We all do what we do because there is something that makes us to do it. Among the most common factors would definitely be money, recognition from our relatives or friends, the feeling of being successful or the joy of the work itself. I’ve spent awfully lot of time thinking about what is the most important force that makes me do what what I’m doing, and I believe I’ve found the answer. In this post, I am going to explain why.
When I started with programming 3 years ago, it was tough. Beginnings are always hard, but I think in the case of programming it’s “slightly” harder. Usually, when you start to do something new, you want to see the results of your work. But when I started with the C language, there were almost no results for several months. I kept learning because I believed that steady basics are tremendously important for any future progress.
But hey, I was a kid. I needed someone to encourage me. And as stupid as it might now sound, I was used to be praised by my parents. But this time, it was obvious they were just being polite, and they didn’t understand from my results what should I be proud of. They did, however, supported me (not only) by buying me a MacBook, which enabled me to start developing apps for iPhone (the thing I was secreatly dreaming of ever since I started with programming). And I want to thank them here, really. Dad and mum, I much appreciate it.
After two and a half months of learning Objective-C, Cocoa and developing my first app Quadratic Master, I’ve finished it and released it. What came next was a freezing-cold shower. The sales were way below my expectations, and I was really disappointed and desperate. A part of me wanted to show others that I am good, and I can accomplish something, but this made me think I am a looser. So what should I do? Stop with it? After getting over the initial deep disappointment, I realized that it would be stupid of me to give up. I still loved programming, there was just a question: What to do next?
In June 2010, I attended iDevcamp, a conference for iPhone developers held by Czech iOS development company Tapmates. Apart from my app being showed as an example of bad design during a presentation (without clarifications why they did so), I’ve met there a guy from Czech television who was looking for an iPhone developer for his business projects. This moment started a work partnership between us that lasted for almost a year and led to two iPhone apps and both of us disappointed, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
As I said, we have done two apps together. There were a lot of complications and birth pains, but we managed to complete both projects (the apps were finished and I got paid). We both then agreed that the partnership wasn’t worth preserving. When I look back at it now, with clear mind, there were two major problems. On his side: he did it mostly for money and the projects we were working on were somewhere near bottom of his priority list; and on my side: I was completely new and inexperienced in this kind of “business” (gosh, why do I hate this word so much?), and therefore making a lot of mistakes mostly in communicating what had to be solved and how. There were a lot more things I disliked about it and I could talk about them for hours, but this article is already awfully long and I haven’t got to the point yet.
So here I was, having a decently topped account but still without a clue what project should I start working on. And now I am finally getting to the point: Even though I managed to earn this money, which I think would make most of the same-aged-as-me people quite proud of themselves, I didn’t consider it a big achievement. And although the very few people I told about it seemed to be impressed, I realized that this is not the reason I am doing it, and it didn’t bring me any particular rewarding feeling. I thought of it just as a useful advantage for my future projects. In the summer holiday 2011, I finally got an idea for app which seemed challenging yet achievable, and I started working on it (and still am working on it at the time of writing this). I am giving it months of my free time, and although the resulting effect is very uncertain, I am working on it because I am passionate about it, and because my instincts are telling me that it is the right thing for me to do. And even if it ends up badly, and I won’t become successful of it, I won’t earn money from it and my friends won’t admire me for it, I will still be happy I managed to finish it. My father sometimes says: “The way is the target”, and I can nothing but agree.
To sum it up, I simply believe that the only way to be truly happy with your work is to love what you do. Success, recognition and money are fine, and everyone likes them, but being dependent on them will eventually lead to disappointment. There won’t be ever enough money or success, because we, human beings, tend to be always dissatisfied with what we currently have. On the other hand, if you realize that you love what you do, you will become much happier with your work, because doing what you love is great, isn’t it? And I believe these enjoyable results of your work will eventually come; just stop chasing them, be patient and love what you do.