By John Sonmez March 1, 2018

How I Made The Decision To Quit Simple Programmer

As some of you might know already, I quit Simple Programmer.

Yeah, just like that.

It doesn't mean you're not going to see me around anymore. It doesn't mean I'm not going to make videos anymore. It just means I won't be running the company as a CEO anymore.

It was definitely one of the biggest decisions in my life. Wanna know WHY and HOW I did it? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here. So I thought I'd do a video talking about how I make important decisions in my life. And these are the kinds of decisions that are not the snap decisions that you make that are trivial decisions, right? I'm talking about big, important decisions, for instance, since I'm on the subject, since it's so relevant in my mind right now, this idea of quitting Simple Programmer and basically retiring as a CEO and going to just a much more simple life than what I've been living. Like how did I make that decision in order to do this.
So it's really hard because I think what can happen is a lot of times, especially when you're making big life altering decisions, what can happen is that you feel a certain way. You feel this emotion. You feel overwhelmed. Maybe you feel burnt out or tired or you just feel sad or you don't like what's happening and it can be really tempting to make a decision based on that but that's a bad way to make a decision. You don't want to make a decision just based on how you feel at a certain time. But at the same time if you're consistently feeling that way, if you're consistently feeling something that is wrong, then you've got to make a change in your life, right? It's a good indictor that there's something wrong in your life that you've got to change.
And so a lot of times in life I've made some pretty big decisions. Whether it be leaving a job and going out and becoming an entrepreneur, whether it be starting a business, whether it be starting kind of a ridiculous fitness lifestyle routine, different relationships that I've ended or created, and especially recently, like I said, leaving Simple Programmer and turning it over to my business partner and going, basically, into quote retirement mode and trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. This is something that was definitely a big decision, right? I mean this is something I've been working day in and day out on Simple Programmer for the last, at least, four years solid but since I started to blog it's been over nine years. Probably closer to 10 years now. So it's definitely a big decision.
So how did I make this decision, right? And how can you make decisions like this and know that you're making the right decision and not just a decision because you're too weak, or you feel overwhelmed, or you're not pushing hard enough, right? So I talked about this idea of burn out a lot. I think I did a video a while back on burn out and you're basically seeing why I don't believe in burnout and there's a little bit more to it than that I think. Which is this idea that, I think most people, a lot of times, when they quote feel burnt out, they're just not pushing hard enough. And the reason why I say this is because in order to really achieve success in life, you've got to be able to push hard. You've got to be able to become a fucking bulldog. We'll put up the bulldog video here.
But you've got to be able to do that kind of stuff because that's what it takes, right? But at the same time, okay, you can hit a point where just what you're doing is not the right thing. It's not that you don't have the discipline, right? I have a lot of discipline. I'm able to work without motivation. I'm able to get shit done whether I feel like it or not. But if you consistently are finding that the direction that you're going, right, is not the direction, right? So for instance for me with Simple Programmer, I'll just use this as an example, for the last maybe year or two I've just been feeling like, I would go through these phases where I just felt like, “Man, I don't know if I want to do this anymore.”
I'm not excited to get up and do this. And I had like a small phase where I just wouldn't have very much excitement with the business. But then you know what I would do? Is I would go and I would grind it out and I'd make it a week or so and then by the next week, I'd feel good. I'd feel lit up again. I'd be excited. I'd be ready to do the new Simple Programmer initiatives, to get a new project started, to start writing on my new book, whatever it was. And I was excited, okay?
So that would happen, right? Because I know that just because today I feel like quitting and not doing YouTube videos, or just today I feel like not doing Simple Programmer anymore doesn't mean that I'm going to feel that way next week. So I would push through and I'd make it through and then I would feel good and this would actually produce a lot of growth in the company and it was important, okay?
But what started to happen to me was I started to get to this point where the downs were more often and then the coming back from the downs were less. So it's almost like a drug addict, right? It's like it took more, I was getting less and less of an effect and I seen those downs happen more frequently. And the come back periods were less. Less frequent and there were less in duration. And so I started to realize there's something wrong here. This is an indicator, and this could be an indicator in a relationship, in a business partnership, in a project that you're doing, right? If you're pushing through and you're continually pushing through, and then you're finding that pretty soon that it doesn't take you very long before you're back in the downside again, is a good indicator that you might need to change your life. But at the same time you don't want to make drastic decisions here.
So at the beginning of this year, I said, “Okay. You know what John? You're going to do it. You're going to fucking push through and you're going to pound it out and you're going to do like you've always done and you're going to keep going.” And I had this a little bit before the beginning of the year but I did that, right? It took me about a week and I had, this was the turning point for me, was there was only one day of the up swing. I had one day and the next day I was back into the down. And this isn't just like, just some kind of depression. And there was some depression involved but depression is often a signal to us that tells us that something is wrong. Something needs to change.
And I just felt like, just looking at my life, and I was like, “Look, why am I doing this? I'm holding on to Simple Programmer and working in the business here when I don't really need to because I'm afraid of losing. I'm afraid of losing what I've built.” It doesn't have to do with the prospect of the future. It's not just that I'm lazy or tired, although there was some of the tiredness for sure, but it has to do with the idea that this is just not the right direction. Sometimes something is over and you need to recognize when something is over.
Again, it doesn't mean that I fucking blew up the thing. I didn't take some dynamite and blow up Simple Programmer. It's still running. It's still a great business. It's still going on without me, without me directly working in it and I'm still advising to it. But the time had passed, okay? And so I realized that the reason why I was holding on to it was not the right reason. And so in general I've made decisions like this definitely at multiple times in my life. Whether I make a drastic change in my lifestyle or relationships or business or work or whatever it is, and I've always kind of used this pattern, right?
And I think this is an important one, at least when I've made good decisions, is that I don't just quit, right? I don't just give up. I don't just stop. I don't just say that things are bad because they don't feel good at the time. Instead, I push through. And I keep on pushing through. And I wait to see what happens. I wait to see if there's a diminishing return that happens every time that I push through and if that's diminishing over time and I'm still getting this signal, this depression signal or this pain signal or whatever that signal is, and it's not improving, then I know that something needs to change in my life. That I actually need to change and steer the ship a different direction rather than I'm just feeling lazy today or I'm just having a bad week or a bad day.
A lot of the times it's really compelling to just change direction just because you don't feel like it today. And that's the thing that you see this people that they never make it anywhere in life. They're never successful because they're always changing course. They're always trying new things out and they never commit to it long enough to actually see results. And so because they feel they don't feel it anymore. And so you've got to get past that. And that's one thing I've learned is that you've got to get past it, you've got to push through, you've got to keep on going and then, like I said, you'll know it. When you keep on pushing through and it's not for lack of discipline, it's not for lack of perseverance, that you don't make it or that you're not seeing the changes that you want to see, then you reevaluate.
Then you say, and when you reevaluate you've got to say, “Look, why am I doing what I'm doing? Am I doing what I'm doing because I have a goal a mind that I want to achieve and that this is taking me to that goal as painful as it may be? Am I doing what I'm doing because this is my purpose in life, because I feel like I want to do this and this is something I enjoy? I love getting up and doing this thing. Am I doing what I'm doing because I'm trying to avert a loss? It's because I've invested so much into this and I don't want to lose that. I don't want to lose something.” And when you do something for the purpose of avoiding a loss, at least this is something I'm learning this year, more so it's the wrong reason.
You don't ever want to do things in life for the purpose of averting a loss. Just take the loss, right? You're already losing, you're going to put yourself in a box, in a prison, and I think this has been coming for a while. I think perhaps in the last six months or so I may have walled myself in. Because when I looked around, and I looked at what I was doing with Simple Programmer and how I was living my life, I started to realize this, I was like, “Wow, I've sort of created this prison for myself because I'm kind of doing every morning what I don't want to do. I'm not looking forward to any of this. I don't really have a big goal or objective that I'm aiming for. The only reason why I keep on spinning, the only reason why I keep on running on this treadmill is because I'm averting a loss.”
To be honest with you, I might have to go back to this YouTube channel and evaluate the same thing. Because to some degree maybe I keep on making the videos, maybe I'm making a frequency being around two times a day, or two to three videos a day, because I don't want to lose all this momentum, this channel that I built and these subscribers and I'm afraid of doing that. So, I'm giving myself some time, right? This is the other thing is I'm giving myself some time on this because I just made this big change. I made this big shift with Simple Programmer but then now I want to see. I'm going to keep on pushing through on YouTube and see how that goes.
And like I said, if I get to the point where I have to say, “You know what?” Like [Elliott Holmes 00:11:22] did this, right? He was like, “I'm done making YouTube videos.” And everyone went crazy. What are doing? You're being so successful at this. If I get to that point, I'll make that jump. Hopefully I won't. I enjoy making these videos. Not as much as I did before, but I still do and I want to continue. But I need to be honest with myself and make a good decision. And I'm being honest with you guys. I'm being as genuine and sincere as I can so that you can understand this process because if I'm not then what am I doing here? What am I even on the channel? I lose most of the purpose if I'm not being sincere and honest and genuine.
So anyway, that's my thoughts on that, it's a little bit scattered. I admit it. But it's something that, a framework, at least, that I use to make big decisions without just doing them haphazardly. It takes a lot. But once I make the decision, I made it, you know? So this decision, at least for me, at the time that you're watching this it'll be delayed, but it came like basically two days ago or three days ago. And I basically said, “Okay. No, this is it. I'm done.” And I didn't go back and forth, hmm and haa. At the point I made the decision I made the decision and that's it. It's done. And that's another, I think, important thing to do is you take some time and deliberation to make the decision. You don't make it as a rash decision, right? You gather the evidence, you figure it out. But once it's overwhelming, once you know what you're going to do, you don't backtrack. You don't second guess yourself. You just fucking make the decision and just go forward. And you go forward with your life. And that's how it goes.
So will this end up being the wrong decision? I don't think so. I think this is honestly the right thing to do and I'm glad that I made the decision and I'm going to go forward with it. So all right, that's all I have for you today. If you haven't subscribed already, click that subscribe below. Click the bell so you don't miss any videos. I'll 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."