Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Loving what I used to hate

From now on, when I say I hate something, remind me to add “… today” to the sentence.

Here’s why:

Tom Waits

The first time I heard Tom Waits was this performance on David Letterman.

I hated it. I hated it passionately. I complained to my friend that it was the worst thing I’d ever heard, and it must be some kind of joke.

The second time I heard Tom Waits was a year later, when my roommate played me “Singapore”, and I hated it just as much. I still thought it must be some kind of in-joke. Maybe it’s a dare, like hákarl? Someone wouldn’t actually listen to this for pleasure, would they?

The third time I heard Tom Waits was “It’s All Right With Me”, and suddenly I got it. Maybe it’s because it’s a cover, or maybe I was sick of all normal music that day, but his American exotic theatrical junkyard sound was just what I needed.

Then I bought the great Rain Dogs album, and it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. (Especially “Tango Till They’re Sore”, which I hated before, and now love the most.)

Indonesia

The best TEDx Conference I’ve ever been to was in Jakarta, Indonesia.

From the cross-gender dancer to a leader of games, I got such an overwhelming dose of Indonesian talent, culture, and pride that day, that a part of me will forever feel Indonesian, or at least a big fan.

A week later, I had to laugh when I suddenly remembered that I used to hate Indonesia! Why?

Because at my old company, CD Baby, whenever we’d get a big order from Indonesia, and ship the CDs across the world, the credit card company would contact me months later to tell me that order was placed with a stolen credit card. Every time, it was Indonesia. Small orders, big orders, every one of them was always credit card fraud. I lost thousands of dollars before I finally had to block all Indonesian visitors to cdbaby.com, and silently delete any orders with an Indonesia shipping address. I remember cursing that “nation of thieves” and its horrible inhabitants. I’m sure at the time you couldn’t have paid me to go to that awful place.

Oops. Wrong. Once I got to know it, I loved it.

Weight lifting

Ever since high school, when I was solidly in the “freaks” category, I’ve made fun of people who spend a lot of time at the gym, lifting weights. Stupid jocks, mindlessly lifting pieces of metal.

A few years ago, some people I know all recommended old-fashioned barbell training as a great all-around fitness habit.

I tried it, and they were right. I love it. Three times a week, I’m in the gym (for only 30 minutes), doing squats and deadlifts, as described here.

I have to smile, thinking what my former self would say.

But the former self is not always right

We don’t need to preserve our first opinions as if they are our pure, untarnished, true nature. They’re often just ignorance or inexperience.

Now when I catch myself saying that I hate (or love!) something, I try to remember to add “… today” to the end of the sentence.

Opinions are likely to change at any time, but are much harder to change if you’ve carved out your self-identity, declaring “This is what I love! That is what I hate!”

Though I’m happy to say this is what I hate or love today.

(Photo by aussiegal.)