Why Motivation Doesn’t Work Anymore

How to Not Give Up as an Exceptional Programmer

Halim Shams
5 min readFeb 9, 2024
An Article by — Halim Shams

If we were to divide the population of the entire planet Earth into five parts according to the careers people are involved in, three-fifths would be programmers, while the remaining two-fifths would consist of other career choices. You see, programming/coding is one of the fields with the highest demand, but one might wonder why only 1% of those programmers succeed and achieve their dream goals.

Programming vs. other fields

When it comes to programming, it can often be seen as one of the most tedious tasks compared to other types of tasks. You write your code, run it, and, Oops, a bug. Now, you have to meticulously go through the entire code you have written, line-by-line, to find that ugly bug. This process can take longer than writing the code itself. But it doesn’t end there. After finding the bug, you have to get rid of it to ensure your program runs successfully. At this very moment, you need to shift your focus to “lesser-focus” and find a way to swipe that sucker out of your code. Sometimes, this task can take more time than the previous steps of writing code and searching for the bug. It is at this moment that there is a high probability that the programmer, or so-called ‘developer,’ might give up, close their editor’s window, and move on to something else.

There’re two possibilities that can occur next. Either the programmer will return to the previous project they were working on, or they will never revisit that project again because they have admitted defeat in solving the bug issue within the code. From that point on, they convince themselves that they have a better idea and decide to build a different project instead. I refer to this behavior as “self-deception,” as the programmers try to fool themselves in order to avoid facing a tough situation. Consequently, they consistently avoid challenges and complex concepts in their programming journey, which leads to their failure and becoming a loser.

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Why are there only a few successful programmers out there? Well, it’s because they don’t shy away from hardships and challenges like others do. They embrace them like they really mean it. They make a promise to themselves that they cannot achieve their goals without solving that bug or issue in their program. They are relentless in their pursuit and do not let their emotions hold them back. They don’t leave the editor’s window until they have successfully resolved and wiped out the bug from their program.

It’s the hammering that turns a useless piece of iron into an unbeatable sword.

Failure-prone programmers are often driven by their emotions and feelings. They may stumble upon a motivational video while scrolling through social media, and their motivation goes beyond the sky, prompting them to immediately start programming and building a program. However, as they progress and encounter bugs or face challenges in their code, their motivation steadily drops down and down. Eventually, their motivation reaches a point where it completely vanishes, leading them to give up and abandon the project. What’s interesting is that behind the scene, they may have already completed 80% of the project, requiring only a little more effort to overcome the remaining 20%. However, they leave it forever and embark on another project, starting from 0% progress and repeating the cycle. This time, they struggle to even reach 50% progress because they have become used to giving up at the first sign of a bug or issue.

There are some programmers who may argue against this viewpoint, “we don’t give up; we just try to prevent spending to much time on it, and that’s why we move on to another brand new project instead.” In response to these programmers, I would like to highlight how big tech companies like FAANG hire new employees. They see if you can solve a problem; they seek out people who can solve the issues on their already-running platforms and make them more efficient; they don’t care about your degree or how many projects you’ve got on your GitHub account.

You’re not known as a programmer until you’ve got the ability to debug and solve an issue in code.

What I am trying to address here is the importance of not giving up and rejecting temporary motivation at any cost. Instead, it is crucial to embrace permanent motivation, which I refer to as consistency + discipline. This means not allowing your feelings to take control of your actions but rather continuing to solve any issues in your code and overcome any bugs in your program consistently. By doing so, you will become accustomed to problem-solving and increase your chances of becoming one of those top 1% of programmers.

Your task

I feel what you might be feeling; it’s true that we were not born as machines meant to work continuously until we press the off button.

We as programmers definitely encounter bugs in our code, and it most of the time happens when we are really close to finishing the program or project. To prevent giving up, it’s crucial to take breaks. It’s the only way to have fun while you are working on your project. There’s a great quote that I can’t remember the author of, which goes, “To program is to clear your mind." I mean, take a moment to breathe, go out, step away from your laptop for a while, and walk or do something else than coding. This will not only boost your energy and fuel you up as a human being, but will also help you return with a fresh mind and solution.

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Halim Shams

I Write about Web Development and All the Related Content 🚀 I'm a Self-Taught Full-Stack Developer 💛