The Courage to Be Disliked - Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

The Courage to Be Disliked - Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

How many nights does it take to be courageous? For Kishimi and Koga, five nights are necessary. Read the summary and find out why.

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According to the dictionary, one of the meanings of courage is "the ability to control fear and to be willing to deal with something that is dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant". In "The Courage to Be Disliked" the dialogue between a frustrated young man and an Adlerian philosopher portrays this definition well.

The dialogue lasts five nights, and ends up being more of a debate than a dialogue, where the young man tries to deconstruct the old philosopher's whole discourse by talking about changeability, feelings, conflicts, interpersonal relationships, and several other issues.

Because it is a philosophical book, the reading becomes dense. So, read this summary to get the best of the book in a simple and direct way.

About the book "The Courage to Be Disliked"

The book "The Courage to Be Disliked" was published on May 8, 2018, by Atria Books. Originally, the book is entitled "The Courage to Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness".

In addition, the work has 288 pages divided into five chapters.

About the authors Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

Ichiro Kishimi is a Japanese philosopher specialized in Plato, and psychologist of the Adlerian line. He was responsible for translating Alfred Adler's writings into Japanese and is the author of several books on psychology and philosophy.

Fumitake Koga is an award-winning Japanese author, having written several business and non-fiction books. Discovering Adlerian psychology at a young age, he was deeply influenced by ideas that challenged conventional wisdom.

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "The Courage to Be Disliked" is for you who want to find purpose in your life, or who want to understand how you can turn your adversities into opportunities.

Main ideas of the book "The Courage to Be Disliked"

  • Blockages, stemming from trauma and negative feelings, prevent us from being who we are;
  • It takes courage to be disliked;
  • Other people's expectations are chains in our lives;
  • Life is simple, what makes it complex is the subjectivity of the individual mindset;
  • Most of life's problems come from interpersonal relationships;
  • Everyone can change, but not everyone wants to change.

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[Book Summary] The Courage to Be Disliked - Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

FIRST NIGHT: Deny trauma

On the young man's first night in the philosopher's house, they discuss the simplicity of life. For the young man, life is complex and hard, it holds us hostage and controls us until death.

For the old philosopher, life is simple. The factor that makes life complex is the subjectivity of the individual. According to Adler, the author of the ideas on which the book is based, society and the concern to please others are the basic determinants of human behavior.

Therefore, the philosopher states that people can change, but always choose not to change. Changing is a painful process and requires self-knowledge.

The question that should be asked before trying to change is: Are you okay the way you are or are you just lying to yourself?

Another important point about change is to understand that not all of us need to change because we have some kind of trauma that shaped us to be the way we are today. For many people, trauma does not exist.

People are the way they are because of the way they handle their own lives and feelings. People fabricate their own anger and choose unhappiness for themselves.

This is because most of the time we choose to live being controlled by the past, while life is happening here and now.

SECOND NIGHT: All Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems

Before you go on reading, ask yourself the following question: Why don't you like yourself?

If your answer is "but I like myself", that means you live in harmony with yourself. However, if your answer is a series of flaws you have or negative thoughts about yourself... It's time to review how you see the world around you.

The first thing you should understand is that, for the philosopher, all problems are based on interpersonal relationships. This happens because we are always using the other as a ruler to measure ourselves instead of actually focusing on ourselves.

Feelings of inferiority are subjective assumptions, and the inferiority complex is just an excuse to justify your dislike of yourself. You feel like a failure because you are failing yourself and your own life.

Life is not a competition and others are not your enemies, do not be seduced by the "lie of life" where you avoid and run away from accomplishing the tasks of life, that is, the interpersonal relationships that an individual is forced to face when trying to live as a social being.

Don't let the way you see the world contaminate the way you see yourself, be kind to yourself.

THIRD NIGHT: Discard Other People's Tasks

Another big problem that prevents self-acceptance is the desire for recognition. Do not live to meet the expectations of others, it will only make you more and more resentful and hateful of others.

The desire for recognition enslaves us and inflates the ego. The real enemy is not other people, the enemy is the ego.

The Ego will cause problems in your relationships. But, how to get rid of interpersonal relationship problems?

You need to separate the tasks, discard other people's tasks, and deal the cards in interpersonal relationships. In the book, this cutting process is called cutting the Gordian knot.

FOURTH NIGHT: Where the Center of the World Is

The goal of interpersonal relationships is a sense of community, but because people fail to use self appropriately, they don't know how to exist in community.

To learn to relate in a healthy and organic way with others, understand that you are not the center of the world, have no interest only in yourself, seek to fulfill your life tasks and listen to the voice of a larger community.

By accomplishing your tasks, you are existing in the present without worrying about the past or the future. Also, living in a community is a positive way to feel that you have value.

You will have the encouragement you need to live at peace with yourself without the mental and emotional manipulation of rebuking and praise.

FIFTH NIGHT: To Live in Earnest in the Here and Now

The peace of being comfortable with yourself will prevent excessive self-consciousness from smothering yourself. So remember: self-affirmation no, self-acceptance yes.

When you accept yourself, you resign yourself to your real essence. However, it is an affirmative resignation that allows you to trust others without pre-established guarantees.

When you accept yourself and the other, it is the moment when you will notice that the essence of work is the contribution to the common good. That is why the young walk ahead of the old, because they already understand from an early age the value of community.

Older people have an excessive compulsion for work that young people do not share, because they know that work is a lie of life that denies you the right to live in the here and now.

The young man knows that life is made up of a series of moments and that you can be happy now, because they have the courage to be disliked.

But, that doesn't mean that the young are better than the old, it means that they live like they are dancing because they are not tied to the past or to other people's expectations.

If you are no longer a bold and courageous young person, the philosopher proposes two paths taken by those who want to become "special beings" that you can follow:

  1. That of shedding light on the biggest lie in life and accepting that being normal is something positive and gives meaning to a seemingly meaningless life;
  2. Or you can fool yourself into pretending to be something you're not to achieve a status of self-centered superiority by trying to be different and special.

Whichever option you choose, remember that you are the one who will suffer the positive or negative consequences of it.

What do other authors say about it?

In Greg McKeown's "Essentialism", he also addresses the idea that less is more and that few things are really essential in your life. Therefore, you should focus only on what is essential.

Another essential book is "Ikigai", by Ken Mogi, you will learn a little more about Japanese life philosophy and in five steps find a life purpose.

Finally, the book "The Little Prince", by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is a children's fable that approaches adult dramas with lightness, being able to make us reflect on how the thoughts we had when we were young can be rescued by our older selves.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Free your mind, focus on the now and have a sense of agency;
  • Deny the trauma and seek enlightenment through self-knowledge;
  • Don't be a victim of yourself or others;
  • Be grateful for the life you have today and make tomorrow better than today.

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Book 'The Courage to be Disliked'