The Courage to be Disliked

July 1, 2022

During the summer, while my kids were playing in the Adriatic Sea, I was reading “The Courage to be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga.

I had attempted to read this book earlier but lacked the courage to continue.

The book is written in a dialogue between a young man and a philosopher who engages in a conversation for five nights. Every morning the young man returns angrily with many more questions.

The philosopher starts with a controversial claim: your unhappiness cannot be blamed on your past or your environment, which is the opposite of Freud’s philosophy.

You are in control of your life, and it requires courage to take control:

Adlerian psychology is a psychology of courage. 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 in the courage to be happy.

It also talks about the courage to be yourself — something liberating that took me decades to achieve.

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.

And finally, it also takes courage to persuade something. Persevere during the hard times. Whatever you want to be, it requires courage to persevere. It’s not our ability:

We do not lack ability. We just lack courage. It all comes down to courage.

In the end, I’m happy that I read this book because it cemented an idea in my mind in a similar way that Man’s Search for Meaning did. We are in control of our own happiness.