Original question from Quora:

How do I transform myself from an average programmer with a CS degree to one of the best programmers in ten years?

My Answer:

There is only one truly useful to this question and the answer does not come from any programming book. You have to look at Kobe Bryant.

A few years ago I heard a story about Kobe Bryant’s work ethic. It was maybe a few years before he retired and was still in the hunt for NBA titles.

The article talked about how after a game on the road Kobe was to be found hours later in the arena, after everybody left, practicing his jump shot. And not just his jump shot, he would practice every different shot he could take on the court.

For hours after the game, the greatest player in the game was in the opponent’s arena, taking shots.

That blew my mind.

And then I heard more stories about Kobe’s legendary work ethic. There is a story about how when he was on Team USA basketball team, he would show up to the gym at 4 in the morning to do conditioning, then he’d spend hours practicing his jump shot until he made hundreds of baskets.

Then around 9 or 10, everybody else would show up for practice.

I’m guessing after they left, he kept shooting.

There is a reason his team won 5 NBA titles. And why he was a NBA MVP. And why he was the best player of his generation and among maybe top 5 or 10 all time great basketball players.

Yes he had ridiculous talent, and he had even more ridiculous work ethic.

If you want to transform yourself from average to great, make yourself into Kobe Bryant.

Write code like Kobe took jump shots. Do that every day for the next 10 years. You’ll be among the best.

-Brian

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