On March 5, 2014 by Rahul Singh
A few years ago, I wanted to become a great programmer. I aimed to become a programmer who everyone respects and talks about.
I still remember how inspired I felt after reading the story of creators of doom game. I too wanted to create great innovative games and become successful like them. I believed that the only way to become good at programming was to program all day and not care about other things that kept me away from programming.
And so I spent days and weeks programming, all the time, without doing anything else. I would even have advised you to do the same, and keep programming all day.
But I am not sure if I'd say the same thing now.
Today I'd rather want you to be a healthy programmer who is happy, content, and making positive changes in the world, not just with programming, but by living a positive life.
I have come to realize that there is much more to life than simply spending it away in programming all day.
I like programming; please don't think otherwise. I like to make my own apps/games and it feels good when I see others using something that I have created.
But I also like to do other things that have nothing to do with programming.
I like reading books in a quiet place. I like to meditate with no one around to disturb me. I like writing articles.
I like to switch off my phone, computer, and other gadgets and just sit quietly and think about ideas, solutions, and question my everyday actions and behaviors.
So, while programming helps me in accomplishing some of my goals, I also realize that it can't help me with other important things in my life.
Programming, or any kind of technology, isn't the answer to every little problem we have.
There are some amazing things we can do with programming, but then there are also some other things which we can't do with it.
By programming you can create the best to-do list, but it can't make you more productive. By programming, you can create a great fun game, but it won't necessarily make you happy. By programming, you can make it easier to communicate with your family and friends, but it can't help solve your relationship problems.
These are just few of the things which programming simply can't do.
I have started to question this myself and find out what I can, and what I can't do with programming. And maybe you should do the same.
I am sure every one of you want to live a happy and satisfied life. If programming helps you in accomplishing that, great; but if it doesn't, then you need to figure out what else does. And for that you need to spend some time away from your computer and meditate on what's important to you in life.
Instead of spending all your time in programming, you should ask yourself how much time you should dedicate every day to programming and how much should you spend in doing other non-programming activities.
Also, you need to ask yourself your goals as a programmer.
Is your goal only to become a great programmer - a programmer who everyone talks about, respects, and follows with passion.
OR you want to become a programmer who is also a happy person, who has great self-control over his thoughts and actions, who believes in growing mentally as well as spiritually; a programmer who aims to bring happiness to others by his work, but at the same time wants to himself live a happy and peaceful life - a life free from stress, anxiety, and any kind of negativity.
That's something that only you can answer. And when you answer that, be totally honest with yourself.
Maybe my opinion is too biased as I haven't programmed a single line of code in the past year. But after taking a long break from programming, I can see the other important things I need to do with my life.
I also regularly use many forms of technology in my daily life, but I can give them up easily for months, and actually have in the past year, without the least bit of thinking.
I've started to realize that modern technology and gadgets aren't enough to live a happy, peaceful, and satisfied life.
And programming is nothing but a tool to make these new technologies and gadgets work for you, in the way you want them to work.
Beyond that, the scope of programming is very limited.
But I don't want to send any negative message here. I try to send a positive message with every post that I write here. And with this post I only want you to realize that there are other beautiful things in your life that might have nothing to do with programming, or using any kind of technology product.
I know programming, if done right, can also help you live a happy and satisfied life. By programming even if you can't solve the problem completely, you can at least solve a part of it.
By creating games, though you can't make someone permanently happy, but you might be able to put a smile on some one's face just when they need it. By creating to-do lists, you can't make someone productive, but you can help them figure out what things they need to do on a priority basis. By creating communication apps, you can't make two people actually meet, but you can help them in conveying their feelings to each other.
So when you've realized what programming can and can't do, I want you to question yourself what's the most important thing in your life besides programming, and what message you want to send to others with your work.
If you've read this far, I'd be really happy if you put some time aside today, even 10 minutes will do, and think about it.
I hope just like my other posts, you'll take away something positive from this one too.
[I also want to thank you for staying subscribed to this blog, even when I didn't post anything for past several months. I have written more about this on my other blog.
Starting this year, I intend to devote more time to programming and creating iPhone games. Also I can't write regularly about programming and designing when I don't spend enough time actually practicing them. So I'll try my best to maintain the right balance between creating my apps and writing useful articles on this blog. Hope you'll continue to support me as you have always done.]