The Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga, Ichiro Kishimi | Book summary, notes, lessons

The courage to be disliked isn’t about standing up to judgment, criticism, and rejection. It's about freedom.

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Summary

Sometimes, we’re make a choice because we’re afraid of criticism. That choice doesn’t necessarily lead to our happiness. In their book, The Courage to be Disliked, Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi share ways that help us think and decide differently. I found useful takeaways though there are parts of the book that I don’t agree with. Consider reading with a grain of salt, like with pretty much everything we read and hear in real life.

The book says that trauma doesn’t exist. I don’t see myself nodding with this, if we use the strict scientific definition of trauma. However, if we broaden the definition to negative experiences, then it feels more agreeable to me. In this case, we no longer have to use the past as an excuse to behave the way we do. The pain has passed. It should no longer have a bearing on the now and our future.

In a manner, all problems are interpersonal problems, according to the authors. I’m not sure that’s true for me, and we can probably come up with a few counter-examples in general. However, there’s a second part to this idea, and that one makes a lot of sense. Problems stem from people intruding on each other’s tasks. An example would be me worrying about what others will think about my writing. But what other people think of me is their task, not mine. The same goes for other areas in life – where we live, what we give, how we dress, our career choices, and so on. The key is to separate our tasks.

The book also claims that actions are not caused by our emotions. Instead, we choose to create those emotions so that we can justify our actions. For example, if someone spilled coffee on you, you might feel justified to get angry and shout at them. The authors write that it’s not the anger that’s causing this action. It’s that you’re making the anger the reason to shout at the other person. It’s another one of those controversial thoughts.  However, I’m tempted to agree that it’s possible for us to generate emotions that suit our present goals. I can think back on occasions where this was the case for me and my environment.

Ultimately, the book isn’t about becoming brave enough to face it all. It’s not about fighting. It’s about a different way of thinking so that we’re no longer shackled to other people’s judgment, rejection, and criticism of us. It’s about freedom.

Takeaways

  • We no longer have to use the past as an excuse to behave the way we do.
  • Most problems stem from people intruding on each other’s tasks. The key is to separate our tasks. For example, my task is to write – not worry about how others will criticize me. What other people think of me and my work is their task, not mine.
  • It’s possible for us to generate emotions that suit our present goals.
  • The courage to be disliked is about freedom. It isn’t about becoming brave enough to face it all, it’s about thinking differently so that we’re no longer shackled to other people’s judgement, rejection, and criticism.