If you’re looking for the best Alfred Adler quotes then look no further.
Alfred Adler was an Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology.
Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Adler are all giants in the world of psychology.
Adler was one of the original core members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, which was led by Freud. His ideas were counter to Freud’s, and he split from the group and proposed an “individual psychology” based on his own original theories. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority, the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development.
Adlerian psychology enjoys a broad base of support in Europe and the United States, and presents simple and straightforward answers to the philosophical question: How can one be happy?
I must admit, I didn’t even know of Alfred Adler or Adlerian psychology until I came across the book “The Courage To Be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. It’s an excellent book and a great way to learn about the principles of Adlerian psychology in order to live a happy life.
Below you’ll find the best collection of Alfred Adler quotes that will make you think, reflect and ultimately take full responsibility for your life. Hope you enjoy them.
40 Alfred Adler Quotes
1. “All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.” – Alfred Alder
2. “The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.” – Alfred Alder
3. “No experience is a cause of success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences, so-called trauma – but we make out of them just what suits our purposes.” – Alfred Alder
4. “Meanings are not determined by situations, but we determine ourselves by the meanings we give to situations.” – Alfred Alder
5. “It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.” – Alfred Alder
6. “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” – Alfred Alder
7. “War is not the continuation of politics with different means, it is the greatest mass-crime perpetrated on the community of man.” – Alfred Alder
8. “My difficulties belong to me!” – Alfred Alder
9. “A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view.” – Alfred Alder
10. “Every therapeutic cure, and still more, any awkward attempt to show the patient the truth, tears him from the cradle of his freedom from responsibility and must therefore reckon with the most vehement resistance.” – Alfred Alder
11. “A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt dangerous.” – Alfred Alder
12. “We cannot say that if a child is badly nourished he will become a criminal. We must see what conclusion the child has drawn.” – Alfred Alder
13. “The educator must believe in the potential power of his pupil, and he must employ all his art in seeking to bring his pupil to experience this power.” – Alfred Alder
14. “We must interpret a bad temper as a sign of inferiority.” – Alfred Alder
15. “There is a law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.” – Alfred Alder
16. “Follow your heart but take your brain with you.” – Alfred Alder
17. “Overcoming difficulties leads to courage, self-respect, and knowing yourself.” – Alfred Alder
18. “We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them; and when we take particular experiences as the basis for our future life, we are almost certain to be misguided to some degree. Meanings are not determined by situations. We determine ourselves by the meanings we ascribe to situations.” – Alfred Alder
19. “What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!” – Alfred Alder
20. “It is very obvious that we are not influenced by “facts” but by our interpretation of the facts.” – Alfred Alder
21. “The striving for significance, this sense of yearning, always points out to us that all psychological phenomena contain a movement that starts from a feeling of inferiority and reach upward. The theory of Individual Psychology of psychological compensation states that the stronger the feeling of inferiority, the higher the goal for personal power.” – Alfred Alder
22. “It is well known that those who do not trust themselves never trust others.” – Alfred Alder
23. “An educator’s most important task, one might say his holy duty, is to see to it that no child is discouraged at school, and that a child who enters school already discouraged regains his self-confidence through his school and his teacher. This goes hand in hand with the vocation of the educator, for education is possible only with children who look hopefully and joyfully upon the future.” – Alfred Alder
24. “Courage is not an ability one either possesses or lacks. Courage is the willingness to engage in a risk-taking behavior regardless of whether the consequences are unknown or possibly adverse. We are capable of courageous behavior provided we are willing to engage in it. Given that life offers few guarantees, all living requires risk-taking.” – Alfred Alder
25. “Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” – Alfred Alder
26. “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.” – Alfred Alder
27. “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” – Alfred Alder
28. “Every pampered child becomes a hated child… There is no greater evil than the pampering of children.” – Alfred Alder
29. “Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.” – Alfred Alder
30. “You can be healed of depression if every day you begin the first thing in the morning to consider how you will bring a real joy to someone else.” – Alfred Alder
31. “What is courage? Courage is the willingness to risk failure… There is only one danger I find in life, and that, indeed, is a real one. You may take too many precautions.” – Alfred Alder
32. “Life in general has no meaning… Whatever meaning life has must be assigned to it by the individual.” – Alfred Alder
33. “All failures – neurotics, psychotics, criminals, drunkards, problem children, suicides, perverts, and prostitutes – are failures because they are lacking in social interest.” – Alfred Alder
34. “Nobody adopts antisocial behavior unless they fear that they will fail if they remain on the social side of life.” – Alfred Alder
35. “The self-bound individual always forgets that his self would be safeguarded better and automatically the more he prepares himself for the welfare of mankind, and that in this respect no limits are set for him.” – Alfred Alder
36. “If I didn’t have this affliction, I would be the first. As a rule, the if-clause contains an unfulfillable condition, or the patient’s own arrangement, which only he can change.” – Alfred Alder
37. “The one who boasts does so only out of a feeling of inferiority.” – Alfred Alder
38. “If two people want to live together on good terms, they must treat each other as equal personalities.” – Alfred Alder
39. “Children who have not been taught to confront challenges will try to avoid all challenges.” – Alfred Alder
40. “Someone has to start. Other people might not be cooperative, but that is not connected to you. My advice is this: You should start. With no regard to whether others are cooperative or not.” – Alfred Alder
Did you like these inspirational quotes?
His ideas were said to be hundreds of years ahead of their time and even today they are not completely understood.
I particularly resonate with Alfred Adler’s ideas of denying trauma and etiology (the study of causation) and espousing teleology (the study of the purpose of a given phenomenon, rather than its cause). This ultimately makes us more responsible for the meanings we give to events and everything in our lives. This, I believe gives us the power to let go of the past and move forward.
What are your favorite Alfred Adler quotes? Did I miss any? Please let me know in the comments below.