What software developers can learn from Elliot Hulse

What can software developers learn from elliot hulse

The meaning behind this blog post is based on working towards your goals and aspirations.

How to achieve these goals is entirely up to you.

This article is based around Elliott Hulse’s perception of living an equally balanced life.

See we can learn from Elliot and apply it to learning, our software development career and living.

If you follow Elliott, he talks a lot about becoming the better version of yourself, owning who you are and building on it to offer the world your love and to receive the love back.

His perception on owning the world through metaphorically fighting and working your way up to what you define success; is what he calls being a warrior.

And every worrier has a sword that he uses to fight his way through life.


Who is Elliot Hulse?

Who is Elliot Hulse?

Elliot is the founder of Stength Camp and the Elliot Hulse YouTube channels.

A strong man, motivational speaker and entrepreneur;

He has influenced hundreds of millions of people through his YouTube videos, helping people becoming the stronger version of themselves.

Elliot has a great influence of my life for many years and has changed my way of thinking on many of occasions;

Including many others too.


The Sword

You use this sword to fight your way through life, as a warrior.

Through out your journey to becoming a warrior and eventually a king, as Elliott would put it; your sword will become blunt and dull.

The effectiveness of your sword is lessened because of all the fighting you’re doing.

And you are becoming tired, weaker and less thought out than you originally thought you would.

Sometimes the warrior needs to have a rest, have a break, watch a movie and indulgence in what life is offering.

And also to sharpen his sword.

You are your own sword.

As software developers trying to make it in the competitive game, whether it be marketing ourselves, learning or studying, sometimes it would be good to take a break.


Equal proportions

Equal proportions are the concept given by Elliott when conquering life.

The warrior, the magician, enjoying pleasure and becoming king.

These pillars are what makes up an individual who is capable of achieving goals and his or her aspirations.

This article is based around the premise of these first three pillars and how they apply to software development.

I am going to start with the magician, because it’s what my primary focus is based upon.


The magician

Magician playing cards, courtesy of magicbymio.com










The magician is your skills and special abilities to offer the world.

The magician has to ability to master a certain skill or ability in life.

Knowing this, it takes years to truly understand the mastery of ones ability to do that one particular thing.

For me, in software development, I based my skill in specializing in Enterprise Applications with Java.

Everyday, it’s learning and focusing on this one skill I will eventually conquer and achieve.

As a magician you should have many skills that will make you very valuable to others.

One of them being how to learn and learn quickly, as John Sonmez would put it, being to most valuable skill of them all.

Second, some sort of specialization.

Now I don’t want to go to much into detail here about niching down and learning a particular aspect of software development.

The magician, again is what skill or ability you can offer the world.

Your skill is what you put out there and for a long time you won’t receive the love, just yet.

You should know how to market yourself and give this skill and ability as a service, and then again you will receive the love that comes with it.


The warrior

The warrior is primarily focused on taking action and doing what has to be done to support his or her-self.

An analogy would be based around the idea of hunting, fighting to bring home meat for your family, tribe or group.

The warrior is the worker!

He is out there busting his butt working and striving for the ability to make his place in the world.

The warrior is fighting for his position that he so desires.

Fight For What You Don’t Deserve… Until You Do!  –John Sonmez.

Wow! This is a very powerful phase!

I’ll write it again,

Fight For What You Don’t Deserve… Until You Do!  –John Sonmez.

So what does this mean?

Well to put it as John would,

Fight like you do deserve it, and you’re doing what it takes to get it, you’ll eventually deserve it!

–John Sonmez

John goes on to say some of us have this feeling of unworthiness like we are not qualified or we just don’t have the experience yet that we wish we had.

I certainly felt this way only a few months ago when I started this blog.

I would ask myself questions on what I should write about?

I don’t have the skills yet that I wish to posses.

But I put in the work and I moved the direction of my life to learn, do and really put a lot of effort and work to research a lot of things and write about them.

Now I know I still have a long way to come, but I am still doing it like I deserve it and it feels like I already have achieved what I was striving for, to some degree.

Although a larger audience would be nice 😉

Which is one of my goals to achieve in the next 5 years time or less, is what I am striving for, everyday.

I know what it takes and I am working my way to get there.


So you should too!

Know what you want to become and what you want to achieve and be prepared to put in the hours and hours to get there.

Fight for what you want to achieve and always work on it like your fighting for the opportunity to just get there.

John goes on to say,

To get there is to set the standards high enough, to start doing the work that would be required as if you deserved it.

Take something you don’t deserve yet and kept it up until you do deserve it.

Fight for something as if someone is taking it away from you that ability or title away from you, because they are and they will take it away from you if you don’t fight for it.

One of my motivational drivers is this kid who is a year younger than me and is already successful with a business having 2-3 people working for him and he is raking in the cash from building apps for companies.

I am coming for that position too, I deserve it and I am working towards getting there.

You know if he can be a developer and have the recognition and success that he has today, why can’t I tomorrow?

I am pretty sure he too had to fight tooth and nail to get to where he is today, that success just doesn’t come to him for free.

Now let’s become a little bit, down flow and a little lazy… In the next section.


Enjoy Pleasure

What do you enjoy most in life?

The feeling, the taste of good food or the emotions, thoughts and ideas communicated through good music.

This could be your Saturday morning where you can enjoy your tea, read books and listen to the sound of the birds.


Enjoy that moment.

As you may know, I write every morning Monday, through Friday for 75 minutes (3 pomodoros); because I get these articles done.

They are my first priority.

I look forward to the my Saturday mornings because I do what ever I choose to do.

I love watching movies and seeing all the details put into the work, the sound and the interesting shots that make up the movie.

At one point I said myself I want to watch just one of a Sunday night or none at all because I wanted to be like Elliot Hulse and John Sonmez, because they didn’t watch movies.

Which I did for a while.

I grew fed-up and my productivity slowly started to decrease in quality.

At one point I said f*** that! I am watching a movie!

I enjoyed that movie because it was good and I like movies.

You may be very hungry like I am, to learn and achieve a certain skill.

Eager to learn more and we often bite off more than we can chew.

But when you do so, feeding yourself all this resourcefulness and not appreciating the joy of what you have and accomplished will be detrimental to your ability to move on.


You will destroy what you have.

An unbalanced king will destroy what has earned, destroy his Kingdom and be left with nothing.

— As Elliot said.

I will go into as deep into saying that an unbalanced life will affect your family, relationships, your mind and how you treat other people.

Don’t exercise at all?

You will eventually loose the ability and control of your body.

Illnesses will arise and you will slowly start to get sick.

Don’t participate in social interactions?

You will forget how to engage with others, loose the momentum of confidence you may have once built up.

We will lose the ability to appreciate and be kind to others because you will become greedy and selfish with what you have.


Disconnect from reality

Disconnect from reality and put down the world for a moment.

Take a break from being a warrior and learn to live in the moment and enjoy it.

Take something that you can relax and unwind yourself down with.

Unplug from the matrix.

Really indulge in being ‘lazy’ for the moment,

When I say lazy, I don’t mean be lazy, just enjoy relaxing and the FEELING that goes with it.

Play videos games and or watch a movie for a short period of time.

You know for about an hour on a Saturday afternoon.

Go for a walk on the beach.

Take your dog, you know she will love it!

You never know what will happen, you meet new people there and make new connections;

which internally lifts your confidence and sense of worth.


Time to reflect

Mirror reflections

Having your own alone time in a peaceful environment where you can reflect it very important.

Which discusses the idea of why reflection is important.

But let me tell you this;

Reflection will give you time to look into your mind and through out thought patterns we can come up with new ideas and perspectives about yourselves and the world.

We are naturally encouraged to go into certain aspects of events or occurrences that happened in the past.

Other times we can think towards our future and have the moment of dreaming what we will become.

In the warm sun, on the beach I encourage you to take a walk and enjoy diving deep into thought.

This reflection process can also be used to thoroughly think about your goals and aspirations a bit clearer than you did before and adjust your direction in achieving them.

We all need this.

It’s meditation.


Avoid burn out

If you’re not there, you are not working.

What does that mean?

You may have the finest, best trained soldiers and he may have the best weapon in his hands, but if he isn’t there and focused, he is no longer the best solider anymore.

Take for instance when I was learning Hibernate ORM.

Sure I was focused and very excited about reading the documentation for the first and second pomodoros;

but as the third pomodoro came around and my mind started feel drained, I was no longer there and focused.

All the resources I was reading slowing drifted over my head and I felt incompetent of completing my task.

Candle burnout, courtesy of inc.com












I knew my candle was starting to melt away, I was no longer there.

So what do we do when we burn out?

It’s time to put down the sword and go for a walk.

Let your mind rejuvenate itself.


Less pomodoros, more productivity?

At a point earlier in this year I was so caught up with myself and competitive with keeping up to a certain standard of pomodoros.

Granted I still set the standard to myself for what I expect in a day, currently 12 pomodoros;

But at times I would go so far as to do 20 pomodoros a day.

I didn’t question it or myself.

How productive was I actually being?

It was sure jumping through hoops and trying to learn as quickly as possible as if I could complete something in a shorter period of time.

I would cycle between a JavaScript day and a Java day.

Java day would include the Spring framework, Thymeleaf, RxJava, Junit and two books.

Haa! How crazy is that!

I didn’t question myself on the quality of my learning, because I just wanted to get there as quick as possible.

So going back to the headline, Less pomodoros, more productivity?

Yes, it’s of course true.

Consider the focus of your time and the quality of your focus.

As Elliot said, our mind and body travels through rhythms.

We go up and down as a wave length.

In the morning our body and mind is fresh and lively.

Which would make sense to the most difficult and mind crunching tasks;

Such as writing this blog post.

And throughout the day we tend to do easier and less thought-intensive tasks;

Like reading Wikipedia articles and blog posts.


Put down the sword

Have I told you enough about being relaxed and enjoy the moment?

Are you still grudging on and making little to no progress.

If you are then it’s time for you put down the book or quite writing that program and go outside and enjoy your moment.

As Elliot said and as I have discussed, you need to let the sword sharpen itself.

The sword is you, your mind and body.

You must set aside time for living and time for reflection.

Often at times when you are sailing to China, you are grudging on in the harsh seeing and going off course, a lot.

Take a moment to sit back. Look where you are. Enjoy what you have. Take a break and adjust where you are heading.



Man on construction site with icons by photoroyalty.

Magician hand courtesy of magicbymio.com

Candle courtesy of inc.com

Adrian van den Houten

I'm Adrian van Houten, founder of ScholarCoder and a passionate software developer for full-stack web development. Read more about me here.