Is this all I’m ever going to be?

I was 21.

I had a good job.

I was managing my own shoe store. The store was doing really well and I was making more muney than I’d ever made in my life. I was on the fast-track to a bigger store and a six-figs income before I was 30.

And, I quit.

This one thought kept haunting me.

And, despite all the success…

All the opportunity…

All the money…

I couldn’t let it go.

“Is this all I’m ever going to be?”

Is selling shoes all my life is ever going to amount to. I could be the best shoe salesman in the world… I’d still just be a shoe salesman. It’s not the life I imagined when I was a kid.

So, at 21…

I made the most difficult decision of my life.

I faxed in my resignation and walked away.

No plan.

No job lined up.

No place to go.

It was scary as hell.

I bring this up, because I recently did an interview for the Digital Dads podcast where they asked about this and I tell the whole gory story… among other things. It’s about an hour long and I think worth a listen. You can check it out at:

But, I imagine a lot of you are in a similar boat.

Maybe have some success.

Good job, good muney.

But, just not satisfied.

Feeling like your life was meant for more.

Dying inside for meaning and significance in what you do.

If so, there’s two things (and I talk about these more in the interview) that you need to latch onto. Two things way more important than if you know MySQL or comment your code real nice.

A great developer isn’t someone who knows everything…


A great developer is someone who brazenly tackles the unknown. When everyone else is saying, “I can’t”… he (or she) says, “I will”. That’s what makes a great developer. That’s what matters in all this.

The rest falls into place IF you have that.

And, THAT comes from those two things:

  1. Dogged persistence… to stick in there and figure things out… even when things get dicey, even when everyone else has given up, past what makes rational sense. You stay with it until you figure it out.
  2. Self-efficacy. An almost irrational belief in your own skills.

Yep…. woo-woo, foo-foo stuff.

But, I see it time and time again.

The line between “meh” developers and great ones…

Are those two things.

Anyway, like I said, I get more into it in the interview I did. Go check that episode out. And, be sure to give those two some like, share and subscribe love. They’re two really cool guys (and developers) that are definitely worth listening to.

Here’s the link again:



P.S. Watch the video version of this message here:

Listen to the audio version here:

Originally published at John Morris.

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