"Nobody is born knowing how to program."

Sweet! I’m training right now to be an NFL WR. I’m sure I’ll get it one day! Wait, I might train for the Olympics. Gah, too many choices.

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You’re obviously taking the piss but I hope you see my point.

Not really, but I think @RyanReese did.

Is it that far fetched that some people have different aptitude mentally as they do physically?

You can be extremely athletic, but no matter what you do, no matter how much you want it, no matter how much you train, you’re not going to be an NFL linebacker or an NBA center if you’re 5’1". It’s just a fact of life.

I see his point but I do not agree. I have spent considerable time into several hobbies and I just cannot get good at it. I was very much into sports as a kid, yet I could not do baseball. Hand eye coordination for fly balls, calculating the ball placement during bat, etc. I just c ouldn’t do it. Played for half a decade and I was terrible. I’ve seen others fail at other hobbies as well.

In theory, sure, everyone can be good if they try. But I personally think that reality is different than theory in this case.

Ok, so would you say you gave baseball your absolute best efforts and wanted to become excellent at baseball? Or you just played it for something to do?

Did I train Olympics style? No. Did I practice in my free time (which then also means that I wanted it), then yes.

Your example is unrealistic. You can’t just say that someone didn’t try hard enough and that’s the reason why they didn’t get good. First of all, that’s unfounded, second of all, you have to take into account the normal human life. They can’t quit school or quit their job just to go run 100 miles a week to be a world class marathoner. You honestly can’t expect someone to do that just becuase your theory dictates that they can become great. What if their ligaments can’t handle 100mpw? Mental fatigue? Injuries? There are so many other factors you can’t control.

I think that all humans have mental and physical limitations that no amount of time can overcome.

That said, great things can be achieved and if the inclination is there it should be attempted.
“You ever know until you try.”

Anyway, IMHO we all have our stronger and weaker points. No shame in not being able to excel in everything.
Life is short, do what you love doing.

I’m not saying people don’t try hard enough. I’m saying that IF they want to become good enough they will invest the right amount of time into getting good at whatever it is.

Did you try to improve your reaction speed or put more time into learning more about hand / eye coordination and ball placement?


No you can’t just quit school / job / responsibilities. But you can if you want to and your goal is to become a world class marathoner then you would obviously invest more time and effort into doing that. It is extremely circumstantial and subjective. But depending on what it is, given the drive, motivation and determination you can do anything.

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Of course - that’s all I worked on. That was my glaring flaw.

Again, it sounds nice in practice but ultimately tehre’s no proof. There have been studies of runners and they have found that they can actually detect how good a runner will be via measuring their VO2 max and running economy. This proves that some people genetically can’t achieve certain tasks.

This is only one example. I believe that this could apply to other situations as well As Mitt said, we all have limts physically, mentally, and emotionally. And while it sounds nice that we can overcome anything ('Murricaaaaaaaaa) it’s different in reality.

Link to VO2max and running economy article I read a while ago - http://rw.runnersworld.com/sub-2/

Edit - other factors: height, country they live in, limb length…the list goes on and on.

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Your logic here is completely flawed. This is about running a sub 2 hour marathon or breaking a record, not being good at something. This is showing what levels of VO2 max / running economy over a 26.2km or 2 hour run would take.

So this does not prove that people can’t achieve tasks based on genetics. It proves that you need extremely good genetics and training in order to beat that record, of course it is all just theory until someone actually breaks it, but I digress.

What’s your definition of “being great” then? Mediocre? If I am going to dedicate enough time to actually get good at something I’m actually not, I want to be faster than a 4 hour marathon time.

I sincerely hope that the fact that something might not be attainable never stops anyone from giving it their best shot.


is a simplification of “more than ever expected or even thought possible can be achieved”

This is true, but the “anything” is over-reaching a bit, the “more” is more realistic.

Here en lies the problem, everyone has their own definition of success don’t they?

But most tasks have some sort of benchmark or indicator that you know you are good at it or not. For example marathon runners have personal bests and see how their time stacks up against other times.

Golf courses have pars. Cars have lap times. Courses have prerequisites. We have a bar or score in nearly everything.

That sort of defeats the whole argument then because I could be stuck drawing stick figures for the rest of my life and I’d be happy with that since I’ve achieved that. Any argument I can make is null and void since it can technically just be viewed as success, no matter how frivolous it is.

I think I’ll just agree to disagree and leave it at that.

I probably could have worded that better, as success and being good are not always the same.

You know you would suck at it if you compared it to someone else.

I understand you don’t agree and that’s perfectly fine. I’m just saying given the time and effort you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

In grade school I got horrendous grades for penmanship.
One year I got a “most improved”.
Huh? my penmanship even to this day is atrocious

Point being, go by your standards, not others.

My 86 year old grandfather loved paint-by-numbers. A great artist? A clamor amongst the throngs to purchase his art?
lol, NOT

But he enjoyed it and did OK at it

Could he have learned to paint better at age 86? Not likely, that was an Age Limitation,
As said, we all have our limitations. The key is doing what you enjoy while taking advatage of your strengths.

Hey all, we’re pretty far away from the main topic here and seem to be going around in circles. Can we pause the Olympian/penmanship derail?


I started feeling that way too when it started heading towards defining what is success.

We aren’t talking about some obscure level of success, we are talking about well paid software developers who write good complex maintainable code who can be widely employed and work on other projects with other well well paid developers. And not just find a niche in a single company for 30yrs till they retire.

It’s a pretty clear definition. There’s not a whole of of ambiguity there.

Agreed, back on topic. I don’t think it matters what age you are when you start coding. I was 22.

Played with computers since i was 12 (taking it appart). Did maths mechanics and electronics then engineering then robotics. At that point I got a job in programming at a bespoke speciaI effects company. Knew varients of embedded C, assembler and some c++. Never trully got anything impressive done compared to what my qualifications were. At some point I wished I had persued a career in computer science as I was always better with computers that mostly just work, than combining the mechanics and electronics first. Anyway at some point I left and started a freelance company doing bespoke digital solutions alone and basically have spent the last 7 years of my life invoicing stuff to clients that they ask me for (Bespoke Web platform things) and have learnt any language/technology needed to get the job done. It’s neerly time for dinner and I have just woken up because I spent all night experimenting for some work due on monday (like most weekends). What I am trying to get at, is that my notion of dedication is probably different than that of most people. I don’t see how all that time spent studying could have gone any other way. I learnt this stuff alone infront of my desk ! I’m not special. I was always verry mediocre but I don’t give up. Since last September I know have 1 employee and an apprentice. They have studied coding for the web at school and unless they work verry hard I don’t actually think it changes anything. Gives them a head start maybe… To program you need to be able to reason logically and understand how to solve problems. Solving problems means you have to either know how to solve it (experience comes in handy) or figure it out or find a ready made solution (thanks google, stack overflow). Programming is not like beeing a quaterback. If you have a brain and can type on a keyboard you’re ready to start winning. Never be intimidated, no one is a superhuman (except Linus Torvald), set realistic goals, and don’t give up. Coding websites is not the same thing as computer programming and IMHO is closer to creative content writing than anything else anyway.