’s not going to happen overnight but you’re going to gain muscle if you keep on lifting and you keep on eating and you keep on doing what you’re supposed to do day after day. In a year, you’re going look back and you’re going to see your progress, but you’ve got to trust the process. You can’t be—the results don’t come soon enough and sometimes they’re sporadic so you’ve got to just hunker down and just commit to something and just do it over the long haul. That’s the key. That’s what it takes to be a champion. If you don’t want it that bad, maybe you don’t want it that bad. If you want to really achieve this goal and achieve this dream you’re going to have to do it, you’re going to have work without motivation. You’re going to have to set a process. You’re going to have to trust the process and then come back to me, then a year from now let’s see where you’re at.

All right, if you had enough of that and you want to trust the process. If you’re motivated now, click on me to get one of the T-shirts and it will help remind you. I wear it myself so I can look at the mirror and remind myself to trust the process. If you like this video, go ahead and click that subscribe button below and I will promise to kick your ass as much as I can. 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."