Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this exclusive interview where we have the privilege of delving into the mind of renowned philosopher and author, Ichiro Kishimi. With his groundbreaking work in the field of psychology and existential philosophy, Ichiro Kishimi has captivated readers worldwide with his insights on how to live a fulfilling life.
Hailing from Japan, Kishimi’s collaboration with Fumitake Koga resulted in the internationally acclaimed book, “The Courage to Be Disliked.” This masterpiece challenges conventional wisdom and delivers a unique perspective on navigating life’s complexities. Kishimi’s teachings draw heavily from the principles of Alfred Adler, a pioneer in individual psychology, guiding readers towards self-acceptance and personal growth.
In today’s interview, we are privileged to witness the unveiling of Ichiro Kishimi’s thoughts on a wide range of topics, including the pursuit of happiness, overcoming adversity, and embracing responsibility. Through his profound insights, Kishimi encourages us to question societal norms, liberate ourselves from the shackles of past experiences, and discover our true potential.
Throughout his career, Kishimi has emphasized the power of choice and the liberation it offers in shaping our destiny. His philosophical approach focuses on the fundamental belief that each individual possesses the courage and capability to transform their lives, regardless of past circumstances or societal expectations.
From Tokyo to New York, Kishimi’s impact has been felt far and wide, resonating with readers across cultural divides. Today, we have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of his wisdom, as he shares his thoughts on living a meaningful existence, finding one’s purpose, and embracing the journey of self-discovery.
Who is Ichiro Kishimi?
Ichiro Kishimi is a renowned Japanese author and psychotherapist who gained international recognition for his work in the field of psychology and philosophy. Born in 1956, Kishimi developed a deep interest in human behavior and the complexities of the mind from an early age.
Kishimi’s unique perspective on life and his ability to blend Western psychology with Eastern philosophies has captivated readers around the world. He rose to prominence through his collaboration with Fumitake Koga, co-authoring the best-selling book “The Courage to be Disliked” in 2013, which quickly became a sensation and sold millions of copies worldwide.
The book, based on the principles of Adlerian psychology, challenges conventional thinking and encourages readers to take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being. Kishimi’s writing style is clear, concise, and thought-provoking, making complex concepts accessible to a wide range of readers.
Ichiro Kishimi’s background as a practicing psychotherapist adds depth to his work, allowing him to bring real-world examples into his narratives. Through his books and lectures, he aims to empower individuals to overcome their fears and self-limitations, promoting personal growth and meaningful connections with others.
Kishimi’s philosophies inspire readers to embrace their uniqueness, let go of societal expectations, and create fulfilling lives driven by their own values and desires. His teachings highlight the power of choice, resilience, and the human capacity for change, providing practical advice for self-improvement and personal transformation.
With his engaging approach and profound insights, Ichiro Kishimi continues to positively impact countless lives, guiding people towards inner freedom, courage, and a greater sense of purpose.
20 Thought-Provoking Questions with Ichiro Kishimi
1.Can you share your favorite 10 quotes from the Courage to Be Disliked?
Sure, my favorite 10 quotes from the Courage to Be Disliked are:
1.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.
2.Do Not Live to Satisfy the Expectations of Others.
3.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.
4.Your life is not something that someone gives you, but something you choose yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live.
5.Three things are needed at this point: self-acceptance,confidence in others,and contribution to others.
6.You are the only one who can change yourself.
7.All you can do in regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in.
8.Children who have not been taught to confront challenges will try to avoid all challenges.
9.We do not lack ability. We just lack courage. It all comes down to courage.
2. Can you explain the concept of “the courage to be disliked” in a few sentences?
“The courage to be disliked” is a central idea in Adlerian psychology, which suggests that individuals should have the strength and confidence to accept themselves just as they are, without seeking continuous approval from others. It emphasizes the significance of living life according to one’s own values and principles, rather than constantly conforming to societal expectations.
This concept challenges the notion that one’s happiness and self-worth depend on being liked by everyone around them. It encourages individuals to find their own path, make choices based on personal desires, and take responsibility for their lives, regardless of whether or not they gain the acceptance or approval of others.
By embracing the courage to be disliked, we can liberate ourselves from the constant need for external validation and live authentically. It involves accepting that not everyone will agree with our choices or approve of us, but that it is ultimately more important to prioritize our own well-being and pursue fulfillment on our terms.
3. How does the theory of Adlerian psychology relate to the idea of embracing being disliked?
Adlerian psychology, which is based on the teachings of Alfred Adler, provides valuable insights into the idea of embracing being disliked. According to Adler, individuals strive for significance and belonging, seeking to overcome feelings of inferiority and striving for superiority. In this context, embracing being disliked can be seen as a way to assert one’s uniqueness and individuality.
Adler emphasized that our behavior is not solely determined by our past experiences or unconscious forces, but rather by our interpretations of those experiences. He believed that we have the capacity to interpret events in our lives differently, which allows us to create our own meaning and shape our actions accordingly.
In the context of embracing being disliked, Adlerian psychology encourages individuals to develop a healthy sense of self-worth and autonomy. It suggests that rather than seeking external validation or approval from others, we should focus on our own inner values and beliefs. By doing so, we can cultivate a strong sense of self, independent of how others perceive us.
Additionally, Adlerian psychology emphasizes the importance of social interest, which refers to our innate desire to contribute to the well-being of others and society as a whole. Embracing being disliked aligns with this notion because it involves prioritizing personal growth and authenticity over conforming to societal expectations or seeking constant approval.
4. What are some practical steps individuals can take to develop the courage to be disliked?
These are practical steps individuals can take to develop the courage to be disliked:
Understand the concept: Start by embracing the idea that it is okay to be disliked by others. Recognize that not everyone will agree with you or see things from your perspective. Accepting this reality is the first step towards building resilience.
Focus on self-acceptance: Develop a strong sense of self-acceptance and self-worth. Take time to understand your values, strengths, and weaknesses. Recognize that your worth as an individual is not dependent on the approval or validation of others.
Challenge your beliefs: Examine your beliefs about the importance of being liked by everyone. Consider whether these beliefs are serving you well or hindering your personal growth. Question societal expectations and norms that have influenced your need for approval.
5. In your opinion, why do people often seek approval and fear being disliked?
In my opinion, people often seek approval and fear being disliked due to several underlying factors.
Firstly, seeking approval is a natural human instinct rooted in our evolutionary history. Throughout our existence, humans have lived in social groups where acceptance played a vital role in survival. Being part of a community increased the chances of finding resources, support, and protection. Therefore, seeking approval from others became ingrained in our behavior as a means of ensuring our well-being.
Secondly, the fear of being disliked stems from our innate need for belongingness and connection with others. Humans are social beings who thrive on relationships and interactions. The fear of being disliked can arise from the belief that rejection or disapproval may lead to exclusion or isolation. This fear often originates from past experiences or societal pressures, which contribute to a desire to be liked and accepted by others.
Additionally, cultural and societal influences can also play a significant role in shaping our behavior. Many societies place emphasis on conformity and conforming to certain expectations or norms. Consequently, individuals may seek approval to align themselves with these societal standards, fearing that being disliked might result in being ostracized or labeled as an outcast.
6. How can the courage to be disliked contribute to personal growth and self-acceptance?
The courage to be disliked can contribute significantly to personal growth and self-acceptance because it liberates us from the burden of seeking constant approval or validation from others. When we constantly worry about being liked by everyone, we tend to mold our thoughts, actions, and behaviors to fit external expectations, often at the expense of our true selves.
By accepting the fact that not everyone will like us, we free ourselves from the need for approval and create room for genuine self-expression. This courage allows us to focus on discovering and living in accordance with our own values, goals, and aspirations, rather than conforming to societal or peer pressures.
When we let go of the fear of being disliked, we become more authentic and confident in our own skin. We develop a stronger sense of self-worth based on internal validation rather than external praise. This shift enables us to make choices that align with our true desires, even if they deviate from societal norms or face disapproval from others.
Moreover, the courage to be disliked fosters resilience and emotional strength. It helps us handle rejection and criticism without letting them define our self-worth. Instead of taking every negative opinion personally, we learn to reflect objectively on feedback, separating constructive criticism from baseless judgment.
7. Can you provide examples of situations where embracing the courage to be disliked can be beneficial?
Here are a few examples:
Pursuing personal goals: When individuals have a strong desire to pursue their dreams or passions, they often face criticism and disapproval from others who may not understand or support their choices. By embracing the courage to be disliked, they can stay true to themselves, maintain their focus, and persistently work towards their goals, despite the negative opinions of others.
Challenging societal norms: Society often imposes certain expectations and norms on individuals, and deviating from them can result in judgment and rejection. However, by embracing the courage to be disliked, individuals can challenge these norms and contribute to positive change. This might involve advocating for social justice, questioning outdated traditions, or promoting diversity and inclusivity.
Expressing honest opinions: It is common for people to withhold their true opinions or conform to popular viewpoints in order to avoid conflict or gain acceptance. However, by having the courage to express unpopular or dissenting opinions respectfully, individuals can foster open dialogue, encourage critical thinking, and contribute to the growth of knowledge and understanding.
8. Are there any potential drawbacks or risks associated with adopting this mindset?
Yes, there can be potential drawbacks or risks associated with adopting a mindset like that described in our book “The Courage to be Disliked.” While this mindset promotes freedom and empowerment by encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own lives and not be affected by the opinions of others, it’s important to acknowledge and consider the following potential drawbacks and risks:
Misinterpretation or oversimplification: The ideas presented in the book may be misinterpreted or oversimplified, leading to misguided applications. It is crucial to understand the principles thoroughly and apply them in an appropriate context.
Disregard for societal norms and responsibilities: While the book emphasizes personal freedom, it is essential to strike a balance between independence and adhering to societal norms and responsibilities. Completely disregarding social rules and obligations could lead to conflicts and strained relationships.
Inappropriate application: Adopting a mindset that focuses solely on one’s well-being without considering the impact on others can result in selfish behavior. It is crucial to recognize the interconnectedness of human relationships and act with empathy and compassion towards others.
9. How can the courage to be disliked impact interpersonal relationships?
The courage to be disliked can have a significant impact on interpersonal relationships. When we possess this courage, we are able to liberate ourselves from the constant need for recognition and approval from others. This allows us to express our true selves without fear of judgment or rejection.
Interpersonally, the courage to be disliked prompts us to communicate more authentically and assertively. We can voice our opinions, desires, and boundaries openly, even if they differ from those around us. By doing so, we create an atmosphere of honesty and respect, fostering healthier and more genuine connections with others.
Moreover, when we have the courage to be disliked, we are less likely to rely on external validation to define our self-worth. Instead, we develop a stronger sense of internal validation, finding fulfillment and confidence within ourselves. This shift enables us to form relationships based on mutual understanding and acceptance rather than seeking constant affirmation.
However, it is important to note that having the courage to be disliked does not mean disregarding the feelings or perspectives of others. It means being true to ourselves while still respecting and empathizing with those around us. It requires balancing our own needs with the consideration of others, fostering a harmonious coexistence.
10. Could you explain how the concept of social interest plays a role in developing this courage?
Social interest, or Gemeinschaftsgefühl as coined by Alfred Adler, refers to an individual’s innate tendency to connect with and contribute to the welfare of others. It involves a deep sense of empathy, understanding, and concern for the well-being of those around us. When we have social interest, we prioritize the greater good over our personal interests, leading to acts of courage and selflessness.
Courage, on the other hand, is the ability to confront and overcome fears, challenges, and obstacles in pursuit of our goals and values. It requires inner strength and determination to face adversity head-on.
The connection between social interest and courage lies in the understanding that our actions can have a significant impact on the lives of others. When we cultivate social interest, we develop a strong sense of responsibility towards society and the people within it. This sense of responsibility motivates us to act courageously, even when faced with risks or potential setbacks.
By embracing social interest, we become more aware of the interconnectedness of our actions and the well-being of others. We understand that our courage can inspire and positively influence those around us. For example, speaking up against injustice or supporting someone in need requires courage fueled by social interest. In such instances, we set aside our fears and act in alignment with our values, recognizing that our actions can make a difference in the lives of others.
11. Can you share any success stories from individuals who have implemented the principles discussed in your book?
These principles are derived from Adlerian psychology and provide guidance on how to gain a deeper understanding of oneself and achieve personal growth. Here are a few inspiring examples:
Yuka’s career transformation: Yuka was feeling stuck in her corporate job, yearning for a more fulfilling career. After reading my book and applying the principles, she began reflecting on her strengths, values, and passions. With newfound clarity, she decided to pursue her dream of starting her own business in the fashion industry. Through perseverance and consistent effort, Yuka successfully launched her clothing line and is now living a happier and more purposeful life.
Takashi’s improved relationships: Takashi had been struggling with strained relationships, particularly with his family members. By adopting the principles outlined in my book, he shifted his focus from blaming others to understanding their perspectives and fostering empathy. Takashi actively listened, communicated openly, and resolved conflicts constructively. As a result, he experienced a significant improvement in his relationships, reestablishing trust and strengthening the bond with his loved ones.
Haruka’s overcoming fear: Haruka had always been held back by her fear of public speaking. However, after absorbing the principles discussed in my book, she realized that her fear stemmed from her exaggerated focus on other people’s opinions. She learned to reframe her mindset and concentrate on expressing herself authentically rather than seeking validation. With practice and gradual exposure, Haruka gradually conquered her fear of public speaking and became a confident and persuasive communicator.
12. Are there any cultural or societal factors that influence our fear of being disliked?
Indeed, there are several cultural and societal factors that influence our fear of being disliked. One significant factor is the emphasis on social harmony prevalent in many cultures. In societies where collectivism is valued, maintaining group cohesion and avoiding conflicts or disagreements becomes paramount. Consequently, individuals may develop a fear of being disliked or rejected by others, as it threatens their sense of belonging and social acceptance.
Additionally, societal expectations play a crucial role in shaping our fear of being disliked. Social norms and prescribed behaviors can create pressure to conform to certain standards, leading individuals to fear judgment or negative evaluations from others if they deviate from these norms. This fear of deviating from societal expectations can restrict personal expression and authenticity, reinforcing the apprehension of being disliked.
Moreover, the influence of social media and technology has amplified our fear of being disliked. The constant exposure to curated images of seemingly perfect lives on platforms like Instagram or Facebook creates a distorted perception of reality. Comparing oneself to these idealized versions can generate anxieties about not measuring up, thereby fueling the fear of being disliked or judged negatively by others.
13. How does the courage to be disliked align with the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment?
The book suggests that many people seek social approval and validation from others, often at the cost of their own happiness. This constant need for acceptance can lead to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. However, when we have the courage to be disliked, we free ourselves from the burden of seeking approval from others.
By embracing our true selves and accepting that not everyone will like or agree with us, we gain a sense of freedom and authenticity. We become less concerned about conforming to societal expectations, allowing us to pursue our own path towards happiness and fulfillment.
Courageously accepting the possibility of being disliked empowers us to make choices based on our values and desires, rather than trying to please others. It encourages us to take risks, pursue our passions, and assert our boundaries without fear of judgment or rejection. In doing so, we create a life that is more aligned with our unique aspirations and find genuine satisfaction in being true to ourselves.
Moreover, the courage to be disliked enables healthier relationships. When we are unafraid of disapproval, we can engage in honest and open communication, expressing our opinions and needs without fear of rejection. This fosters authentic connections with others who appreciate us for who we truly are, leading to more fulfilling and meaningful relationships.
14. Do you believe that the fear of being disliked is more prevalent in certain age groups or demographics?
The fear of being disliked arises from our innate desire for social connection and belonging. People of all ages and backgrounds may experience this fear to varying degrees, as it is deeply rooted in our need for acceptance and avoiding rejection. However, the intensity and manifestation of this fear can vary depending on individual experiences, cultural influences, and personal circumstances.
Certain age groups or demographics may face specific challenges that could contribute to the fear of being disliked. For example, adolescents and young adults might be more susceptible to peer pressure and societal expectations, which can heighten their anxiety about being disliked. On the other hand, older individuals may have concerns about maintaining their reputation or social standing within their community or workplace.
Demographics influenced by cultural factors such as collectivistic societies may prioritize group harmony and adhere more strongly to social norms, causing them to experience a greater fear of being disliked. Conversely, those from individualistic cultures may place more emphasis on personal achievements and independence, potentially reducing the fear of disapproval.
15. What are some common misconceptions about the courage to be disliked that you’ve encountered?
I can address some common misconceptions about this concept that I have encountered:
The first misconception is: The courage to be disliked means being apathetic towards people’s opinions.
The clarification is: The courage to be disliked does not suggest that we should disregard or be indifferent to others’ opinions. It is about not letting the fear of disapproval dictate our choices and actions. We can still consider and respect differing perspectives without sacrificing our own autonomy.
The second misconception is: Having the courage to be disliked means being confrontational or disrespectful.
The clarification is: Courage does not imply being rude or intentionally provoking conflict. On the contrary, it encourages open communication and empathy. It involves expressing ourselves respectfully while accepting that disagreements may arise. The focus is on maintaining our self-worth and inner peace rather than seeking external validation.
The third misconception is: The courage to be disliked suggests avoiding all forms of social conformity.
The clarification is: The idea of the courage to be disliked does not advocate for complete rejection of societal norms or values. It emphasizes the importance of questioning blindly accepted beliefs and finding one’s true path. While challenging conventions, it also recognizes that certain social agreements can contribute to harmonious relationships and cooperation.
16. How can one differentiate between a healthy sense of self-assertion and an unhealthy need for approval?
Differentiating between a healthy sense of self-assertion and an unhealthy need for approval requires self-reflection and an understanding of one’s motivations and behavior.
Healthy self-assertion: A healthy sense of self-assertion stems from an individual’s desire to express their genuine needs, desires, and values in a respectful manner. It involves having a clear understanding of oneself, knowing one’s strengths and limitations, and being confident in expressing personal opinions and boundaries.
Unhealthy need for approval: An unhealthy need for approval, on the other hand, arises from a deep-seated insecurity or fear of rejection. It is driven by an excessive reliance on external validation and a constant seeking of others’ approval, often at the expense of one’s own well-being. People with this need tend to prioritize conforming to others’ expectations rather than expressing their authentic selves.
To differentiate between the two, consider the following aspects:
Motivation: Reflect on the driving force behind your actions. Are you asserting yourself because you genuinely believe in something or because you seek validation from others? Healthy self-assertion emerges from a place of personal conviction, while an unhealthy need for approval originates from seeking external validation.
Authenticity: Assess whether your actions and choices align with your true values and beliefs. Are you compromising your integrity or pretending to be someone you are not in order to gain approval? Healthy self-assertion respects your authenticity, while an unhealthy need for approval may lead to sacrificing your genuine self.
Emotional well-being: Observe how your assertiveness affects your emotional state. Healthy self-assertion usually leads to increased self-confidence, empowerment, and positive emotions. In contrast, an unhealthy need for approval often results in anxiety, fear of criticism, and a constant need for reassurance.
17. Have you faced any criticism or opposition to the ideas presented in your book? If so, how did you respond?
I have indeed faced criticism and opposition to the ideas presented in my book. When confronted with differing opinions or challenges, I strive to approach them with openness and a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue.
Firstly, I would listen attentively to understand the specific concerns or objections being raised. It is important for me to respect the perspectives of others and acknowledge that everyone has their own unique experiences and insights.
Next, I would respond by providing clarifications or further explanations about the concepts discussed in my book. By elaborating on the underlying principles and rationale, I aim to address any misunderstandings and bridge the gap between different viewpoints. This could involve citing research, sharing relevant examples, or presenting alternative perspectives.
18. How can parents help instill the courage to be disliked in their children?
Instilling the courage to be disliked in children is an important aspect of their emotional development and self-growth. As a parent, there are several ways you can help your children develop this courage:
Model it yourself: Children learn a great deal from observing their parents’ behavior. Show them that it’s okay to have different opinions, make choices based on personal values, and not constantly seek approval from others. By demonstrating your own resilience in the face of disapproval, you teach them valuable lessons about courage.
Encourage individuality: Help your children develop a strong sense of identity by encouraging them to express themselves authentically. Support their interests, opinions, and choices, even if they differ from societal norms or expectations. This will boost their confidence and empower them to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of whether it’s popular or accepted by others.
Teach problem-solving skills: Equip your children with problem-solving skills so they can navigate challenging situations independently. Teach them how to evaluate different perspectives, think critically, and make decisions based on their own judgment. This way, they’ll become more comfortable facing potential disagreements or criticisms.
19. How has your understanding of the courage to be disliked evolved since writing the book?
Firstly, I have come to realize that the courage to be disliked is not a one-time achievement, but rather an ongoing process and mindset. It requires constant self-reflection and introspection, as well as the willingness to challenge and let go of societal expectations and approval-seeking behaviors.
Secondly, I have learned that embracing the courage to be disliked is not about completely disregarding other people’s opinions or emotions. It is important to take responsibility for our actions and show empathy towards others, while still staying true to our authentic selves. Finding a balance between being respectful of others’ perspectives and maintaining personal integrity is crucial.
Thirdly, my understanding of the courage to be disliked has expanded to include the recognition that it is not solely about personal happiness or success. It is about living a life according to one’s own values and principles, even if that means facing opposition or criticism. The focus should be on personal growth, self-acceptance, and pursuing a meaningful life, rather than seeking external validation or conforming to societal norms.
20. Finally, can you introduce more books which share similar themes with The Courage to Be Disliked?
I am glad to provide you with recommendations for books that share similar themes with “The Courage to Be Disliked.” Here are a few titles that explore similar concepts of overcoming self-imposed limitations and finding personal freedom:
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl: This influential book chronicles the author’s experiences as a Holocaust survivor and focuses on the human capacity for meaning, purpose, and resilience even in the face of extreme suffering.
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz: Offering practical wisdom based on ancient Toltec teachings, this book outlines four principles for transforming one’s life through personal freedom, authenticity, and happiness.
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle: Exploring the concept of living in the present moment, this book emphasizes the importance of mindfulness, releasing past regrets and future anxieties, and finding inner peace and joy.
These books delve into similar themes of personal growth, self-acceptance, and cultivating a mindset that empowers individuals to overcome obstacles and live authentically. I hope you find these suggestions helpful!