Good reasons to learn coding but no passion

Hello! I was wondering if anyone else here has this strange issue I’m facing…

I have no passion for coding itself however I chose to learn it after a looong period of looking into my options and predispositions. I have some really good motivation to learn but it seems to not be enough. My motivations are:

  • coding suits my thought patterns (half analytical, half artistic), suits my personality (introvert), my need to have quiet and focus in order to achieve good results, my need to constantly learn something new and have a feeling of progression (instead of doing the same exact task every single day and starting allover from point zero like a Sisyphus),
  • if I don’t learn it, it’s back to retail which makes me furious and suicidal almost,
  • I don’t have money for university to go study my real passions nor do I perform well in such academic setting anyways so I should focus on something I could teach myself (I can self-teach and evaluate critically - not an issue),
  • given my uncurable sleep disorder, it would be fantastic if I could become a freelancer someday or if I could work remotely because all normal morning jobs ruin my health, including mental health,
  • I’d like to have money for travel, for pets and good causes, for healthcare, should I ever need it.

As you can see, a lot of these reasons are based on fears of something bad happening, rather than on passion for coding. That’s not great for me. It results in me falling asleep at the computer every 10 minutes and having to motivate myself with nasty thoughts about how awful my life will be if I don’t learn this. Sadly, my true passions cannot be pursued in a way that could make me enough money to survive even in slums, they can only be practiced as hobbies once I acquire some legit practical skills to pay the bills.

I’ve heard that passion may come to people like me if we push forward for so long that eventually we make ourselves interested in the topic. It’s been 2 months of daily struggle and I still feel nothing. Does this take longer? Can I bypass this somehow?
So far I decided to fight sleepiness by using pomodoro learning technique (I’ll try it out starting tomorrow) but that’s not supposed to create any passion in me, I just wonder if it could be enough to deal with the sleepyness.

Yes, I sleep 8 hours a day, drinkmlots of water, eat healthy and study at the desk sitting at 90 degrees.

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If you hate your job anyway, it is better to hate a job that comes easy to you and pays well.

Coding is just a tool, compare it to a hammer. It is used to build stuff and turn ideas into something more physical.

IT world is very wide. Read a bit about cryptography, hacking, graphic, data science, networks, computer security, robotics, linux, whatever…
If you can find a field that piques your interest you will still learn coding, but in a different way.

It will still be tedious, maybe boring, but you will treat it as a tool.
And maybe someday you will look at the code you have written and think
“Ugh. This is so ugly! I want to make it pretty.”

Don’t focus on passion, focus on what needs to be done.

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What you’ve listed sounds like motivations for learning to code. What you consider as passion for coding, might be based around the idea of coding, rather than the actual task itself.

Learning to code is hard, doing it daily is work, and finding passion in such a task requires very specific motivation that can’t dry up. Passion doesn’t magically appear overnight, nor is it something that you suddenly get after doing it a while. Its possible you hate what your doing, and will always hate it, its also possible you will hate it less and just get used to it. Even if your already super passionate about something, it can lose its luster and turn more into a “meh” experience. This goes for anything, not just coding, however because learning to code and programming in general is a task that requires effort, you must have something sustain you while doing it, otherwise you’ll just stop.

If you lack passion this doesn’t mean you can’t get into coding so you can make a living, lots of people have jobs doing coding and don’t have a passion for it. There is a myth that a “real programmer” eats and breaths code 24/7, such isn’t true. But, you do need to be able to commit and continue to commit to the process that is coding.

Regardless of how you feel, you have to commit to get things done. Passion alone might be a good fuel to get things done, but you only get things done when you commit to doing it. Its easy to imagine a world where you can freelance, make good money, work your own hours, and everything is great. Its a lot harder to commit to making any of that happen when it requires you to climb a gosh darn mountain that is learning how to do everything needed.

You need to ask yourself why you feel “nothing”. You don’t need to feel warm joy, or “pure love”, but you do need to accept the grind and be able to continue with the process.

Imagine learning to code and achieving your goals as climbing a mountain.

At the peak are your goals and dreams. You can think about those goals and dreams all you want, but until you start climbing you don’t get closer to the peak. At the same time you might have limited supplies/time to climb that mountain. You also might climb the mountain because your scared of the situation where you are at, this can be a strong motivator but you still need to commit to climbing and continue climbing.

Now imagine you’ve been climbing for a long time, to the point you actually enjoy the climb itself that is passion, with it you can ride it all the way to the top. You don’t magically get there much faster, but the climb itself becomes more enjoyable.

Now imagine instead of passion, you hate the climb. You hate the mountains and bad analogies and just want to get it over with at the peak. Such a climb turns into more of a trial, or a slow torture. You can find motivation to push through such feelings, but it also wont make you get up the mountain any faster.

Furthermore, you can’t really see the peak at this point. You know which direction it is, but its far away and shrouded in clouds. You could easily give up and say its too far and get off the mountain. Or you can do what you know must be done, which is keep climbing, and keep grinding. Again this doesn’t get you there faster, nor does it build motivation, but it does get you closer to your goal.

Yea each step sucks, yea you might never find a passion to “climb”, but you can commit to climbing to get you closer. You can set yourself up a schedule and goals to get “higher”, you can enjoy the journey as much as possible.

Thinking about the peak might help a bit, but thinking about the climb itself and enjoying it, is what builds passion. Or at least enjoy it as much as you can. As no matter your motivation or passion, you must commit to making the climb to get to your goals.

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HI @BurningQuestion !

Welcome to the forum!

First and foremost, mental health is extremely important.
I am not going to gloss over that fact that you mentioned suicidal when thinking about retail.

Secondly, try to focus on what you can do with your programming skills.
Right now you are running away from something(retail)
But you should work towards something.

Maybe you can find a way to integrate technology into your true passions.
That might light the spark you are looking for.

My background is in music but I love the possibility of integrating the skills I learn from programming into music applications.

I just think a different approach and mindset will help. :grinning:

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One more thing, and I think this is an important one:

“Follow your passions” or anything about those lines is a horrible advice.
Survivorship bias plays a big role in why people are believing it.

My advice:
“Follow your passions after you get your life together. If you are hardworking AND lucky you will be able to live off your passions. Otherwise you will live a normal life, but with a hobby. Survival is a priority (and a little bit of comfort).”

About learning:

When I learn intensively my brain shuts off after a few hours. I am becoming very sleepy.

Learning process is tiring for body physically. Making new neural connections and absorbing new concepts is physically changing your brain. That takes energy, minerals, oxygen and whatever else.

I need to stand up from the desk, go on a walk and brethe deeply to provide more oxygen to my body. Or take a nap. Or eat something sweet. Or all of that together.

Learning coding IS hard. There is also a bias in “coding is easy” saying. It is easy when you know how to do it, same as everything else.

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I was never “passionate” about programming either and it wasn’t my first choice for a career. But it turned out to be an amazing fit for me and turned out to be the best job in the world.

I spent most of my life carrying a ton of interests and hobbies but the one thing I loved above all else was music. That’s what I thought I wanted to do with my life. Due to circumstances I had to do similar thought experiments as you likely did and discovered that programming would be my first real career.

I don’t remember the exact quote but I heard once, “if you want to be successful, don’t follow your passion, work really really hard at something you’re good at; passion will come after”.

I think for some people being good at something happens to also be their passion but in a lot of cases it’s not true.

Turns out I am pretty decent at programming. But getting started was a challenge for me to. Being good at something isn’t enough motivation to keep doing it. What I ended up doing was just finding things that involved programming that I enjoyed. You would think that would be music software or something but the things I wanted to build were too ambitious for my skills at the time.

Instead I decided to try out game development. I very quickly got addicted to making simple cheesy games. Next thing you know, without even realizing it, I’m finding myself passionate about coding. I started to enjoy the process of making anything.

Eventually that passion lead me to pursue web development and the rest is history.

Obviously you’ve done a lot of reflection to land on coding as a career path but I’m curious what your passions actually are.

The interesting thing about technology is that you can apply it to anything. Which means you have an opportunity where you can align the coding skills you’re acquiring with your passions.

Maybe you can still pursue your passion as a hobby and use coding to amplify your experience with that passion. Or do what I did and find something unrelated to your passion but just feels fun to build. If you can find a way to have fun while coding you might get over that initial hump and discover the intrinsic joy for yourself.

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I personally believe that blindly following your passions is how you get into trouble.

But if you create solutions in an industry, then you can make money doing something you enjoy.

There are so many different things you can do with technology.

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A lot of this sounds very familiar to me personally, because it sounds like textbook symptoms of depression, something I’ve struggled with all my life. When depression gets deep, nothing is enjoyable, and even when it lifts for a time, any newly-discovered passions tend not to last. My immediate impression is that you need to tackle the depression before a career change or study course is going to take.

Medication works great for me, but counselling and alternatives like meditation are also great choices that one can choose instead or add to existing treatment. Whatever you do, take some concrete action toward treating your depression: grit alone won’t do it.

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Thank you (and everyone else, really) for letting me know that this can be achieved with simple hard work and discipline. I was just more and more under impression that you HAVE TO be passionate or it’s not for you. ^^" I’ll keep studying then!

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Thank you for your concern but just to clarify, I have left that awful job and I have signed up for therapy.
I have some very vague, distant ideas of how I could implement coding into my interests but that would take a while (which is fine).

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Thank you for such thoughtful answer. I feel better knowing that there are other people like this out there and they managed just fine with enough hard work and dedication so I’ll keep doing my best too.

As for my passions, there is no single word for them all but you’ll see the pattern: anomalistic psychology, cognitive and logical biases, manipulation techniques in sects, cults, political groups, families and relationships, marketing, algoritms, mechanisms behind propaganda language, the nature of scams of all sorts, psychology behind wacky conspiracy theories, fact checking and cyber-hygiene. …you get the idea.

I will keep looking for ways to integrate these interests into coding as I always wanted to teach more people about these issues (James Randi is a huge inspiration).

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I don’t seem to be depressed anymore as I enjoy plenty of things in my life and have genuine, active interest in many things. Coding just feels completely neutral to me, makes me bored and sleepy as a result. There’s not enough interest there.

However, I do have diurnal mood variation messing with me daily and I suspect dysthymia (we’ll see what therapist says about that…). I’m working on it, thank you. <3

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That’s amazing!

Have you heard the term symathesy before? I feel like you’re basically just into anything that can be described as a complex system or interconnected behaviours. Data analysis and data visualization are extremely powerful tools that you can use to learn about and explain complicated systems.

This talk is where I first heard the term “symathesy” and I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it: Jessica Kerr - Keynote: The Origins of Opera & the Future of Programming - YouTube

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Thanks for the vid, I saved it to watch later (and I will). Haven’t heard of “symathesy” before but sounds interesting.

Yea, that is the core here but more specifically, I am interested in superstitions, both magical/ sacred and secular. Even more specifically, I want to teach people how to be more aware of these things in their own heads and on the outside, to make their “bullshit detectors” work well, so they can’t be scammed or manipulated by abusers.

It would be fun to make some sort of app that makes people exercise these skills and challenges their own beliefs or something or teaches them to recognize rhetorical trickery or fallacies.
Rationalwiki.org is great but looks bad, I mean it doesn’t look very engaging or entertaining. I’d like to make it more fun for people to learn this kinda stuff. I have no solid ideas yet, I have to learn coding first, THEN think about all the cool things I wanna do perfectly. Trying to practice on projects I actually care about leads to frustration if I’m not good enough yet.

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That piqued my interest.
Have you had any experiences you can share? Like NDE for example?

I’ll just do very general summary of things that led me to such interests:

  • I was made a refugee partially because of Muslim extremists,
  • grew up surrounded by an entire country catholic fanatics who’d constantly attack my rights and dignity while being hypocrites,
  • was raised by extremely superstitious atheists (also harmful),
  • strongly believed in wide variety of magic during childhood and teenage years and tried to practice it all, often fooling myself into believing that it works,
  • one of my relatives I lived with was a narcissistic abuser with very serious paranoia disorders and control issues, also a hoarder (tried to make me believe in alien races, cryptozoology, mystical energies and many superstitions, often verbal ones)
  • was persecuted by nationalists and xenophobes which made me look closely at their thought patterns and tribalism - at first to avoid attacks, later to try and help others escape these ideologies and harmful behaviors,
  • I suffered from a wide variety of mental health issues but received no help from adults (they just made it worse) so I was forced to learn about all that and learn to help myself,
  • many people come to me for help with their issues and it’s all related to psychology or existential issues,
  • many people around me believed in alt-med and many anti-scientific myths which were harmful to us - their children - but also their elders,
  • some of my relatives are Russian nationalists who would blast Russian propaganda at home so I had a lot of time to study it - how things are timed and worded, how they target certain emotions and fears (I used to believe it too). Also, I observed the devastating effect it had on them, how they became these hateful, unreasonable people who’d yell for hours using only fallacies and biases, unable to have a civil conversation,
  • meanwhile the exact same thing was ruining lives of my Polish friends because polish govt was doing the exact same thing to their parents’ brains using the exact same techniques and now we have this generational trauma where kids are afraid of talking to their parents about anything even in the most respectful way,
  • many of my relatives believe in the wackiest conspiracy theories, pretty much everything except flat earth which, again, is dangerous on many levels,
  • I studied psychology which led me to further investigate all these issues and I was constantly seeing their devastating effect on social media,
  • social media which were constantly advertising a ton of scams to me based on superstitions because algorithms misunderstand what I’m about - that gave me A LOT of wacky nonsense to investigate daily,
  • I coined the term “anthropocentric arrogance” once I noticed how all superstitions revolve around human species and started finding examples everywhere - years later it turns out that the term for it already exists and it’s “human chauvinism”.

To be honest I could go on and on about the reasons but that’s because my entire life experience is one big reason and those are the issues I deal with daily. Nowadays, I don’t look at just one or two nations anymore but at humanity as a whole, as species with universal issues in their “programming”, as species who are collectively slightly insane as a price for our intelligence, imagination and duality between our brain/ instinct and the mind. It took me 10 years of challenging and monitoring myself daily but I am finally superstition free and very proud of it but the work here is never truly done - I could always go bonkers later at a moment of weakness, trauma or desperation. Hope that answers everything for you. ^^"

…I hope this last answer I just gave doesn’t violate any rules around here. If it does, I am willing to delete it, just let me know.

Hi, I have read everyone, it was interesting because the question and answers could apply to me.

My answer would be several things:

First on the outside of programming, are you the type of person that needs someone else to set goals for you? Like help you with the deadline, it might give you the mindset “I’m doing it because I don’t want to disappoint him” or something like that.

Second, do you have time? How old are you? How long do you think you will live? 50 - 60 years? I think you might have time, I’m 27 years old, I have began last year by myself and I will follow a formation within few months that will take around 3 years to complete. I don’t care anymore (at least less) about the age I will be an official developer.

I am someone who get sleepy very fast, sometimes when I learn, or when I confront a problem: nap, eat, sport help.

“work then passion comes” maybe, same as me it’s not my real passion but I can feel somewhat that it’s a tool (a very interesting/difficult one) that can be useful.

Another point, I’m not the smartest, on a scale of 10 about logique, I probably have a 5 or 4 or maybe 3, so you know there is everyone who try about programming, some less smart than you ; so dedication, even slow makes the difference.

That what I think for now, I might change my mind in a few months when I will fail to reach my goals, but at least for now my advices can help you (and me, to give me more confidence).

(also, you can waste time as much as you want, but be sure to have enough money to survive)

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I think u and I we sharing some childhood memories, and also I know how people that grow up like us can feel.+
so I just hope for u to find ur self one day…

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Thanks for sharing your story.
It tells a lot.

My story is not as extreme, but I can see some similarities.
I also wanted to understand human nature since my young age and being surrounded by religious hypocrisy and a lot of biases and irrational behaviors just fueled it more.
My recurring question was “Why people are like that?”
So, psychology, religious/philosophical texts, observation etc… Had to leave my house because of my beliefs.
Searched for something that is ‘true’ in many places, but that is a hard way to follow.
The more I observed the more parallels I draw between human behavior and animals. Almost all of the things people do can be observed in less developed species.

You know the drill.

What I was asking was not the underlying reasons for your way of life, but about your findings, as a fellow seeker.

Have you found anything about human nature/reality that escapes current understanding?
Have you experienced something that is mystical?

Out of body experience, lucid dreaming, near death, ego dissolving, feeling of chi… There are many records of those things, some well documented.

note to mods
If this is not the place to discuss these kind of things I will take it private.