About 11 years ago to the day, I decided to “reinvent myself” after a breakup. I moved in with my grandparents for the summer, bought some Vibram Treksports (those weird toe-shoes), and spent the summer doing hill sprints and working out twice a day in their barn I’d repurposed into a home gym.
It was awesome. I’d spend 2-3 hours every day just lifting, hitting a heavy bag, eating clean af, reading, and rocking out to kickass music. Still one of my favorite memories.
One of the bands I had on heavy rotation while doing pullups, curls, and decline situps, was Nickelback.
Even 11 years later, if I hear Next Contestant, my sympathetic nervous system kicks in and I’m ready to sling some heavy shit.
But when my friends would talk shit about them being a shallow top-40s band, I’d quickly join in on dunking on them and how awful they were.
Why would I denigrate a band I clearly liked?
After some soul-searching, I realized why.
This realization has made me a better creator, a more fulfilled person, and a more successful entrepreneur.
And it can help you do the same.
Here’s what I mean…
Why We Claim to Hate What We Secretly Love
Nickelback never forced an entire album onto our phones without our permission *cough* U2 *cough*.
Their songs are fantastic for getting pumped to go to the gym, going out with friends, or just jamming out alone in your car.
Chances are, you like Nickelback—even if you won’t admit it to yourself.
- I dare you to hear “How You Remind Me” and not start singing along under your breath.
- What song evokes a deeper sense of somber nostalgia than “Photograph?”
- What’s a better song to lounge around your porch with some friends sipping sweet tea on a sunny day than “This Afternoon?”
- Want to bust a beer bottle over someone’s head at a bar? Throw “Burn It to the Ground” on the jukebox and fuck shit up.
But the reason you claim to hate them is the same reason anti-health-nuts talk shit about kale.
It’s socially encouraged to dunk on them.
Kale is delicious af. Especially if you sauté in some animal fat like beef or bacon or turn it into chips. Some kale, ground beef, and spinach is a knock-your-pants-off delicious, simple, nutritious meal anyone can make.
But admitting you like kale isn’t popular.
It’s easier to dunk on kale—and the hippies who eat it—than admit it’s pretty fantastic.
Nickelback has been called, “arguably the most disliked band in America.”
Yet according to Spotify alone, their top 10 songs have racked up 2,855,465,696 listens.
That’s close to 3 BILLION listens.
Not including the rest of their songs or how they’ve performed on other streaming platforms or physical album sales.
So at least half the population of the entire planet has listened to a Nickelback song at least once.
But we still claim to hate them—because they’re easy to dunk on.
It’s like the opposite of mimetic desire. We don’t like them because people around us like them. We claim to hate them because everyone around us claims to hate them.
But actually, most people lowkey like them. Or they would like them if they gave them a chance.
So how can this realization help you become a better creator, a more fulfilled person, and a more successful entrepreneur?
Glad you asked…
Embracing What We Love Instead of Hiding It
Think of something you secretly love, but fear giving yourself permission to admit it or talk about it.
What if I told you if you stopped giving a shit about what other people think, and embrace your own interests, weirdness, and authenticity—you’d be a way better creator, person, and entrepreneur?
- You’d be able to create content that deeply resonates with you (and your audience).
- You’d do work that’s intrinsically rewarding and feel more fulfilled.
- You’d see, and be positioned to seize, business opportunities you’d never imagined before.
All because you stopped dunking on things you secretly love, because you stopped giving a shit about what’s popular to hate.
Psychologists are lowkey elitist in the mental health field. Half because we’re legitimately better trained (at the doctoral level) than every other mental health practitioner (who typically stop at the masters level), and half because we create an echo chamber where we constantly tell each other how much better we are than everyone else.
All through grad school, all I heard was people talking shit about life coaches. Admittedly, the coaching field is unregulated and anyone can call themselves a life or executive coach with zero training or skills.
So after I graduated and quickly got burnt out doing therapy, I refused to admit to myself that I wanted to do coaching. Even though coaching was exactly what I wanted to do, coaching was something I was “supposed” to dunk on.
This bullshit thinking nearly kept me from the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done.
But I remembered that kale and Nickelback are pretty awesome—and so is coaching.
So I stopped giving a shit if it was popular to dunk on, or what other people told me I was “supposed” to hate, and did what the fuck resonated with me.
Now, every day I spend doing meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfills me and helps creators like you reach their potential.
Because I stopped claiming to hate things I secretly loved, and gave myself permission to embrace them.
Think about all the things you secretly love, and would love to share more with the world, but don’t because those things aren’t popular to love…
The Potential of Admitting What We Love
Imagine how much your life could change if you stopped dunking on things you secretly love.
Imagine how much your life could change if you embraced what you love and leaned into it.
Imagine how much better the world would be if more of us had the courage to boldly share the things we love.
Think of the content you’d create, the businesses you could build, and the person you could become—if you just stopped dunking on things you secretly love and instead fully embraced them.
You can be an example for others.
By embracing our own authenticity, we give others permission to embrace their own.
This is how we can effect change on a global scale.
But it starts with us—you and me.
Stop dunking on things you love.
Start embracing them without reservation.