I must find enjoyment in my work. I must be very meticulous, punctual. Deliver results.
Take Studio Ghibli for example. Their work, even after 20+ years, remains very popular. They created Quality. Something that can be passed from generation to generation.
I must take pride in my work. Write with honor in mind - someone will read my code later, and I want to leave them a very good impression.
Write clean and beautiful comments. The main point to comments is “why something is being done”, and not “how”. Describing how code works can be done for very, very complex cases.
The question is - how to program something that will truly last in time?
Programming done 30 years ago almost in its entirety differs from the one done today. Different platforms. Different compilers/languages. Different operating systems.
I will be amazed if there is any substantial code base still running today just for the sake of its purity, quality, and uniqueness. If there is something running that is that old, it is probably due to the fact that a replacement can’t be written or shouldn’t be written, and it is simply living the last of its days.
So, in such a field, how do you do something outstanding, remarkable that will last? Today, anyone can be a generic programmer and write web-sites for some artist showcasing their art works.
Code in itself is worthless. What is important is how it is used. Does it make a difference? If a programmer wants to be truly different, he must create experiences that will have an impact on other people’s lives.
It all comes back to the idea. An idea can be expressed in countless ways by countless programmers, but it is The Idea that changes the world. Not the implementation.