Why is it so important for us to be “special”?
Why is it so important for us to be “special”?

We all want to be special, because being ‘normal’ is boring. Yet there is profit to be gained in just being ordinary. In the book ‘The courage to be disliked; How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness (2019), published by Allen & Unwin, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga offer tools for developing courage to change without focusing on what others think about you. In addition, they discuss how to move past barriers that prevent us from being truly happy.

What is wrong with being “special”?

In principle there is nothing wrong with being ‘special’, but striving for perfection (the very best version of yourself) can cause you to strive for an unattainable goal. If we do not achieve this goal, the desire to be a better version of yourself will turn to the idea that you have failed. This in turn ensures that you feel unhappy.

Being normal and happy: how do you do that?

Self-acceptance is an important first step. If you manage to have the courage not to be special, your view of the world will immediately change. Nothing else needs to be done and a burden falls off your shoulders. You are no longer busy making continuous improvements to yourself, looking for the next mountain to climb, no you can just be. Sometimes something does not work out as you had previously thought or you will find that you are not good at something. And that is fine: You can’t do more than your best and that’s enough!

Your look at life

Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga also state that, to be ordinary and happy, you need a different view on life. We have learned that life is a line, you live from goal to goal until the moment of departure, death. We are constantly on the move in this image.

But, life is not a line, it is a collection of moments in the here and now. Future and past do not exist. If our life were a line then life planning is a good option. You don’t have to keep giving direction to a collection of moments. There will always be unexpected circumstances, planning is not always helpful.

All you have to do is live your life moment by moment. Happiness is then not the result of a goal achieved, but the by product of being allowed to here.


Do you have the courage to just be?



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Ard Van Oosten

I am a psychiatrist trained in business management and researcher. My heart goes out to talent development. I connect knowledge of the brain with leadership and offer tools for personal growth and development.

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