I remember people being passionate about what operating system they used.
No, passionate isn’t the right word. Because they weren’t just advocating the strengths of their preference. Instead, it was about condemning all the others.
I even have a button from that era – essentially the same as the meme below.
I’ve had to grow out of that attitude. While I hate working with Macs – really I do – I know that it works really well for some people, whose needs are different than mine.
Another example: I like a clean desktop with damn near nothing on it. For example, you can see my desktop from 2014 (it hasn’t changed a whole lot except that I don’t use the sidebar anymore) below. This has been consistent whether I’ve been using Windows, Macs, Linux, or OS/2 (yes, really).
My blood pressure actually spikes when I see desktops like this:
I’ve had to learn that just like some people genuinely prefer and work better with Macs, some people actually work better with all that stuff on their desktop… even though I don’t understand why.
It was having to learn that which helped me understand the different types of gamers. I never really got into the LARPers vs. tabletop vs. eurogamers vs. wargamers vs. CCG (and so on) thing because I realized that while some games really resonate with me, that doesn’t mean it has to resonate the same for everyone else.
The realization that what is important and meaningful to me does not have to be important or meaningful to anyone else has helped a lot in all aspects of my life. I realize that I have certain fandoms and tastes and ways of working – and by identifying them (and not insisting they’re the only “right” thing) I am better able to work with other people.
It’s even better when the other person has the same attitude.
One friend introduced me to NASCAR, and I looked at it as someone sharing their fandom with me – even though it was one I didn’t share. Another to horse racing. Another to football. Another to new genres of music I’d never thought I’d like.
You get the idea.
Each time, I realized they were sharing their passion with me – and they were okay with me not exactly having the same level of passion about it.
And because they did not insist that their way was the only “right” way, it made it easier to see what I appreciated and respected about the things they were into. If they’d insisted that I had to like this band or that sport or the other game exactly the same as they did, then I would have been a lot more resistant to appreciating something new.
I’d be even more resistant if they said that my preferences were “bad”. I mean, it’s totally okay if someone says “Oh, I don’t like [that game] [that band] [that operating system] [that way of working] [etc].” That’s an opinion. It’s when someone insists that you’re wrong for not liking the “right” thing or worse, liking the “wrong” thing. That’s so much bullshit.
So recognize that your preferences are preferences. And it’s absolutely okay if someone else has different preferences than you. The likes and dislikes of others has no bearing on your enjoyment of what you like and how you work.
I’ve long held that if someone insists their way is the only right way it points to their uncertainty about what they’re doing.
And I’ve yet to see anything to prove otherwise.