Derek Sivers

from the book “”:

Loving what I used to hate


Be careful when you say like or dislike something, because you could change your mind soon.

The first time I heard Tom Waits’ music, when he was a guest on David Letterman, I thought it was so horrible that it must be a joke. Even years later when I heard him again, I hated it passionately. But then I heard his cover version of “It’s All Right With Me” by Cole Porter, and loved it. So I got his album “Rain Dogs” and fell in love with it, and the rest of his music too. The funny thing is I found his old performance on YouTube of my new favorite song, and realized it was that same appearance on David Letterman that I hated so much before.

I had no prejudice against Indonesia at first. I was running out of my bedroom, selling CDs to the world. I started getting huge orders from Indonesia, shipping thousands of dollars of CDs there. Then after a few months, the banks told me those were fraudulent orders placed with stolen credit cards, and took the money back. I cursed Indonesia as a “nation of thieves” and blocked all Indonesian orders on my site.

Ten years later I was living in Singapore, and was invited to speak at TEDxJakarta. I listened to twenty Indonesian speakers telling their stories, and showing their amazing work. It was so heart-warming and endearing. I spent a week in the home of my new Indonesian friends, and fell in love with the people there. It wasn’t until afterwards that I remembered I used to hate Indonesia. It’s a nice reminder how experience erases prejudice.

Same thing with weightlifting. For decades I mocked it as the mindless activity of dumb vain jocks. Then I kept reading scientific research showing it’s one of the best thing you can do for your health. So I tried it, and loved it.

Of course there are examples going the other way, too: food and music I used to like as a teenager, that I don’t like anymore.

I have to smile, thinking what my former self would say. But the former self is not always right. We shouldn’t preserve our first opinions as if they are our pure, untarnished, true nature. They’re often just inexperience or a temporary phase. It would be dangerous to decide and declare that those past opinions define who we are in the future.

So now when I hear myself saying I love or hate something, I have to remember that could change soon and I should give it another try.