One simple and effective technique to solve any life problem
All the problems that you are currently dealing with are interpersonal relationship problems. This statement is made by Alfred Adler, an Austrian doctor and psychologist.
This is from Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga’s book, The Courage to Be Disliked, which is an amazing piece of wisdom and eye opening book. This is based on Adlerian psychology, brilliantly narrated as a dialogue between a frustrated youth and a philosopher, and it combines ideas about how to perceive life and live free of anxiety, stress, and depression. A fantastic book to read and reread.
At what first when I heard “All problems are interpersonal relationship problems”, I thought “Wait what….?”. I hope you might also have the same feeling.
Let me explain…
If you were the only person in this universe and no one else existed, would you have any of the problems you are currently experiencing?
No need to keep your loved ones or your boss happy( though you don’t enjoy some of the activities that you currently engaged in..)
No need to compare yourself to someone…
No need to seek approval and acceptance from others…
No urgency to succeed…
No worry about what someone thinks of you…
No fear of failure as there is no one to judge you…
No need to earn more and more…
So if you look at the core of the problem it all boils down to
You are concerned about how others will perceive you. To crave recognition from others, you live life satisfying others expectations or become frustrated/worried when others do not align with your wishes.
So based on the above statement, if you were the only person in the universe, there would be no problems. Plenty of freedom. However, this is not practical. Hence to address these interpersonal relationship problems, Alder proposes a technique known as “Separation of tasks”
Separation of tasks is to allow you to focus on the work over which you have control without being concerned about the opinions of others. Feeling good/bad about your work by others cannot be controlled by you and hence it is other’s task and not your task.
With having separation of tasks for each interpersonal task and not intruding into other people’s tasks makes your life so much easier.
The framework is like the below
- Separate tasks
- Decide whose task is this?
- Don’t intrude into other tasks
- Don’t let anyone intrude into your task
For example, some of us have a lot of anxiety about putting ourselves out there. You are afraid of rejection or concerned about what others will think of you.
In this case what other people will think of you is not your task, rather it is other’s task. If we try to intrude on that, we end up expending mental energy on a task over which you have no control. So don’t waste any time or effort on it.
This is a complete overhaul to our thought patterns. It takes a bit of time to rewire our thought patterns and practise this. Once mastered, I truly believe life will be much more easier and lively.
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