The Courage to Be Disliked By Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

No One Can Make You Feel Insecure Because You Are a Nanny

The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness has sold millions worldwide and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. The book is written as a conversation between a student and a Japanese philosopher. The student questions the elder about Japanese philosophy. The philosopher discusses the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler as well as Greek philosophy. He teaches the student about Adlerian psychology which focuses on solving problems. Adler suggests we cause problems to fulfill a self-serving purpose or goal.

Adlerian psychology doesn’t believe in Determinism — that our environment or the past experiences cause our problems. Adler follows Teleology which is the study of the present, rather than the cause. Adler did not agree with his fellow psychologists Freud and Jung that cause and effect and past occurrences must determine outcome. Adlerian psychology doesn’t focus on past experiences, only present goals.

For example, when you go to the doctor with a fever it’s important to treat the fever. The fact that you didn’t wear your coat in the cold rain and that caused the fever is of no relevance. There is no need for a doctor to console you about making a mistake of not wearing a coat. Consoling you won’t help the fever. Doctors deal with the present situation and treat the symptom and illness.

According to the authors, it’s a waste of time to blame past success or failure for our present situation. We make out of success and failure whatever best suits our purposes. We determine our own lives by the meaning we give past experiences. We create our own anxieties and fears. We choose to be angry to gain power. Our present is no one else’s fault or caused by what has happened to us previously. Our present is chosen by us to fulfill our goals.

In Adlerian psychology our personality and disposition are called lifestyle. The authors explain that we can alter our view of the world. Our personality and disposition (lifestyle) are our own choice. In Adlerian psychology our personality and disposition unconsciously developed around the age of 10, but we did choose it. And what we did with it from there on was our own decision as well. We can change our lifestyle on the spot — regardless of the environment we are in. So being pessimistic or optimistic isn’t predetermined, it is a choice that can be changed.

It is easier to remain pessimistic, be a victim, or unhappy because it is scary to change. The authors stress that it takes courage to change and be happy.

The principles discussed in the book could help nannies respond to family and friends that question their career choice. The authors explain that no one else can make you feel insecure. Feelings of insecurity or inferiority are your own choice.

Adler said all problems are caused by interpersonal relationships and our feelings of inferiority. All such flaws can be placed into two categories: objective and subjective inferiorities. Objective insecurities are those we can measure and confirm, like being shorter than someone else or having less money. Subjective inferiorities, however, are often entirely made up. Feelings of insecurity are subjective. You can change those feelings.

The authors explain the only inferiorities we have to actively deal with are the objective ones, and only if they really hinder us in reaching our goals. But the subjective ones aren’t even real, so be sure to probe them before you deem yourself unworthy.

So when family, friends, or complete strangers criticize your career choice to work as a nanny it shouldn’t affect you. Naysayers cannot make you feel like working as a nanny is inferior to other careers. Only you can allow yourself to feel badly about your career choice. How others judge you is insignificant.

The book explains that most people are in pursuit of superiority. Braggarts have feelings of inferiority. Their criticisms of you are actually just weaknesses in themselves as they strive to feel superior. Most of what we think of as competition is just made up and hurts our happiness.

So when someone questions your career choice ask yourself why do you care what they think that you work as a nanny? Why do you feel inferior? Why are you overly afraid of being disliked by other people?

My biggest complaint about the book is the style of the book as a conversation between a philosopher and a student. I found it annoying and almost didn’t continue after a few pages. But once I started the book I wanted to see why it’s sold millions and learn what the principles were about.

The book also assumes the reader already knows the basic principles of psychology and philosophy which many who have not taken advanced high school or basic college-level psychology or philosophy courses may not know. The student asks sophomoric, childlike questions while the philosopher teaches with advanced terms and concepts that would not be easily understood by a student asking such simple questions.

The best lessons I learned from The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness are to focus on the present and future rather than getting stuck in what has happened in the past. Your insecurities are not real, they are made up emotions that can be changed with a little courage.

I feel the principles explained in the book could help insecure nannies feel more confident about the important work that they do providing quality care to children and not be influenced by others who question their career choice.

You can purchase your own copy of the book by clicking any of the the links above or below:

The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness

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