The Courage to Be Disliked | Ichiro Kishimi

Summary of: The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
By: Ichiro Kishimi


Dive into the world of Adlerian psychology with ‘The Courage to Be Disliked’, a transformative book by Ichiro Kishimi that challenges popular notions about trauma, happiness, and the power of change. Within the pages of this summary, you will learn how to break free from the shackles of the past and construct a brighter future on your terms. Uncover the importance of community, the folly of self-obsession, and how to embrace independence without seeking validation from others. Get ready to confront your assumptions about happiness and reevaluate your perspective on life.

Freedom to Transform

The past does not define us, we have the power to transform whenever we want. This idea is championed by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, who believed that deterministic thinking based on past experiences is flawed. Despite popular belief, not everyone who has suffered abuse becomes a social outcast. There are many other factors that contribute to human behavior, and we have the freedom to choose how we act. Psychological problems are not always rooted in trauma, and individuals have the power to change their reasons for action. For example, a recluse may have developed anxiety as an excuse to stay indoors, but they have the ability to transform and overcome this. Adler’s view of human psychology encourages us to take control of our lives and shape our own futures, rather than being defined by our past experiences.

Choosing your Outlook

Adlerian psychology views a person’s outlook on life as a lifestyle choice rather than a fixed personality trait. Our previous experiences influence this decision, and negative outlooks can be changed if we are willing to take the uncomfortable step of embracing the unknown. The fear of failing or vulnerable prevents change, leading to a stagnant, unhappy lifestyle.

Overcoming Self-Loathing

In “Shortcomings,” Ichiro Kishimi confronts the idea that focusing solely on our negative traits can lead to self-loathing and isolation. By constantly fixating on faults and trying to change ourselves, we create “good reasons” to push others away. Pain and exclusion are part of life, and choosing to retreat only creates a false solution to a misidentified problem. It’s essential to accept imperfections and embrace the ups and downs of life to move past self-loathing and into a place of self-acceptance.

The Harm in a Competitive Mindset

Society values competition, but this mindset can cause harm to mental well-being. When we view others as rivals, it creates unnecessary stress and pressure to always be a “winner”. Even highly productive people can suffer from deep unhappiness. By freeing ourselves from a competitive attitude, we can realize that nobody is holding us back and open ourselves up to true freedom. Let go of worrying about others’ perception and focus on our own attitude to achieve what we truly desire.

Breaking the Cycle

The education culture is built on reward and punishment; we were taught that if we did something well we would be rewarded, and if we did something wrong, we would be punished. Seeking approval from others can lead to making poor choices, such as selecting a career or partner to meet the expectations of others. It’s essential to break the cycle of seeking approval and realize that we’re under no obligation to live up to the expectations of others. Making life choices that are best for us may disappoint others, including our families, but it’s crucial to live our lives based on what brings us fulfillment.

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