I came across a post in a competitive programming community. The post read:
Always felt like [competitive programming] is no different from any other sport. Trying to get to the top in any sport requires the ability to keep being persistent in your work irrespective of the situation and what people say. […] I personally have trained myself so far so that I do the work irrespective of any situation and no matter what emotions I go through, But hasn’t yet completely grasped it. Like how to build that mentality very strongly that how I feel has no impact on my work. Would be helpful if some very high rated people would share their opinions.
Unfortunately, it has been over a decade since I last participated in a round of Codeforces. And Codeforces is usually where I regularly participated in programming contests. My contest rating there is a measly 1763.
However, over this one decade, I seem to have picked up a few pointers that I try to keep in mind. I thought I would share those pointers as a comment under that post and here:
I do not think I am a “high-rated” person. But I am sharing my $0.02 in case anyone finds it helpful.
Here are a few things that I think have helped me, in no particular order. The theme here is to trick your brain into seeing the intrinsic value of your work.
Spend time working on things that benefit others. You could build something, not just to put on your resume, but to help others. Do things that will not get evaluated with money or on a leaderboard but by how you see people feel about it.
Compete with yourself and yourself only. Do not compare yourself with others. Make sure that you are better today than who you were yesterday. Better as a human being. Better as a son, brother, friend, etc. Not just a better programmer.
If you want to build your career around programming, then make sure to acquire skills that go beyond programming. See if you can fix things around the house. You could get into 3D modelling. Try to make a few advanced origamis with paper.
Make new hobbies. You could write blog posts. You could get into electronics. You could learn how to garden or even cook. But hobbies need to be something that lets you create, not consume. I have watched my fair share of anime in my life, and I still play video games. But real hobbies need to be different than that.
Do not take advice from strangers on the Internet.
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