My background on how I got started in software development was interesting. When I was kid, I used to watch my brother work on his computer when he was still living with my parents. Often times, he was spending more effort installing games then actually playing them. So, from the time I was six until I was twelve, I was exposed to the old dos terminal.
Eventually, I came across a HTML book while we were an electronics store with my parents. I always wanted to program, so I picked up the book and started reading it. Then came geocities and I went off to build my own website. From there, it had been an off and on thing.
I spent the last two years of my high school at a technical school which offered information system classes within the business unit. I wanted to build games like the type of games I played with my friends. However, it didn’t work out like that. And I started not liking my class.
However, I was at a time in my life where I was afraid of following down the wrong career path and wanted to pursue something that was more glamorous in the health and wellness industry. Thus when I graduated, I went to college for health thinking this would make me more happier.
Fast forward about 7 years later, I was working at a call center wondering what the hell happened? Why is it I am here? Where did the passion go for health and wellness? What happened to my motivation for that career?
That’s when I realize my drive wasn’t so much in teaching others how to be healthy, but building things that made things that at least worked or made it work better.
Drive is when it takes serious amount of effort to start something, in an environment which is out of your element, yet doesn’t require much conscious effort to just do it. That mental intrinsic inertia is more powerful than “motivation”
When you’re motivated to do something, it’s because there are outcomes that you want out of it. And when those outcomes don’t come to you, said motivation starts to wane. Thus, it is a finite source. However, when you have drive, there is no outcome you are dependent on. Thus, regardless how many obstacles you encounter, you still keep working regardless.
If you need the drive to help you reach your goal (a job, to become master, or etc…) here’s what I would do:
1.) Don’t bother tutorials, and walkthroughs. Just think of something and build it. Set a time limit for yourself. Don’t make it a month or a week. Set a limit of 24 hours. Heck, set it for 30 minutes. The whole idea is that when the pressure is on, are you still going to want to keep coding even after failing?
2.) Find a client and do the work for free. I’m not saying you should do a bunch of projects for free (because your time is valuable) but figure out if you still like coding when you have someone demanding features out of you and you’re completely stuck on how to build it… without getting paid a dime.
3.) Sit down and ask yourself confronting questions about yourself, “Do I really enjoy coding web sites? or do I enjoy the side effect of building websites (i.e. lucrative salaries, remote work, awesome companies, and etc…)?”, “What am I willing to deal with while being a developer?”, and finally, “Would I still want to code if I was being paid the same amount from my minimal wage job?”
Most people in successful careers don’t realize they have drive because they didn’t have to grit their teeth and tell themselves they want to be this. Most of the time, they failed over and over again but mistaken stubbornness for drive.