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The Courage to be Disliked Book Summary

Introduction (Book Cover Photo)

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata, and that’s the book summary of “The courage to be disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi. Enjoy your read!

Who’s This Book For?

  • Everybody struggling with pursuing their authentic life path because they care too much about what other’s think of them.
  • Everybody stuck in a competitive mindset and always trying to impress people.
  • Everybody suffering from low self-worth.

What You’ll Learn from It

  • How to live your own life with authenticity and freedom
  • How to move forward in this world and enjoy the process of growing
  • How to develop healthy and long-lasting human relationships

The Book in a Nutshell

In this world we are not just lonely individuals but part of a bigger community where everybody should contribute to the wellbeing of others, without competing with others. Don’t let your past negative influence your future negatively, but take charge of your life by living it without trying to impress others.

3 Sentence-Summary

  • Ichiro Kishimi stresses a lot on the idea that you don’t have to believe the lie that your past will determine your future. You always have the ability to change and to become whoever you want to be today because who you think you are is totally under your control. 
  • Stop competing with others and start becoming a better version of yourself everyday more. You know, competition amongst human being might seem to improve performances but in reality it just makes humans more miserable and always in search for a better position.
  • Live according to your true desires and values instead of trying to please others. Sometimes it might be hard to go our own way as this might disappoint your loved ones but we have no choice if we want to truly live a fulfilling life.

Big Ideas

Let’s now explore together the most relevant ideas expressed in the book.

Big Idea #1: Don’t let your past determine your future (Photo 1)

If you don’t make a decision to change today, then you’ll most probably delay your change until it will never occur. We all have an inner power to decide who we want to be in our future, yet most people don’t exercise that power as we should. As bad as it might sound, if you didn’t change so far is not because you can’t change but because you didn’t really want to change deep down. Otherwise, you’d have already found a way to, according to Ichiro Kishimi.

All you have to do now is to make a decision to change your lifestyle and habits with courage. Only then your past won’t be able to influence your future anymore. Don’t wait for the perfect time to arrive as it will never come, take your decision today and burn your past behind you. 

A Relatable Example

I’ve always been affected by the negative sides of my past, for example, of the times when I was bullied or when girls didn’t pay attention to me. Anyway, if one dreadful day, being depressed and at the bottom of my life, I didn’t decide to change my life for the better, I wouldn’t be here writing this article. I can’t thank all the people that influenced me positively and gave me the courage to change enough as, even if it wasn’t an easy journey, it has been totally a worthwhile one. Stop letting your past control your future as tomorrow you are not supposed to be the same person you are today.

Big Idea #2: Live your own life no expectations, no approval (Photo 2)

If you are constantly living to please others instead of pleasing yourself first, you’ll get in the constant loop of reward/punishment. This entails that every time you do something considered good, you will receive positive feedback while every time you do something considered bad, you’ll receive negative feedback. Anyway, what’s good and what’s bad are concepts that are generally given to us by other people’s standards. 

It’s not good to satisfy other people’s expectations as you will throw away who you really are and waste this precious life of yours. Do you believe that if you live this way you go against the natural system with which our society works? No, because you actually do damage to society only when you do things that you don’t really want to do but only to satisfy other people’s expectations. This means that happiness can never be reached this way as you will always be under pressure and afraid to disappoint other people. 

A Relatable Example

When I was younger, I thought to be a confident and mature boy, well aware of what I wanted from life. In fact, all I desired back then was to become a successful military pilot. When I got to the Italian Air Force Academy after passing all the tests, I realized that that kind of life wasn’t what I really wanted. So I enrolled in a business school in Rome as I knew I wanted to become a rich and successful manager. Once I got accepted in college, I realized studying economics wasn’t my real thing, and so I found myself back on the starting point. 

I started reflecting on why I had made those choices thus far and the answer came to me after some deep thinking; “Recognition and ego” seemed to be the answer. I had such low self-esteem that my entire life revolved around the idea of doing something recognized by society so that others would love and accept me. This made me lose not only a great deal of my money and energies but also the precious time I had that could have been spent on doing what I really wanted. That’s when I decided to stop working for others and started my own personal development business. How I feel today compared to how I felt back then is priceless as living a life that’s truly authentic to you is one of the most rewarding things you can experience.

Big Idea #3: Competitive societies are destructive. (Photo 3)

In order to get out of the competitive framework, you have to start walking your own path at your own pace. To make this easier to understand, imagine like everybody is walking equally at the same flat place but at different speeds. You don’t have to walk behind somebody as this would mean you’re taking their path and not your own. The pursuit of superiority doesn’t mean being better than somebody else, it means to keep moving forward towards your own path as life is nor a competition neither a comparison game.

A healthy feeling of inferiority doesn’t come from comparing yourself to others, but it comes to comparing you to your ideal self. As Ichiro Kishimi puts it, we are all equal but not the same as we had different experiences and circumstances; thus, the real value is in getting beyond who you are now and not into getting beyond somebody else. 

Even if you are a winner, living in the competition is such a waste of your time as you’ll be terrified of losing your status and thus you’ll never be in peace. You can’t trust other people and be happy as you will tend to see everybody as an enemy. Instead, if you are a loser living in the competition, you’ll never be enough, again driven by negative feelings to push yourself forward. 

A Relatable Example

In my past years, and honestly, during some low moments today, I used to compare myself to other people and to think that I always had to do better than the next guy with women, in business, and with life in general. This mindset robbed me of a lot of serenity and energy because instead of focussing on what truly mattered and could influence (my happiness), I focussed on how I could do better than others. Realize that nobody really cares about what you do or how you look as most people are too self-absorbed to think about others. When you realize this, you’ll get closer to authentic freedom and to a mindset that will make you do whatever you want.

Big Idea #4: How you see yourself matters (Photo 4)

Every human being on this planet has some imperfections to one extent or another. The problem anyway is not the imperfection per se but our attitude towards those imperfections. When you perceive yourself as imperfect or even hate your imperfection, it’s inevitable that you’ll be creating some levels of self-hatred. 

According to Ichiro Kishimi, when a person feels he has worth his courage will emerge and this person will be more likely to become successful and a contributor to society. One way to feel worthy is by feeling you’re beneficial to the community and be of help to the life of somebody else. That’s what truly differentiates a worthy individual from an unworthy one, according to the author.

A Relatable Example

If I think of all the times when I felt worthy and happy to be part of this planet, it was when somebody genuinely thanked me for having done something good for them. This makes me reflect on the truth of the words of Ichiro Kishimi and of how important it is for each one of us to feel like we’re contributing, at the level we can, to the improvement of life on earth. That’s why I love what I’m doing with Success Titan, it’s a way for me to grow and to help others do the same, and I can tell you that this is priceless compared to simply doing things just for yourself. 

Big Idea #5: You’re part of a bigger community (Photo 5)

Interpersonal relations must be cultivated as a way to make us feel part of a bigger community. Since all problems are relationship problems, according to Adlerian psychology, since relationships are the source of both unhappiness and happiness, you will solve the majority of those problems by contributing to the community. 

One piece of advice that the author gives us is not to pump our egos because if we can only be happy by acknowledging to be part of a community, we should think about what we can give to the world instead of taking from it.

He also wants us to realize that nobody is the center of the universe in its absolute sense, neither you and I. We are one of the many centers of the universe and a part of it along with animals, plants, and minerals. The danger of thinking to be the center of the universe is that you will tend to act in a way where you’ll see people as instruments that will only do something for you. Since an ego, that big can never be satiated; it’s better to think about what you can give to the world and instead of just taking from it and be satisfied by the act of giving. 

We all have the need to feel like we belong to a place, you also need to have this sense of belonging and feel that it’s ok to be here. Remember anyway that you are a member of the community and the world’s protagonist, not only your life protagonist, as other people are not here to satisfy your expectations.

A Relatable Example

Ichiro Kishimi makes an example of the classic map of the world vs globe to represent the earth territory. If you consider the classic map, wherever you’ll stay will constitute the center of the world for you as you’ll see your position with your reference point only. Anyway, if you consider a globe, whatever point you take can be considered as the center of it while not being the absolute center.

When I understood this concept, I realized that I am more than just an Italian man. I am part of the entire globe as the Italian geographic boundaries have just been drawn based on how past wars and agreements went, not based on how the universe really is. This means that we’re not simply citizens of our own country as those boundaries we created are just illusions created by the same deluded mind.

Conclusion & Takeaway

Hope you liked this summary of “The courage to be disliked.” The main takeaways from this book are that you can change from the person you were yesterday, but it will require courage from you and endurance to pain. Stop competing with others as, in reality, you are your own competition. Let go of other’s approval and reduce your ego to the point where you realize to be part of a bigger community where your contribution is both needed and precious. Live in the moment and stop getting obsessing with yourself, instead try to give and help others, and an authentic sense of importance will naturally arise.

My Personal Advice (Book Summary’s Writer Photo)

I believe that the first thing you should put into practice is realizing that there’s no competition to beat out there. When you realize this, you won’t see others as enemies, and thus, you’ll be naturally prone to help them out in their journeys. Another advice I want to give you is to observe the lives of the people you know. 

Are they all the same or maybe everybody here has his own purpose? Where do usually the people that try to copy others end up? Who are the happiest people on the planet, according to you? Reflect on this and let us know your thoughts.

More About The Author

Ichiro Kishimi is a Japanese, philosopher, Adlerian psychologist and translator of English and German languages. He got his M.A. in philosophy from Kyoto University where he studied since 1989. Today he is a psychiatric counselor in Kyoto for people that have problems in life.

Reading Suggestions

  • “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey
  • “How to win friends and influence people,” Dale Carnegie
  • “Daring Greatly,” Brené Brown
  • “Breaking the habit of being yourself,” Joe Dispenza
  • “Who moved my cheese?” Spencer Johnson