My friend Peter is very opinionated. Sometimes he seems like a crank. I used to think he hated everything. Then I realized he also loved some really bad things. And some really good things. I noticed a method to his madness: he said he liked the things he liked, and he said he didn’t like the things he didn’t like. It didn’t matter to him what other people thought. I respect Peter’s opinion. I don’t always agree, but I very much respect it.
There are other people I know (who shall not be named) who think that everything is shit. At least, they SAY they think everything is shit. With those people, I don’t care about their opinion. Two reasons, really:
1) I already know what they think about whatever. They think it’s shit.
2) They’re lying.
I don’t think anyone actually hates everything. But I do think in a creative industry where it’s important to have high standards, there can become a kind of competition. A pressure to have the highest standards. And who has the highest standards? The person who doesn’t like anything? They must have the highest standards, right?
It can seem like that person’s opinion would become the most important opinion in the room. Because if they ever do like something, it must really be good, obviously. But that’s not true. First of all, to my point above, hating everything makes your opinion irrelevant and people start disregarding it altogether. Second, that “everything sucks” attitude is usually the result of trying to win the non-existent high-standards contest, caring too much what others think of what you think, or just an unfortunate psychological predisposition. All of those are bad.
Don’t love everything. Everything is not good. In fact, most stuff is not good. Have high standards. But base those on what you think (maybe with some good reasons as to why you think it). Don’t worry about what other people think you think. And don’t try to impress them with your mythically high standards. Don’t be a hater.
* Peter is not a crank. He’s a great guy.