By October 15, 2015

What Is Your Motivation For Working So Much?

In this episode, I answer a question about my motivation for working so much.


Full transcript:

John:               Hey, John Sonmez from I’ve got a question here that I’ve been actually asking myself. It’s around working so much or working so hard, what motivates you? This question goes, “Hello John, I’ve been subscribed to your newsletter for sometime. Don’t get insulted, but I don’t get the point about your motivation about working so much. You seem financially independent. You have a nice family, seems so, good health. Why do you keep working so much? I’m a software developer myself but at one time in life I also was really attracted to increasing productivity, working smarter, earning more but later I have overworked, got into trouble with health, barely walked away alive. I was happy to just get home from the hospital and was happy about every stuff I got: my old keyboard, my old dumb phone and to see my most loved relatives. I get weekly email but it’s all about working on how you work—how you work yourself, so my main question is, what is your main goal in life?”

It’s a fair question. Like I said, you can ask me anything. I’m going to answer it. This is a question I’ve been asking myself, I always have to ask myself this question is: Why do I keep doing this? Why not just quit? I don’t really need to work, like I said, if you’ve read my soft skills book I have a chapter on retiring early and how I retired early. Basically, I’ve got enough rental properties. I don’t have to do this anymore so why do it do it?

There’s a few things. Honestly, I’m going to be totally honest with you and tell you what’s going on in my head. From time to time I’m like, “Man, I should just quit and just live on the beach or something or chill out and not do anything.” But there are some things that keep holding me to working hard. One of them is really the fact that it took so much blood, sweat and tears to build this company and to get to where I am and I hate to just abandon that. I feel like I’ve been building this empire for a long time and to just give up on that and to not see how far it could grow or what it could become, to me it feels like a waste. Good or bad I can’t help but feel that. That definitely keeps me involved, it keeps me working hard for sure is because I want to see my sapling grow into a tree. I think anyone would.

The second thing I would say is that it’s hard to abandon this path because of all the people I’m able to help. I get emails everyday, I get hundreds of emails and I get a few emails everyday with some people that have said how they’ve been able to turn their lives around, how they’ve been able to make changes, how they’ve been able to get a huge job salary increase or even with some of my podcasts how they’ve been able to get in shape or save their health or even fix their relationships and change their outlook on life. That’s kind of hard to turn away. I don’t want to let people down as well. It’s good, it feels good to be able to accomplish something.

Then I’d also say there’s a—I know that there’s a huge value in discipline. You could kind of toe the line and not work very hard and I take—when I take a vacation, I take vacations, you know. I just came back from a 3-1/2 month trip around Europe and I wasn’t working super hard that whole time. I was basically working on Fridays, but I find that in general working hard is fulfilling and developing that discipline is important. You’re more satisfied in life when you have discipline, when you have a good work ethic.

In fact, I would almost say that the thing that really makes a person happy in life is hard work. It seems kind of weird, we always try to avoid hard work, but when you think about it, the time that you feel the most satisfaction, the time that you feel the best is when you’ve just accomplished something and you worked really hard for it. That’s kind of why I keep it up.

I say maybe like another distant reason why I’m still working hard and why I keep doing what I’m doing is because I’m getting to a process of automating my business, of Simple Programmer. I’ve hired some people that have taken a lot of the burden off of me. I want to see that through. I want to get to the point where I can pursue some other things and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there.

That’s my current motivation, my current goal. It’s not to make millions of dollars. Like I said, I’ve talked about this in other videos but I do live a somewhat Spartan lifestyle. I don’t have huge aspirations to have fancy cars or million-dollar mansions. I don’t know what I would do with a ridiculous amount of money. It’s not really based on that. I value success more than I do money and I think that’s definitely one of the driving forces.

At some point my motivations could change. At some point I might say that, “Hey, I just want to relax and pursue some other-” I don’t think I’ll ever say I want to relax and chill on the beach all day and do nothing. I don’t think I could ever do that, but I may choose some other avenue or some other thing and maybe I won’t work as hard, but I think that my—I think I probably will because it’s just something that is in me.

So, anyway, I hope that answers your question and like I said, you can ask me any question. I’m happy to answer it. Just email me at and if you like these videos, if you like this podcast subscribe.



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."