Over the past 10 years, I’ve had three different experiences learning programming. I’ve wondered why I have so many different results. What made me fail and succeed?

I have finally come to an answer!

Of the three experiences, there were three factors that had the greatest impact.

I’ll take you through each experience and show you how each factor played a role in my failure or success.

initial failure
I got my first taste of programming when I was 18. Fresh out of high school.

First year in university.

This was not a computer science or software engineering program. I was in civil engineering. Think of buildings and bridges.

This was an introductory computer science course taught in Matlab. All the engineers had to do was take it.

To be fair, if it weren’t for my programming friend, I don’t think I would have done very well in class. There were so many concepts that I could not understand easily. Even with outside help.

I could look back and blame a million things on why I didn’t learn all the concepts. Why did I leave that class, hating programming. However, that would just be a bunch of excuses.

So why did this happen? Why did I fail?

too cool
I failed to learn programming because I didn’t have the desire to learn it. Yes, wish! It was just a necessity for me. A requirement so that I can get my degree.

nothing more nothing less.

I didn’t want to take class. I had to take it The way you learn makes a big difference in that mindset.

The only advantage I gained in taking the class was to get my degree. Not to expand my knowledge, or to learn something new. My mind was off to learn how to program.

No wonder the end result was terrifying. I left that class hating programming and never wanted to program again. This had disappointed me because I never got to those initial concepts.

But I had seen the power of programming and what few people were able to do with it. That’s why I left the class at least in honor of programming.

I thought it was not for me.

no light
Having no purpose was the next determining factor in my failure. For me, I had no purpose beyond necessity.

My aim was just to get a good grade, and it showed. Years after I finished class, I had literally forgotten almost everything. It didn’t stay in my mind. There was no reason to do so.

I learned it only for the present, not for the future.

I never planned to learn programming. It was to go through the course. I wanted to pursue my degree and I had to do everything that was necessary.

If I had a purpose for this, it would have helped form the final factor. You will not get there just as objective.

not important enough
The last factor is motivation. That’s what I was missing, and that’s why I failed.

When I am prompted to do something, I do not give up. I’ll try again and again until I figure it out. until I get well. I am that kind of person.

So why didn’t I apply this motto when I didn’t understand many programming concepts?

It was because I didn’t have the motivation.

Why should I spend more time and effort learning programming when it wasn’t even relevant to my degree? I had other important classes.

Even though I had a desire and purpose to learn programming, I didn’t have the motivation. I wouldn’t be successful anyway. I would have left. I was unwilling to spend the time and dedication required to learn it.

How different were these factors on my next attempt?

first success
Fast forward eight years later. That’s how long it took me to try my hand at programming again. Yes…eight years!

It took me a long time to return.

Meanwhile, I had completed my degree. Took a little time to travel and work for many years.

Then I finally got to the point where I wanted to try programming again.

Yes I wanted to!

You must be thinking… what? Didn’t you say you hate programming?

Yes I did, but time heals all wounds. Situations change.

This time things played out differently.


It all had to do with those three factors again.

This time my desire to learn programming was completely different. I had a reason. I wanted to learn programming.

How did I get the desire to learn?

Well, a little before this point I had started getting into entrepreneurship and started reading business books. I was slowly realizing that one day I had to start my own online business.

I knew that if I wanted to do something online, I should probably learn programming.

Why it wasn’t the driving factor though.

The factor really came from my pain point. In those eight years, I became very proficient in Excel. I was the spreadsheet guy at work.

However, lengthening of statements in Excel soon became a nuisance.

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