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Ordinary People Taking Action
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There is a terrific book titled, The Courage to be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. I believe everyone should read this book. I’m borrowing their title.
If there is one thing I have gained in my career (in my life, really) it is the courage to be disliked. Initially, it was difficult. I have values deeply rooted within me of wanting to belong, wanting to be liked and avoiding conflict. Anyone close to me knows how important these three things truly are to me. I also strongly value fairness, professionalism, straight-talk and drive. Others often tell me they see my drive the most. Sometimes it disappoints me that people are quick to appreciate the value of drive over the other qualities.
If I am being totally honest, I am a guarded person, somewhat standoffish and while people also think I have a strong extraverted preference, I actually don’t. I recharge and gain energy by being alone, quiet and reflective. I’ve found over my life, however, that if I am around people and quiet, they assume something is wrong. Most often, nothing is wrong, I am just tired and enjoying listening to others. This misunderstanding has led, at times, to people not liking me. When I think people don’t like me, it truly eats at my core. Well, it did.
What I have learned and truly embraced is the fact that not everyone will like me – not everyone will understand me – and that is truly okay.
I have made several hard decisions this last year regarding my business; some people dislike me for these decisions.
I have made several hard decisions throughout my career as a leader; some people dislike me for these decisions.
I have made several hard decisions as a person; some people dislike me for these decisions.
And yet, here is the thing. Most of the time, while those hard decisions may have caused others to dislike me, they were decisions that lifted enormous weight off my shoulders. Decisions that made me feel free.
Here’s the ironic part. Often what I find is that the people who I thought didn’t like me, really weren’t paying all that much attention. It was a story, yet another story, made up in my head about the emotions of people. Thinking that people didn’t like me, when really they weren’t caught up in my life as much as I thought they were.
Alder, the psychologist behind The Courage to be Disliked, teaches the importance of liking oneself, contributing to community, and appreciating another for just “being”. He also emphasizes accepting the fact that out of say, 10 people, one will really like you, two will dislike you, seven will be neutral. The important thing is to be yourself, not try to be anyone other than yourself. Concentrate on the one who likes you, try not to win others over – and in the end, always do what is best for you. Period. Alder proposed that one is happier and freer if we live moment-to-moment, working on our own lives and not focusing on the opinions of others.
If I turn off all the self-talk and stop making up stories in my head, this is what I know to be true. The people closest to me know my true values and my true intention. They see me for who I am. When those around us see us for who we are, truly for who we are, they are the ones who have the power to help us shine as bright as we possibly can.
I also highly recommend The Courage to be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga to discovery why (taken directly from the back cover of the book):
I hope you all find your people. The people who see you for you.