Windows, MacBooks, and the Power of an Open Mind

Open-mindedness is kind of a superpower.

Hey friends,

I bought myself my first-ever personal MacBook a week ago. It wasn't an easy decision for one simple reason: I HATED MacBooks, and macOS in particular.

Ever since I got my first PC back in 2000, I was (almost) always a Windows guy. There were a couple years around college when I was fanboying for Linux, compiling kernels, submitting bug reports, and doing other fun and time-consuming things, but that didn't last long. Windows was straightforward and generally "just worked" – especially the later versions of it – which was all I needed as I switched from coding to entrepreneurship.

A few years ago, I had a chance to use a MacBook as a work machine. It was the first time I tried macOS after almost two decades on Windows, and I immediately hated it. It felt WRONG:

  • The keyboard felt wrong and the shortcuts felt complex. How do you live without a Delete key? What's with this Cmd thing? How am I supposed to press Ctrl + Shift + Cmd + 4 to take a screenshot or Shift + Opt + Cmd + V to paste without formatting without breaking my fingers?
  • Windows felt wrong. Why are window controls on the left side? Why fullscreen instead of maximize? Why can't I minimize by clicking the tray icon?
  • Apps felt wrong. Why install by dragging an icon instead of having a proper wizard? What do you mean you CAN'T have folders separate from files in Finder? Why does pressing Enter RENAME the file? Why is there no alternative to the best text editor in the world which is Notepad++? What do you mean I have to buy apps?

And many other things. Constant permission prompts. Constantly having to enter my stupid password. Weird mouse acceleration that made me feel like I'm dragging the mouse through jelly. It felt LITERALLY UNUSABLE.

Long story short, I immediately got butthurt, spent a few days trying to make the MacBook behave like my Windows laptop, ended up with something in-between, and basically hated every second of using it for the next couple months until I gave up. My Windows machine at home felt like a breath of fresh air.

And bear in mind, by that point, I'd been an iPhone guy for close to a decade. I loved my iPhones because they were simple, reliable, and just worked. MacBook felt the opposite. It felt wrong, complex, weird, and inconvenient – I just couldn't understand people saying it's more straightforward than Windows.

So why a MacBook now? A few things:

  • I needed a portable laptop with good battery life, Surfaces were kinda expensive, and I was pissed at Dell for canceling my XPS 13 order. And no Windows laptop comes close to M-series MacBooks in terms of battery life anyway. Sad, but true.
  • Over the years, I've become a lot more aware of my traits and mental patterns and invested a lot of effort into fixing some of the more annoying ones: such as stubbornness, mental rigidity, and jumping to conclusions. Open mind ftw.
  • A few comments I saw online compared Macs vs Windows to different kinds of tools or cars with different transmissions. A manual isn't inherently worse than automatic, it's just different. You can learn both. That made it click.

And so I got a MacBook and decided to approach this as a new learning experience. I read the manual. I went through a couple macOS guides. And most importantly, I made an agreement with myself to observe my feelings and write down every question and inconvenience I encounter instead of getting enraged and trying to change the settings to make macOS behave more like Windows.

The result? I actually kinda like it! Sure, some things are still annoying:

  • The lack of the Delete button is killing me – I write a lot, and I use it A LOT, and Fn+Backspace is just so much more inconvenient.
  • I still can't get used to some shortcuts, although I'm doing a lot better with Cmd vs Ctrl now (and I haven't even swapped them).
  • Finder not grouping folders together when sorting by date is inconvenient. And I kinda prefer Explorer overall.

There's some other stuff I haven't gotten used to yet, but I also learned many new things I didn't know previously. The trackpad is actually really cool if you learn the gestures. Sleep is great, unlike Windows with its frustrating Modern Standby that makes it wake up, heat up, and drain the battery at random. And the battery life is incredible – and what's more important than that in a portable laptop?

Did this experience make me a MacBook guy? Probably not. I still enjoy Windows, I still love my Dell XPS 17, and I'll keep using it as my main machine.

Did this experience prove to me that approaching new things with curiosity, an open mind, and a genuine desire to learn is the way to go? Absolutely.

If I can do a 180 and get used to (and actually start enjoying) something I used to hate so passionately just a couple years ago through the sheer power of a mindful and open-minded approach, imagine what you can do if you put your mind to it.

Have an open-minded week,


A few thoughts

Kinda Aware™ isn't enough. After an incredibly productive previous week, I kinda slipped this past week and spent more time procrastinating than I'd love to. Turns out it's kinda hard to be Always Aware™ when you're switching focus from awareness to other priorities.

Expression without judgment. Consider these two statements: "We've had a great time, you missed out!" vs "We've had a great time, you missed out because of your stubbornness, as usual!"

Like riding a bike. I haven't ridden a motorcycle for years – at first due to major repairs, later because I lost the confidence, wasn't sure I even remember how it's done, and wasn't sure it was for me anymore. Just tried it for the first time in years and it felt as great as always – didn't forget a thing. If you're unsure about something, give it a try!

Loved this

Why Ride a 600cc Sportbike "So why buy a sportbike? Because I had decided to prioritise riding the kinds of bikes I wouldn’t be able to ride when I’m older. Older riders have back pain, wrist pain, and other physical impediments that make riding sportbikes very painful. I thought I should ride a sportbike while I can. When my body doesn’t let me any more, I’ll move on."

Will you perceive the event that kills you? Will you feel it if a piano falls from the sky right on top of your head and kills you? The answer may surprise you!

The fun part

One motorcycle was ridden and many many dogs were pet this past week.

I'm still not sure about the collages, but I don't yet have a better way of sharing a lot of photos here.

P.S. This newsletter has been written on my MacBook™.