The Courage to Be Disliked – Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

Student – as you get older, you lose your innocence. Your romantic view of life is replaced by cruel realism. Responsibility and complicated relationships start to wear an adult down. Since religion is no longer prevalent in modern life, everyone is consumed by anxiety and doubt.

Philosopher – we don’t live in an objective world. Everything you see is different than what I see, and it is impossible to share your world with anyone else.

People can change, and if they change their perception, they can change their world. All people can find happiness.

Alderian Psychology – more akin to greek philosophy.

What happened in the past does not dictate your future. That would imply that everything is already decided based on past occurrences (determinism). Alder believed we use the past to justify our current goals. The past is what we lean on to explain things to ourselves, but it is not really dictating our present circumstance.

Etiology – the study of causation.

Teleology – the study of the purpose of a given phenomenon, rather than its cause. This is what Adler believed in. We look for things to rationalize, justify what we want.

Trauma – rejected in Adlerian psychology. No experience is in itself a cause of our success of failure. We are not determined by our experiences, but the meaning we give them is self-determining. We make of then whatever suits our purposes.

Human emotions are tools we use to achieve goals.

We can’t believe that emotions and past events determine our lives because that would inevitably lead a person to nihilism – the belief that nothing they do in their lives today can effective positive change.

Adler – what’s important is not what one is born with but what use one makes of the equipment.

Lifestyle – the tendencies of thought and action in life. Personality and disposition are also described as lifestyle in Alderian psychology.

Alder believed you could change your view point, you don’t have a personality that is fixed. Believed that people chose their personality, often unknowingly, around the age of ten.

People often say they want to change, but rarely mean it. They understand that change involves stepping out from what is familiar. The familiar, although not perfect, can be rationalized as being good enough and safe, which is what keeps most people from stepping out. Although people have various complaints about things, it’s easier and more secure to be just the way one is.

Alderian Psychology is about courage. The lack of courage is the main factor holding people back. Changing your lifestyle implies that your way of interacting with the world, and behavior would change too. Most are not willing to do it.

Adler – No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on.

Adler – To get rid of all of one’s problems, all one can do is live in the universe all alone. But one can’t do that. We have to get more comfortable with the fact that interpersonal relationships will create some pain.

Feelings of inferiority – subjective feelings that arise when comparing one’s self to others. We use these to rationalize our goals. Value is based on social context.

Inferiority Complex – when one begins to use the feeling of inferiority as an excuse. Inferiority can be positive though, in that it keeps a person moving forward. It’s more problematic when people lose confidence, and start to believe that nothing they can do through their own efforts can lead to improvement, change.

Superiority Complex – one lacks the courage to strive and grow, but also can’t tolerate the idea of not being able to do anything about the current situation (inferiority complex). This creates behaviors where a person overcompensates and tries to demonstrate how special or unique they are. If one really has confidence in themself, they wouldn’t feel the need to boast.

Using misfortune, weakness, as an advantage. Woah is me type of attitudes. You don’t understand how I feel type attitudes.

Avoiding the sense of competition is the key. A healthy feeling of inferiority is not something that comes from comparing oneself to others, it comes from one’s comparison with one’s ideal self.

Once you get over the idea of everything being a competition, zero-sum, you can take pleasure in the achievements and happiness of others. They are comrades. Competition will always keep you chasing, and for the most part unsatisfied anyway since there will always be someone above you.

Two types of anger – personal grudge and righteous indignation (larger woes in society). Anger as an expression of a personal grudge is nothing but a tool for making others submit to you. Righteous indignation goes beyond one’s own interests.

Interpersonal conflict is a power struggle. People rely on anger as a way to communicate, or to take control of the struggle.

Once you start to believe you are right, it implies the other person is wrong, and the communication becomes a competition. Admitting a mistake is seen as a loss.

Life tasks – clear objectives laid out for human behavior and psychology. Two main ones is Alderian psychology – to be self-reliant and to live in harmony with society.

Tasks of work, tasks of friendship, tasks of love. The three types of life tasks. All involve interpersonal relationships.

We look to find flaws in other people just so that we can avoid life tasks, and further more, so we can avoid interpersonal relationships.

Life lie – running away from one’s life tasks by saying that everything is the fault of other people, or the fault of one’s environment.

Fear of interacting with other people, fear of the pain it will enviably cause, leads us to create life lies which are convenient ways for us to avoid trying things, our life tasks. The only real problem is the lack of courage to try.

There is no need for recognition from others. Actually, one must not seek recognition.

Reward and Punishment education – problematic because it relies on recognition. If I don’t get credit for doing the right thing, I won’t do it. If I’m not punished for doing the wrong thing, then I will do it.

Leading a life dictated on recognition will lead you towards living the life of others. People see recognition by others a means to an end, like it will unlock something for them. Not true.

Separation of Tasks – all interpersonal troubles are caused by intruding on other people’s tasks, or having one’s tasks intruded on. Carrying out separation of tasks is enough to change one’s interpersonal relationships dramatically.

How to tell who’s task it is? Ask who ultimately is going to receive the result brought about by the choice that is made?

Forcing change while ignoring the person’s intentions will only lead to an intense reaction. You are the only one who can change yourself.

Other people are not living to satisfy your expectations. And vice-versa.

Intervening in other people’s tasks turns life into something heavy and full of hardship. Defining and focusing only on your own tasks is the first step towards lightening the load and making life simpler.

We are always worried about being judged by others. Worried about other people looking at us. Seeking recognition. Should not be according to Adler. What other people think about you is their task, and not something you have control over.


Easier to live in such a way to satisfy the expectations of others, entrusting one’s life to them. But this is not freedom. A person has to choose – take recognition from others, or choose freedom without it.

Our natural inclination is to be liked and to be recognized. We have to go against this according to reach true freedom.

Freedom is being disliked by other people. It is proof that you are exercising your freedom and living in accordance to your own principles. If you are living in fear of being disliked or judged, you really aren’t free.

When one is tied to the desire for recognition, the interpersonal relationship cards will always stay in the hands of other people.

Community – according to Adler, it’s the entire universe, not just human beings. Plants, animals, inanimate objects. Hard to grasp and even he acknowledged that it was “an unattainable ideal”.

Community feeling – also referred to as “social interest”. We must make the change from attachment to self, to concern for others.

Desire for recognition is also a form of self-centeredness. Not just an egomaniac. Have to expel the idea that you are the center of the world. Replace it with the notion that you are part of the community, as described by Alder, and you concerns should be bigger than yourself.

We need to forge a connection to community for this to happen. And that sense is forged via a person’s efforts, their contributions.

Living in fear of losing a relationship is an unfree way to live.

Horizontal relationships – avoid rebuking or praising, since either creates a hierarchal relationship. If you pass judgement on someone else, you are making yourself out to be an authority figure to them, whether or not it’s warranted. Praise and rebuke are ways to manipulate.

Horizontal relationships – equal, but not the same. Should make inferiority complexes less prevalent.

People intervene in others’ tasks because they see relationships as vertical, and the other person is beneath them and needs help. Ex – parent and a child. Better way – first separate tasks. Then while accepting each other’s differences, build equal horizontal relationships.

It’s not from lack of ability, it’s from lack of courage to face one’s tasks.

Praising or rebuking implies judgement. Encouragement involves more gratitude, respect and joy. They show that you have made a contribution to another person.

It is only when a person feels like he has worth that he can posses courage. A person feels like they have worth when they believe that they are beneficial to the community.

You can’t have both vertical and horizontal relationships. To breakthrough, form one real horizontal relationship, and that will trigger all your vertical ones to fall apart.

Self- acceptance – focusing on what one can change rather than on what one cannot. Also having the courage to change what one can.

Confidence in others – trusting others, you do what you can, and trust that others will do the right thing acknowledging you can’t control what they do, it’s their task. And even if you are taken advantage of, you still should keep the confidence, and focus on your tasks, not theirs.

We can believe or we can doubt. That choice is ours alone, our task. If we are aiming to build community, the default choice should be believe.

Contribution to others – giving the sense that you are of use, can enable self-acceptance.

The greatest unhappiness is not being able to like one’s self. To like one’s self, you need to create self-worth. Self-worth comes from knowing you are of use to someone.

If you know you are making a contribution, you should not need the recognition of others. Then you are free. Someone obsessed with recognition does not have any community feeling yet, and has not managed to engage in self-acceptance, confidence in others, and contribution to others.

People want to be a “special being” only as a means to collect the attention and admiration of other people.

The courage to be normal – not seeking out the attention of others by demonstrating superiority. Builds upon self acceptance.

A well-planned life is not something to be thought of as necessary or necessary as it is impossible. Life is not linear.

Reject Etiology, more associated with Freud, that makes your life a story. What happened in the past has no meaning. The past doesn’t exist anymore, why dwell on it.

Also refrain from trying to plan the future. You can only see and affect what is happening right now in this moment.

There is no linear story to your life. It’s just a series of moments. Starting to think of your life in a story with drive you to keep the same narrative arc going, which is necessarily restrictive.

The goal is to live earnestly and conscientiously.

Greatest life-lie – to be stuck between looking back at the past, and trying to predict the future.

Whatever meaning life has must be assigned to it by the individual.

Guidling star – make contributions to others. If you do this, everything else should fall into place?

If “I” change, the world will change since I am the one who is ascribing value to things. No one else will change the world for me.

The world is simple, and life is simple too.

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