Your Life Is Decided Here and Now

An excerpt from the book The Courage to be Disliked
by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga 

 

***

YOUTH: An excuse not to change?

PHILOSOPHER: Yes. I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but who never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that’s why he can’t complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It’s actually that he wants to leave the possibility of ‘I can do it if I try’ open, by not committing to anything. He doesn’t want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn’t want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using other excuses like ‘I’m not young anymore’ or ‘I’ve got a family to think about now.’

YOUTH: I can relate all too well to how he must feel.

PHILOSOPHER: He should just enter his writing for an award, and if he gets rejected, so be it. If he did, he might grow, or discover that he should pursue something different. Either way, he would be able to move on. That is what changing your current lifestyle is about. He won’t get anywhere by not submitting anything.

YOUTH: But maybe his dreams will be shattered.

PHILOSOPHER: Well, I wonder. Having simple tasks—things that should be done—while continually coming up with various reasons why one can’t do them sounds like a hard way to live, doesn’t it? So, in the case of my friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, it is clearly the ‘I’, or the ‘self’, that is making life complicated and too difficult to live happily.

YOUTH: But … That’s harsh. Your philosophy is too tough!

PHILOSOPHER: Indeed, it is strong medicine.

***

My studio slash apartment ^^

Back to blog