Derek Sivers

The Courage to Be Happy - by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The Courage to Be Happy - by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

ISBN: 1982123001
Date read: 2022-06-01
How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
(See my list of 320+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

The sequel to the great “Courage to be Disliked”. The philosophy of Alfred Adler, on education, self-reliance, coming to terms with your past, focusing on solutions instead of problems, and active loving. Be warned, the format is strange: a dialog between an angry youth and calm philosopher. You can skim over what the youth says, since it's just angry objections.

my notes

Not truth. Lens. Like eyeglass lenses. Many people's vision has improved by this lens. But some find their vision has become even cloudier than before.

You can not be happy staying where you are. You have to keep walking along the path.

Philosophy and religion both deal with human ideas of truth, good, and beauty. The difference is story. Philosophy rejects stories.

In the search for truth, stopping and jumping off midway is religion. Philosophy is to keep searching, without end.
Someone who claims to know everything, who has stopped in their path of knowing and thinking, regardless of their belief in the existence or nonexistence of God, is venturing into religion.

We cannot learn philosophy. We can only learn to philosophize.

The objective of education is self-reliance.

Human knowledge can only be learned by actually being engaged in relationships with other people.

Respect children.
Respect is to see a person as they are; to be aware of their unique individuality.
Don't try to change or manipulate the other person.
Place value on them “being that person” without pushing your own value system on them.

Respect is a ball that comes back to you only from the person to whom you pass it.

Have more concern for other people’s concerns.

No matter what has occurred in your life until now, it has no bearing at all on how you live your life from now on.

Changing yourself means never again being who you've been until now.

Sum up your past by saying, “I’ve been through a lot, but I’m fine with it.”
Your entire past turns into good memories.

To justify a “myself now” that is far from ideal, you are painting your entire past the same shade of gray.
You are trying to live in possibility: “If I had the ideal ____, I would not have ended up this way.”

The past does not exist.
Your now decides the past.

History books are compiled for the purpose of proving the legitimacy of those currently in power.
Same with us.
You compile of a story of “me,” rewriting your own past to prove the legitimacy of “me now.”
You choose only past events that are compatible with your present goals, give meaning to them, and turn them into memories.
You erase events that run counter to your present goals.

People needing to talk focus on either “that bad person” or “poor me.”
They resent people or society.
They complain about the unhappiness that has befallen them.
Ignore all that.
Instead, we should be talking about “What should I do from now on?”
If I were to listen to stories about “that bad person” or “poor me,” and sympathize with your plight by saying things like, “That must have been tough,” or “It’s not your fault at all,” it is true that you might get some temporary solace. And you might even have a sense of satisfaction that it was good to get counseling, or good to consult this person. But how would that change things the next day, and every day after that?

You talk about “the real world” but it is another version of “that bad person” and the “poor me” who is at their mercy.

Children seek praise. Then they learn there is no point in making so much effort if they are not going to be praised or treated in a special way by trying to be the good child who is full of promise, so they begin to engage in cheating, deceptive tactics and other wrongdoing.
“If they aren’t going to love me, then hate me. Pay attention to me, within that emotion of hatred.”
Teach them continually that they have worth, even if they are not “special,” by showing them respect.
Through respect, convey that there is no need to be special, and that they have sufficient worth just as they are.

Why do people reject self-reliance?
It is easier to live according to the direction from another.
You do not have to think about difficult things, or take responsibility for failure.
Just swear a certain allegiance, and someone will take care of all of your troublesome tasks.

Adults tell children of the dangers, risks, and scariness of self-reliance.
Why? To keep them under their control, in a juvenile condition.
Child asks, “Can I go and play at my friend’s place?” Parents say, “Once you’ve done your homework.”
This puts the child in a position of dependence and irresponsibility.
Instead, teach the child by saying, “That is something you can decide on your own.”
Teach that one’s own life and one’s everyday actions are things that one determines oneself.

Who ultimately is going to receive the end result brought about by the choice that is made?
You must not intervene in others’ tasks.
Help them in those decisions.

Children have to struggle with the gap between the mental “what I want to do” and the physical “what I can do” — things that only adults can do.
They feel inferior.
Adults look only at their physical needs and “baby” them.
Instead, try to look at the children’s minds.

The feeling of inferiority is a stimulant of effort and growth.

Dig up your own community feeling and seek connection with other people.

Accept our ordinary selves, ordinary and just like everyone else without any outstanding qualities.

In friendship, we see with the eyes of another, listen with the ears of another, and feel with the heart of another.

Our contribution to others is tested in our friendship relationships.

I am not a person who confers teachings from above.
I am nothing more than a wisdom-loving philosopher, on the same level as you.
I can recognize my errors and adopt your views.
I hope to learn many things from you.

A person who does not believe in others cannot engage in direct discussion.

After a breakup, if you only remember the bad things, this is evidence that you want to feel, “I’m glad we broke up,” and some uncertainty remains about your decision.

Start being friends, with no regard to whether others are cooperative or not.

Lofty love is unforgiving of defilement, and deifies the other person.

Suppose there is a thing you want - that you’re fascinated by. You have never touched it and don’t even know how to work it, but you crave to possess it. You imagine you would use it all the time.
No other thing can enter your head.
But when you actually get the thing, you don’t actually love it like you thought you would.
It isn’t that you wanted to really use it. You just wanted to acquire, to possess, and to triumph.
“Falling in love” is no different from this desire to possess, or this desire for triumph.
Your obsession with that thing is just like crushing on someone, with a tempest of endless desire.

The story of Cinderella in her glass slippers ends when she gets married to the prince.
Focus on their relationship after they get married.
Marriage is really the starting point of love.

Active art of loving: the art of loving another person.

Rather than the self-interested seeking of “my happiness” or the other-interested wishing for “your happiness,” love is the building of a happiness of an inseparable “us.”
One does not give precedence to the happiness of “me,” and one is not satisfied with only the happiness of “you.”
Unless it is the happiness of two of “us,” it has no meaning.
Love is a task accomplished by two people.
Through love, two people accomplish a happy life.
It is not self-interested, and it is not other-interested either.
Love has neither self-interest nor other-interest - it rejects both.
Love is liberation from “me.”
To find a happy life, the “me” should vanish into nothingness.

Love can change the subject of life from “me” to “us.”
It is through love that we are liberated from “me,” that we achieve self-reliance, and truly accept the world.
The “us” that began as just two people will eventually broaden in scope to the entire community, and the entire human race.

Weakness becomes a frightfully powerful weapon in an interpersonal relationship.
In childhood, we control the adults by way of our own weakness.
They lived in a golden age in which everything they wanted was given to them.
Some still feel that if they cry enough, protest enough, and refuse to cooperate, they will continue to be able to get whatever they want.
Adults who treat their own weakness or misfortune, their hurt, troubled background, and trauma, as a weapon.
They regard strong people as “evil” and try to make their weak selves out to be “good”.
They are incapable of focusing on anything aside from their own individual profit, and they cannot see life and society as a whole.
All human beings start off with an almost excessive self-centeredness. They would not survive otherwise.
However, one cannot reign supreme at the center of the world forever. One has to make peace with the world, and come to the understanding that one is a part of the world.

Self-reliance is breaking away from self-centeredness.

Children who cry, get angry, and shout in rebellion are not incapable of controlling their emotions.
Actually, they control their emotions rather too well, and turn them into action.
Because they have the intuition that unless they go that far, they will never gain their parents’ love and attention.

The first-born child who has monopolized their parents’ love, on the birth of a brother or sister will be forced to come down from that position.
The first-born child who does not cope with this setback satisfactorily will hope to someday regain that seat of power, being a worshipper of the past who creates a lifestyle that is conservative, and is pessimistic with regard to the future.
At the heart of the second child there lies the feeling of “I want to catch up.” They want to catch up with their elder brother or sister. To catch up, they have to hurry. They are constantly pushing themselves, and planning how to catch up with, overtake, and even triumph over their elder brother or sister.
So, second children aim for revolution.

This classification is purely an aid to human understanding - it does not actually determine anything.

You are living within the realm of possibility.
You think of happiness as something that will come from somewhere else: “Happiness hasn’t come my way yet, but if I can just meet the person of my destiny, everything will be fine.”
Thinking there’s got to be a more ideal, more perfect, destined partner.
By bringing forward excessive and unrealizable ideals in this way, you avoid anything that may lead to interactions with real, living people.

Loving someone is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.

We must be the masters of our destinies.
Rather than seeking a destined person, we build relationships of a kind that might be referred to as destined.

Because we value Adler’s ideas, we must continue to update them. We must not turn into fundamentalists.

You make no progress whatsoever just by knowing knowledge.
You cannot change anything just by studying.