The Courage to be Disliked (a thought for makers)

Have you ever felt the pressure to conform to society’s expectations and opinions as a maker or creator? Do you find yourself seeking validation from others for your work? It’s a common struggle for many individuals in creative fields, but it’s important to remember that true courage comes from being unapologetically yourself and embracing your unique perspective. In the book “The Courage to be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, the authors delve into the principles of Adlerian psychology and offer a powerful solution to this common dilemma. By understanding and accepting that not everyone will like or approve of your work, you can develop the courage to pursue your creative endeavors with authenticity and confidence. Let’s explore how this mindset shift can positively impact your journey as a maker.





The Courage to be Disliked (a thought for makers)

The Courage to be Disliked (a thought for makers)

This video is sponsored by mpb Foreign

I read a book recently called “The Courage to be Disliked” and it’s written as a fictionalized conversation between a frustrated Youth and a philosopher and it fuses a bit of Life philosophy and adlerian psychology as the fictionalized conversation unfolds it drives home the point that as human beings we often Think that we have to act in such a way that we please the largest number of people possible in our lives but it makes the point that if we live that way we often find ourselves miserable and we feel like our life and our choices aren’t actually our own. One quote from The book says 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. There’s obviously a lot more to unpack in the book and if the little bit that I’ve told you sounds interesting I would really recommend you go track it down and just a warning that self-identified people Pleasers might really struggle with this book but I would argue they’re the ones that need to hear this stuff the most but while I was reading it it Got me thinking how does this idea this principle of Having the courage to be disliked apply to those of us who make things.

Seeking Validation Through Imitation

I remember back when I was starting out in photography I looked around to try and work out what was good street photography for example or what Was good portrait photography and the way that I did that was to look at what was popular which was basically me asking what do other people think is good if I’m honest I was confusing good for popular back then because I was just too early on in my photography journey To know the difference between good and bad photography for myself and so what I did was try and pull together a loose imitation of what I thought was popular out there as my kind of gauge of what good photography looked like.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again here for Clarity there is nothing wrong when you’re starting out at any artistic discipline with attempting to imitate those who are much further down the road than you it’s a great way to learn so long as you do it honestly and you own up to how you’re imitating those influences and you have some Integrity

The Danger of Imitation

At some point though it will be time to move on and the spell broke fairly early for me it only took a few people saying hey your portraits are starting to look a little bit like Joey Ells or your street Photography has a little bit of Ray Metzger in it for me to realize that if I carried on down this road of imitating those people I was going to sacrifice my chance at originality in a quest for popularity. There’s a safety that comes with copying the popular isn’t there we Feel like we might be able to avoid ridicule and criticism if we just make versions of the work that other people have made and released into the world and approved is likable with their acts of risk but if we stay on that path for too long we sacrifice the opportunity at Forging our own path forward but the other option that we have is to make the work that we really believe in the work we want to see more of in the world and to find the courage to share it with those around us and to risk that it Might be disliked.

A Personal Example

Let me give you a recent example of where this applied to my own Journey at the beginning of 2020 I was approached by a publisher asking me if I wanted to do a book with them but this particular publisher really just focused on photography manuals and Manuals for artists they were very practical books that they were producing but I was very upfront with them in that first meeting saying that that’s not at all the sort of book that I wanted to write they said okay what sort of book do you want to write and I pitched them The idea for the “Meaning in the Making” and to be honest it wasn’t an easy pitch because I knew that I risked disappointing lots of people who would have preferred to have a photography specific book from me and I was worried that it might be too esoteric to be Broadly popular but I was very clear in my own mind what I wanted this book to be I wanted it to be for all creative people and I wanted it to be part philosophy part psychology and part autobiographical because I really believe that no matter how useful the Concept is it can become quite dry if you talk about only Concepts unless you ground it in your own experience.

There were times when the pub that she will come to me and offer notes like why not put activities at the end of each of the Chapters to make the book a bit more practical but I stuck to my guns and I unapologetically wrote the book that I wanted to read and if it came to it I knew I’d be willing to leave this deal and self-publish it rather than change it into something I didn’t really Believe in to give the Publishers credit though they gave me complete freedom to write the book that I wanted to write and in fact once they understood the vision of what I was trying to do they were very helpful in shaping it into a much better book but I could feel it was A risk because when you make something so uncompromising and especially when you put a lot of yourself into it it’s very personal work.

The Risk of Being True to Yourself

I’ll admit that I was scared to give it to the world and guess what some people didn’t like it I’ve gotten the odd one star review on Amazon That accuses me of self-promotion or self-indulgence because I share a lot of my own stories or just a book full of psycho battle because I talk about psychological Concepts or some people who got very angry with me because there aren’t any photographs in the book and And he’s a photographer and I won a Photography book from him but the fact Still Remains it’s exactly the book I wanted to write some people like it and some people don’t and if you think about it how could it be any other way I’ve been very lucky in that most people Who’ve read it have really really enjoyed it and it’s meant a lot to a lot of people but there was no guarantee that that would be the response when I was writing the book or when I was finding the courage to release it into the world looking back I realized I Could have played it safe and I could have written a version of other creativity books out there but I think I would have run the risk then of it being very easy to ignore because there’s so much of that sort of stuff out there it’s just another one of those but I Think I gave myself the best chance of really connecting an audience because I pushed myself to write the bravest most personal book I possibly could the risk with being completely yourself with the things that you make is obvious isn’t it if you make that work and find the Courage to share it with the world but people come and find that work and they don’t like it and they criticize you for it it feels an awful lot like they don’t like you and that’s painful I may have way more positive reviews on the meaning in the making than negative ones…


Frequently Asked Questions

What is “The Courage to be Disliked”?

“The Courage to be Disliked” is a thought-provoking book that challenges the idea that we need the approval of others in order to live a fulfilling life. It introduces the concept of “separating tasks” and explores the ways in which individuals can embrace their uniqueness and find courage to live free from the expectations of others.

How can this book benefit makers and creators?

This book can benefit makers and creators by encouraging them to stay true to their vision and artistic expression. It empowers them to create without the fear of criticism or rejection, and to embrace their individuality in their work.

Is “The Courage to be Disliked” suitable for all audiences?

Yes, this book is suitable for all audiences interested in personal development and self-improvement. It presents ideas that are applicable to individuals from all walks of life, including makers, artists, and creatives.

Where can I find “The Courage to be Disliked”?

“The Courage to be Disliked” is available for purchase at major bookstores, online retailers, and as an e-book or audiobook. It has been widely acclaimed for its thought-provoking content and practical insights.

I hope you find useful my article The Courage to be Disliked (a thought for makers), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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