The Courage To Be Disliked By Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The pursuit of happiness is a concept that has been studied since ancient times…

The Adlerian philosophy provides a thought mindset to help everyone reach happiness, no matter their emotions, their past, background or current circumstances.

Contrary to the Freudian philosophy, Adlerian psychology, in line with Greek philosophy, doesn’t adhere to a cause to effect approach, that one’s past determines their present and ultimately their future.

The fact is that life is a series of choices that fulfills a subjective objective and fits a chosen lifestyle, a given view of the world.

It would require courage to change lifestyle and to chose to be happy.

The Courage To Be Disliked By Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Main Concepts of Adlerian Psychology

A long dialogue takes place between a Youth, eager for answers, searching for “the truth about life” and a Philosopher, willing to share his knowledge for 5 nights.

The conversation does not only revolve around being happy and being liked but on finding happiness and moreover acquiring a sense of self, freedom and a deepening belief in equality in all areas of life.

What is standing in the way of happiness: Emotions and the Past

People are not controlled by their emotions or their past: emotions are just tools to achieve a goal and you mustn’t look at what you were born with or into but what you can possibly make of it.

“The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.” You want to be Y or someone else because you are utterly focused on what you were born with. Instead, you’ve got to focus on what you can… Click To Tweet

What is standing in the way of happiness: Dealing with interpersonal relationship problems

Unfortunately, most problems that we face are interpersonal relationship problems.

That is because, universally, everybody has feelings of inferiority that are based in an intense desire to continually improve and a comparison with one’s idea of self.

Furthermore, people pursue feelings of superiority through growth, actions and the learning process, and a lack of comparison to other people.

These feelings of inferiority if in excess or not taken care of can develop into inferiority or superiority complexes. However, some people choose to take actionable and courageous steps to overcome these feelings, others use these feelings to justify their actions.

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems. - Alfred Adler Click To Tweet

How to have the lifestyle that you want and truly be happy?

To live the lifestyle that you truly want, you must have the courage to change and to:

  • Accept yourself. Use what you have in your favor, avoid focusing on short comings but change how you use what you have.
  • Change your goals.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others.
  • Avoid competing with others.
  • Avoid trying to be right (all the time).
  • Stop looking to satisfy other people.
  • Stop looking to be recognized by other people.
  • Avoid living up to other people’s expectation of yourself.
  • Create clear boundaries so you do not live for no one else.
  • Separate your life tasks from others and do not intervene in theirs in order to resolve interpersonal relationship problems.
  • Face your life tasks head on and on your own two feet.
  • Make your own decisions.
  • Be unafraid to be disliked by other people.
  • Avoid praising, disparaging or judging people.
  • Rely on a broader sense of community than the one in your immediate vicinity.
  • Bring value to someone else.


The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga provides an overview into Adler’s psychology and shares a very interesting yet direct/pragmatic approach to life and a simplistic view of the world.

The Courage To Be Disliked is constructed as a conversation, based on mutual respect of the views and opinions of each other, between a youth and a philosopher on the basis Socrate’s dialogue with his disciples.

A witty dialogue on happiness, equality, freedom and interpersonal relationships is held between a Youth and a Philosopher for 5 nights. The youth would represent society or the reader discovering Adler’s concepts and the philosopher would stand outside and has an objective view of society.

In fact, it is a healthy debate between a person who happens to be young and who notices the apparent contradictions of the world and a philosopher who believes that the world is not as complicated as it seems.

Throughout this book, we can see the Youth going through different emotions and stages, the Philosopher remaining equal to himself and their friendship ultimately blossoming.

The Courage To Be Disliked is a book that have been “dying” to read for more than 2 years now and wish I read sooner. The knowledge shared can be found in basically every self-help book on the market right now.

It invites for introspection and is brutally honest when it comes to demonstrating how people make life hard for each other, how people deal with feelings of inferiority and superiority or to explaining how people regularly justify themselves.

Let me know below what you think about this book!

Favorite quote(s)

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.

To quote Adler again: “The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.” You want to be Y or someone else because you are utterly focused on what you were born with. Instead, you’ve got to focus on what you can make of your equipment.

Without question, there is no shortage of behavior that is evil. But no one, not even the most hardened criminal, becomes involved in crime purely out of a desire to engage in evil acts. Every criminal has an internal justification for getting involved in crime. A dispute over money leads someone to engage in murder, for instance. To the perpetrator, it is something for which there is a justification and which can be restated as an accomplishment of “good.” Of course, this is not good in a moral sense, but good in the sense of being “of benefit to oneself.”

[…]you, living in the here and now, are the one who determines your own life.

When you enter into interpersonal relationships, it is inevitable that to a greater or lesser extent you will get hurt, and you will hurt someone, too. Adler says, “To get rid of one’s problems, all one can do is live in the universe all alone.”

Oh, but being alone isn’t what makes you feel lonely. Loneliness is having other people and society and community around you, and having a deep sense of being excluded from them. To feel lonely, we need other people. That is to say, it is only in social contexts that a person becomes an “individual.”

But those who make themselves look bigger on borrowed power are essentially living according to other people’s value systems—they are living other people’s lives.

The pursuit of superiority is the mind-set of taking a single step forward on one’s own feet, not the mind-set of competition of the sort that necessitates aiming to be greater than other people.

It’s enough to just keep moving in a forward direction, without competing with anyone. And, of course, there is no need to compare oneself with others.

Everyone is different. Don’t mix up that difference with good and bad, and superior and inferior. Whatever differences we may have, we are all equal. […] Human beings are all equal, but not the same.

Anger as an expression of a personal grudge is nothing but a tool for making others submit to you.

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.

To prevent this from happening, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.

Wherever we go, we are surrounded by other people, and we are social individuals, who exist in our relations to other people. No matter what we do, we cannot escape the strong rope of our interpersonal relationships.

“freedom is being disliked by other people.” [..] It is proof that you are exercising your freedom and living in freedom, and a sign that you are living in accordance with your own principles.

The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.

When one person praises another, the goal is “to manipulate someone who has less ability than you.” It is not done out of gratitude or respect.

Ratings 4.5/5


Ichiro Kishimi

Fumitake Koga



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