Using the theories of Alfred Adler, authors Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga put them into practice through a narrative dialogue between a philosopher and a young man. The Courage To Be Disliked holds the key to understanding how each of us is able to experience freedom in order to live a happy and fulfilled life without worrying about the past or the future.
Book Title: The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
Author: Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
Date of Reading: March 2023
Table of Contents
What Is Being Said In Detail
“I am suffering because I am not able to change. If I could change, if I could start my life all over again, I would.” Does this sound familiar to you? Be the third guest and follow the five-night-long journey of dialogue between a philosopher and a young man. A philosopher sees the world as a simple place, claiming that everyone can be happy. Controversy aside, the young man shed light on complex adulthood, complicated relationships, issues in society, inequality, war, and a lack of religion.
THE FIRST NIGHT: Deny Trauma
The Unknown Third Giant
Despite the fact that Freud and Jung are more frequently linked to psychology than Adler, those three giants are respected across the globe. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist, is credited with introducing the term Adlerian psychology, which counters Freud’s.
Why People Can Change
If you are a person who is afraid to leave the room due to palpitations, neurosis, or panic, there is something that you should know. Everyone, without exception, can find happiness. Some individuals may believe that their current selves (the effect) are influenced by events from the past (the causes). This would imply that our present and future are already being shaped by prior trauma, family environment, and abuse. Reverting to the beginning, you had the goal of not going out beforehand, so you manufactured a state of anxiety and fear as a means to achieve this goal. This is known as teleology.
Trauma Does Not Exist
Many of Freud’s followers believe that a person’s trauma causes an individual’s unhappiness. On the contrary, Adler makes revolutionary points by denying trauma. Think twice: What is the reason for not leaving your room—past trauma or attracting your parents’ attention?
People Fabricate Anger
The short story talks about a mother-daughter feud. They experienced the emotion of anger in order to fulfill the goal of yelling. Anger is a tool that can be put away as needed. Mother immediately changed her voice to one of politeness and quietness when the phone rang. Once one hangs up, the wrath might be reawakened. When conveying things in regular terms seems too difficult, she is just using her wrath to overcome her daughter with a loud voice.
How to Live Without Being Controlled by the Past
Adlerian psychology is a philosophical school of thinking that is diametrically opposed to nihilism. Emotions do not dominate us. Also, we are not controlled by the past.
Socrates and Adler
This title emphasizes the importance of dialogue. For the purpose of demonstration, Socrates and Adler were used. Socrates lacked the ability to write any book by himself because his focus was on debates with the citizens of Athens. Plato was the one who put his words into writing. Adler also engaged in a personal conversation with the group in a cafe in Vienna.
Are You Okay Just As You Are?
Have you ever wanted to be reborn as another person? You find that specific person smarter, more liked, or more flattering. The reason lies in the fact that you are unable to feel happy. More precisely, you have not learned to love yourself. We want to be someone else because we are utterly focused on what we were born with. Instead, we’ve got to focus on what we can make out of our equipment.
Unhappiness Is Something You Choose for Yourself
In this chapter, the philosopher has the aim of provoking you using absurd arguments. He claims that you choose “being unhappy” at some point in your life. It is not because you were born into or ended up in an unfavorable environment. It’s because you thought “being unhappy” was good for you. The Greek word for “good” (agathon) has no moral connotation. It simply means “beneficial.”
People Always Choose Not to Change
One may say “I am a pessimist”. One could rephrase this and say, “I have a pessimistic view of the world.” Even though it sounds the same at first, you could conclude that the issue is not personality but rather the view of the world. It seems that the word „personality” is unchangeable. Yet, if we’re talking about a worldview, that should be possible to alter. The point to make is that people are unable to change only because they have made the decision not to.
Your Life Is Decided Here and Now
Many people want to live in the realm of possibilities, where one can say that s/he could do it if there was no lack of time, or that s/he could write if there was a proper environment. Probably, in a few years, different excuses will be used, like „I am not young anymore.” However, your life is determined at this exact point because the past does not exist, so take it with your hands widely open.
THE SECOND NIGHT: All Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems
Why You Dislike Yourself
If I passed my exams, life would be rosy.
If I get transferred, everything would go well in my job.
If my fear of blushing had gotten better, I would be with him.
But what if you have the courage to first accept yourself and then step forward? In Adlerian psychology, this approach is called „encouragement”. In this chapter, the authors emphasize how to focus on your virtues rather than your shortcomings, as well as how to transform hating yourself into loving yourself.
All Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems
The authors claim that some people may be terrified of interpersonal relationships, which causes them to dislike themselves. The authors further analyze that if all interpersonal relationships were gone from this world, meaning if one were alone in the universe and all other people were gone, all kinds of problems would disappear.
Feelings of Inferiority Are Subjective Assumptions
Do you consider yourself to be short or tall?
Whatever your answer is, do you consider this feeling about your height a subjective or objective feeling of inferiority? What if you were the only person in this world and no one else existed? Would height really matter to you now that you could no longer compare yourself to others? Because if there hadn’t been anyone to compare yourself to, you wouldn’t have had any reason to think you were short or tall. As a result, a feeling of inferiority is related to one’s value evaluation of oneself.
An Inferiority Complex Is an Excuse
If used correctly, the feeling of inferiority can promote effort and growth. If someone says that s/he is not well educated so must work harder than anyone else, this would be a desirable direction. In the opposite situation, saying that one is not highly educated and so cannot achieve success is regarded as having an inferiority complex. To sum up, there is nothing wrong with having a feeling of inferiority. However, some people lack the courage to take a step forward.
Braggarts Have Feelings of Inferiority
On this topic, a young man and a philosopher were discussing the superiority complex. The wise man suggests thinking about the person who wears rings with rubies and emeralds on all their fingers. He claimed that this person suffers from feelings of inferiority rather than aesthetic concerns. In other words, they showed the elements of a superiority complex.
Life Is Not a Competition
Adler explained things in a straightforward and practical manner. He’s stating that on the same level playing field, there are people who are moving forward and there are people who are moving forward behind them. It is enough to simply keep going forward without competing with anyone. A decent sensation of inferiority derives from comparing oneself to one’s ideal self rather than to others.
You’re the Only One Worrying About Your Appearance
Have you ever caught yourself not celebrating other people’s happiness with all of your heart? If yes, you think of interpersonal relationships as competition. You perceive other people’s happiness as your failure. Even if you are not a loser, even if you keep winning, if you have placed yourself in competition, you will never have a moment of peace. Because they live in competition, many people do not feel truly satisfied while attempting to achieve success in the eyes of society. Once you start believing that people are your comrades, your entire perspective on the world will shift.
From Power Struggle to Revenge
In order to better understand power struggles, an example of a child-parent relationship is used. At the initial stage, a child will tease an adult with misbehaviors. This is done to attract attention and will stop right before the parent gets angry. If misbehavior continues, the goal is to get in a fight. He wants to prove his winning power.
Next time, if someone tries to mistreat you, think about the person’s hidden goal. Probably the person is challenging you to a power struggle.
Admitting Fault Is Not Defeat
The philosopher brought to light how to control anger and not respond to provocation. First, he advises not to respond to someone’s action with a reaction. Second, he argues that anger is not an uncontrolled emotion but rather a tool used for achieving a goal. In other words, the belief that “I am correct” leads to the notion that “this person is wrong.” Finally, many individuals will rush into a power struggle in order to triumph over others.
Overcoming the Tasks That Face You in Life
The definition of the word „life” goes back to childhood. At the youngest age, we are protected by our parents. Eventually, there comes a time when we must become self-sufficient. We cannot rely on our parents forever. Then we must engage in some type of work. During this time, one develops a variety of friendships.
One can fall in love. If it happens, a marriage connection may begin, resulting in a full nest. Finally, a parent-child relationship will begin. As a result, Adler classifies the interpersonal interactions that result from these processes into job chores, friendship tasks, and love duties and refers to them collectively as „life tasks.” Facing those tasks can be fulfilled by encountering the following objective: To be self-reliant in order to live in harmony with society.
Red String and Rigid Chains
If romantic love is a red thread relationship, then the bond between parents and children is tied in tight chains. And you just have a pair of little scissors. You must not postpone or avoid dealing with the situation, no matter how unpleasant it is. Even if you want to cut it with scissors in the end, you must first face it.
The worst thing to do is to stay in the current unpleasant situation. Others around you will change if you change. They will have no option but to alter their behavior. Adlerian psychology is a psychology of self-change rather than a psychology of reforming others. A person cannot spend his or her life fully alone, and it is only in social circumstances that a person becomes an “individual.”
Don’t Fall for the “Life-Lie “
There are times in relationships between lovers or married couples when, for example, a female becomes annoyed with everything her partner says or does. The lady feels this way because, at some point, she decided, “I want to leave this relationship,” and she has been seeking the material to help her accomplish it. The other person has not changed in any way. Her own objective has altered. Adler referred to the situation of creating excuse after excuse to escape life’s responsibilities as the “life lie.”
From the Psychology of Possession to the Psychology of Practice
When the second night came closer to the end, a philosopher and a young man drew the conclusion that Adlerian psychology is not a “psychology of possession” but a “psychology of use.” From the perspective of teleology, we select our own lives and lifestyles. We have the ability to accomplish this.
THE THIRD NIGHT: Discard Other People’s Tasks
Deny the Desire for Recognition
The young man opened up his heart. He confessed that his parents were the greatest guardians during his childhood, but they were strict and put a lot of pressure on him. Until this man started university, his wants always seemed to overlap with their wishes. Nevertheless, he wanted to be recognized by his parents. What he didn’t know is that Adlerian psychology denies the need to seek recognition from others.
Do Not Live to Satisfy the Expectations of Others
In the following chapter, a young man says that seeking status and fame is a desire for recognition, but a philosopher argues that even if you get that recognition, you still won’t be fully happy. He analyzes the claim that some people will hinder the path you are trying to create, and that life is one of the world’s greatest experiences. After all, why chase someone else’s ideal when you can chase yours?
How to Separate Tasks
For any high school or college student out there, what have your parents been doing when you had a hard time studying? Let’s say you didn’t pay attention in class or didn’t do your homework. Maybe their answer could be, “That is for your own good.” It’s true that parents sometimes use this term. Nonetheless, they are certainly behaving in the interest of accomplishing their own aims, which may include their social standing. In other words, it is not only for your own good but for the good of your parents too. A parent’s handling of that by commanding the child to study is an effect of introducing them to another person’s task.
There is a simple method for determining whose duty it is. Consider who will eventually be affected by the outcome of the decision taken. There would be no point if the parents studied instead of the child, would there? Thus, studying is the child’s task.
Discard Other People’s Tasks
Taking on other people’s tasks makes one’s life heavy and difficult. If you live a life of suffering and stress as a result of interpersonal connections, learn to set the boundary of “From here on, it is not my duty.” And disregard other people’s tasks. It is the first step in reducing stress and simplifying life.
How to Rid Yourself of Interpersonal Relationship Problems
The most important takeaway is that it is not your job to be liked by people at the place you work. This person may have a completely irrational boss who yells at every opportunity. His reasons for not liking you are clearly unreasonable, so don’t get cozy with him.
However, if someone says they can’t do their work because they have been shunned by their boss, they are using the existence of the boss as an excuse for the work that doesn’t go well. This thinking is supported by etiology. But we strive to be in correlation with teleology by saying, „I don’t want to work, hence I’ll create an awful boss.”
Cut the Gordian Knot
Gordius, a poor peasant, was declared king and dedicated his ox cart to Zeus, tying it to a post with a Gordian knot. Despite centuries of attempts, no one was able to loosen the knot until Alexander the Great untied it by slicing it in half. He had no use for the legend’s power and would carve his own destiny with his sword. As a result, such complicated knots—the bonds in our interpersonal relationships—must be cut via a whole different methodology rather than unwound by conventional techniques.
Desire for Recognition Makes You Unfree
The most important takeaway is that seeking recognition from others is an unfree way to live, as it is based on a desire for recognition rather than freedom. In this manner, the term „desire for recognition” can be seen as a synonym for „one doesn’t want to be disliked by anyone.” Yet, engaging in other people’s tasks is ultimately an egotistical way of thinking. Parents force their children to study and engage in their personal and marriage relationships. That is nothing more than egocentric thinking.
What Real Freedom Is
This chapter is the core and root of the entire book. In the model, freedom mediates the relationship between the courage of being disliked and happiness as the outcome. The authors further emphasize that refusing to be disliked is an unfree way of thinking. But have in mind that it does not mean that one should engage in wrongdoing.
You Hold the Cards to Interpersonal Relationships
The philosopher broke the silence and talked about his childhood. All he can remember is being hit by his father. As long as he used etiology to think, he would say, „I have a bad relationship with my father because once he hit me”. But if he says „I brought out the memory of being hit because I don’t want our relationship to get better”, then he is holding the card to repair relations. Remember, if you just change the goal, it fixes everything.
THE FOURTH NIGHT: Where the Center of the World I
Individual Psychology and Holism
Adlerian psychology views the mind and body as one, as a whole that cannot be divided into parts. Tension in the mind can cause physical symptoms like hand or leg shaking, while fear can make one’s face turn white.
The Goal of Interpersonal Relationships Is a Feeling of Community
We should have a sense of belonging to our comrades and a desire to share with them and contribute to the community. This sense of others as comrades is called “community feeling”.
Why Am I Only Interested in Myself?
Individuals who are obsessed with recognition will appear to be focusing on other people while they are actually looking only at themselves. They lack concern for others and are just preoccupied with “I.” Simply put, they are self-centered.
You Are Not the Center of the World
This chapter explains that a sense of belonging is achieved by making an active commitment to the community. To achieve this, one needs to think not of what others will give but of what one can give to the community.
Listen to the Voice of a Larger Community
If you are a student, suppose that you regard the community that is „school” as absolute. Your „I” exists because of school. But there is a larger community that extends beyond the confines of the school. This includes escaping to a smaller community, such as home, and attempting to gain a sense of belonging.
Do Not Rebuke or Praise
Praise is the passing of judgment by a person of ability on a person of no ability. For example, a mother may praise her child for helping her prepare dinner, but when her husband does the same thing, she won’t be praising him. Mother unconsciously forms a hierarchical bond with the kid, seeing the youngster as beneath her.
The Encouragement Approach
Assume you enjoy hearing praise. When gaining praise becomes one’s goal, one is choosing to live in accordance with another person’s value system. Aren’t you exhausted from trying to live up to your parents’ expectations throughout your life up to this point? If so, perform task separation. Build equal horizontal (mutual respect) connections while embracing each other’s differences. The approach that follows is a form of encouragement.
How to Feel You Have Value
The most important idea is that to feel one’s worth, one must be able to feel beneficial to the community. This can be done by showing concern for others, building horizontal relationships, and taking the approach of encouragement.
Exist in the Present
When you look at things at the level of being, we are useful to others and have value just by being here. If your life were in danger, the people around you would be happy simply to see you alive in the present moment and would not expect you to take any direct action.
People Cannot Make Proper Use of Self
The most important idea is that there should be space to refuse and propose a better way of doing things, rather than avoiding conflict and dependency on vertical relationships.
THE FIFTH NIGHT: To Live in Earnest in the Here and Now
Excessive Self-Consciousness Stifles the Self
This chapter gives an overview of the previously mentioned topics such as community feeling, self-consciousness, and interpersonal relationships. The conversation continues by introducing the term happiness.
Not Self-Affirmation — Self-Acceptance
Self-affirmation is making suggestions to oneself, such as “I can do it,” even when something is beyond one’s ability. For example, you got 60 percent on the exam, but you tell yourself that the real you is 100 percent. Self-acceptance is accepting oneself as one is, at 60 percent, and asking how to get closer to 100 percent.
The Difference between Trust and Confidence
Trust comes with set conditions, but one can believe unconditionally without worrying about security. That is confidence.
The Essence of Work Is a Contribution to the Common Good
Community feeling is not attainable with just self-acceptance and confidence. To contribute to others, one must act in some way toward their comrades. This can be done through work or taking care of one’s household. Labor is not a means of earning money, but rather the feeling that “I am of use to someone”.
Young People Walk Ahead of Adults
Studying in your twenties allows you to change quickly and be ahead of the adults of the world. This is important as it means that you are still young and able to make changes quickly.
Workaholism Is a Life-Lie
Workaholics often use work as an excuse to avoid other responsibilities. When they reach retirement age, they may have no choice but to live off their pension or with support from their children. Even when they are young, injury or poor health can lead to being unable to work. Those who can accept themselves only on the basis of their acts are severely damaged.
You Can Be Happy Now
The philosopher argues that people can only be truly aware of their worth when they feel “I am of use to someone”. It doesn’t matter if the contribution is visible or not, as long as they have the subjective sense of being of use. He concludes that happiness is the feeling of contribution.
Two Paths Traveled by Those Wanting to Be “Special Beings”
Problem behavior is a form of the pursuit of easy superiority, and when a child engages in it, their parents rebuke them. However, the child still wants their parents’ attention and the feeling of being special, so it is only natural that they continue to engage in problem behavior no matter how harshly they are rebuked.
The Courage to Be Normal
But is being normal or ordinary really such a bad thing? It is wrong to put normality and incapability in the same box. It is important to remember that being normal is not inferior and that one does not need to flaunt one’s superiority.
Life Is a Series of Moments
Life is a series of dots, not a line, and we can only live in the here and now. It is a series of moments called “now.” A seemingly linear existence is actually a series of moments.
Live Like You’re Dancing
Dance is a form of movement that does not attempt to reach a destination. The kind of dancing life is called an “energeia (actual-active-state) life,” which is movement in which the process itself is treated as the outcome.
Shine a Light on the Here and Now
Imagine you are on a theater stage. If the house lights are on, you can see all the way to the back of the hall, but if the spotlight is on, you won’t be able to make out the front row. This is similar to our lives. We cast a dim light on our lives, allowing us to see the past and the future, but if we shine a spotlight on them, we would live more earnestly in the here and now.
The Greatest Life-Lie
The greatest life lie is to look at the past and future, cast a dim light on one’s entire life, and believe that one has been able to see something. By doing this, we have turned away from the here and now and shined a light only on invented pasts and futures. We have told a great lie to our life, to these irreplaceable moments.
Give Meaning to Seemingly Meaningless Life
Do you feel lost? When one attempts to choose freedom, it is only natural that one may lose one’s way. Adler introduces the guiding star as a compass. It states that as long as we do not lose sight of this compass and keep on moving in this direction, there is happiness. More precisely, as long as we contribute to others, we will not lose our way and can do whatever we like, regardless of whether we are disliked or not.
Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes
„None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning to. The world you see is different from the one I see, and it’s impossible to share your world with anyone else.“
„At present, the world seems complicated and mysterious to you, but if you change, the world will appear more simple. The issue is not about how the world is, but about how you are.“
„If you see the world through dark glasses, then naturally everything seems dark. But if that is the case, instead of lamenting about the world’s darkness, you could just remove the glasses.“
THE FIRST NIGHT: Deny Trauma
„In Adlerian psychology, we do not think about past “causes” but rather about present “goals.“
„As long as we stay in etiology, we will not take a single step forward.“
„Your life is not something that someone gives you, but something you choose yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live.“
„The procedure of explaining things in normal words felt like too much trouble, and you tried to get out of that and make this unresisting person submit to you. The tool you used to do this was the emotion of anger.“
„In a word, anger is a tool that can be taken out as needed.“
„We can’t go back to the past in a time machine. We can’t turn back the hands of time. If you end up staying in etiology, you will be bound by the past and never be able to find happiness.“
„It is Freudian etiology that denies our free will and treats humans like machines.“
„If the past determined everything and couldn’t be changed, we who are living today would no longer be able to take effective steps forward in our lives.“
„If you are unable to really feel happy, then it’s clear that things aren’t right just as they are. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other, and not stop.“
“The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.”
„But you are unhappy now because you yourself chose to be unhappy. Not because you were born under an unlucky star.“
„If your lifestyle is not something that you were naturally born with, but something you chose yourself, then it must be possible to choose it over again.“
„You’ll probably face disappointment and start looking at other people and feeling, I wish I’d been born in their circumstances. But you can’t let it end there. The issue is not the past, but here, in the present.“
„Your unhappiness cannot be blamed on your past or your environment. And it isn’t that you lack competence. You just lack courage. One might say you are lacking the courage to be happy.“
“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.”
THE SECOND NIGHT: All Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems
“To get rid of one’s problems, all one can do is live in the universe all alone.”
„Loneliness is having other people and society and community around you, and having a deep sense of being excluded from them.“
„There is one good thing about subjectivity: It allows you to make your own choice.“
„People enter this world as helpless beings. And people have the universal desire to escape from that helpless state.“
„Adler is saying that the pursuit of superiority and the feeling of inferiority are not diseases but stimulants to normal, healthy striving and growth.“
„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.“
„I withdrew from places that are preoccupied with winning and losing. When one is trying to be oneself, competition will inevitably get in the way.“
„The reason so many people don’t really feel happy while they’re building up their success in the eyes of society is that they are living in competition.“
„Once one is released from the schema of competition, the need to triumph over someone disappears.“
„When you are able to truly feel that “people are my comrades,” your way of looking at the world will change utterly. No longer will you think of the world as a perilous place, or be plagued by needless doubts; the world will appear before you as a safe and pleasant place.“
„If someone were to abuse me to my face, I would think about the person’s hidden goal. Even if you are not directly abusive, when you feel genuinely angry due to another person’s words or behavior, please consider that the person is challenging you to a power struggle.“
„And once the interpersonal relationship reaches the revenge stage, it is almost impossible for either party to find a solution. To prevent this from happening, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.“
„It’s only when we take away the lenses of competition and winning and losing that we can begin to correct and change ourselves.“
„In every instance, no matter how much you might think you are right, try not to criticize the other party on that basis. This is an interpersonal relationship trap that many people fall into.“
„A lot of people think that the more friends you have the better, but I’m not so sure about that. There’s no value at all in the number of friends or acquaintances you have. And this is a subject that connects with the task of love, but what we should be thinking about is the distance and depth of the relationship.“
THE THIRD NIGHT: Discard Other People’s Tasks
„You might be blessed by great wealth but not have anyone who loves you; you have no comrades whom you could call friends, and you are not liked by anyone. This is a great misfortune.“
„If you are not living your life for yourself, then who is going to live it for you?“
„Forcing change while ignoring the person’s intentions will only lead to an intense reaction.“
„The act of believing is also the separation of tasks. You believe in your partner; that is your task. But how that person acts with regard to your expectations and trust is other people’s tasks.“
„Intervening in other people’s tasks and taking on other people’s tasks turns one’s life into something heavy and full of hardship.“
„All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in.“
„You are using the term “desire for recognition,” but what you are really saying is that you don’t want to be disliked by anyone.“
„An adult, who has chosen an unfree way to live, on seeing a young person living freely here and now in this moment, criticizes the youth as being hedonistic. Of course, this is a life-lie that comes out so that the adult can accept his own unfree life.“
“Freedom is being disliked by other people.”
„The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked.“
THE FOURTH NIGHT: Where the Center of the World I
„One needs to think not, What will this person give me? but rather, What can I give to this person? That is commitment to the community.“
„Living in fear of one’s relationships falling apart is an unfree way to live, in which one is living for other people“
„A company employee and a full-time housewife simply have different workplaces and roles, and are truly “equal but not the same.”
„The more one is praised by another person, the more one forms the belief that one has no ability.“
„Even if you do derive joy from being praised, it is the same as being dependent on vertical relationships and acknowledging that you have no ability. Because giving praise is a judgment that is passed by a person of ability onto a person without ability.“
„The most important thing is to not judge other people. “Judgment” is a word that comes out of vertical relationships. If one is building horizontal relationships, there will be words of more straightforward gratitude and respect and joy.“
“Someone has to start. Other people might not be cooperative, but that is not connected to you. My advice is this: you should start. With no regard to whether others are cooperative or not.”
„If you are building even one vertical relationship with someone, before you even notice what is happening, you will be treating all your interpersonal relations as vertical.
THE FIFTH NIGHT: To Live in Earnest in the Here and Now
„We can believe. And we can doubt. But we are aspiring to see others as our comrades. To believe or to doubt—the choice should be clear.“
„We are truly aware of our own worth only when we feel that our existence and behavior are beneficial to the community, that is to say, when one feels “I am of use to someone.”
„If you were to start studying at the age of twenty, it would take ten years, until you turned thirty. You are still young. Starting at such an early stage in life means that you might be able to change more quickly. In the sense that you can change quickly, you are walking ahead of the adults of the world.“
„In a word, happiness is the feeling of contribution. That is the definition of happiness.“
„All human beings can be happy. But it must be understood that this does not mean all human beings are happy. Whether it is on the level of acts or on the level of being, one needs to feel that one is of use to someone. That is to say, one needs a feeling of contribution.“
„If you are able to possess the courage to be normal, your way of looking at the world will change dramatically.“
„The life of the past that looks like a straight line appears that way to you only as a result of your making ceaseless resolutions to not change. The life that lies ahead of you is a completely blank page, and there are no tracks that have been laid for you to follow.“
„The fact that you think you can see the past, or predict the future, is proof that rather than living earnestly here and now, you are living in a dim twilight. Life is a series of moments, and neither the past nor the future exists.”
„Life is always simple, not something that one needs to get too serious about. If one is living each moment earnestly, there is no need to get too serious.“
„An experience of hardship should be an opportunity to look ahead and think, What can I do from now on?“
Book Review (Personal Opinion)
As someone who is interested in psychology and self-esteem books, I was deeply affected by how authors successfully turned Adler’s wisdom into simple, understandable language. The book is a chaotic mass of contradictions with rather provocative content. However, it presents straightforward yet practical answers to the questions of one’s happiness.
This Book Is For:
- Young adults who are interested in psychology
- Anyone who is in search for happiness
- Self-help high school and college students
If You Want To Learn More
Check out what an influential speaker had to say about The Courage To Be Disliked:
This Book Made Me a Happier Person
How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book
The revolutionary point in my life happened when I turned etiology into teleology. I stopped blaming the past and instead concentrated on the here and now. The people around me, who were my enemies, are now my comrades. Once I engaged in volunteer activities in my local community, I found true freedom and happiness, respectively.
One Small Actionable Step You Can Do
This book helps us leave the past behind, where it belongs. Freud concentrates on etiology, pointing a finger at parents and childhood. On the other hand, Adler teaches us how to understand the goal of our actions. If your goal is to find happiness, it is possible. However, to find happiness, you will need to practice courage.