The Austrian Psychologist, Alfred Adler (1870-1937) is known as the founder of the school of Individual Psychology, with emphasis on personality and the phenomenon referred to as the Inferiority Complex.
Much of his philosophy is rooted in benefits tied to the ‘group’. He held equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy as core values. But what was great about Adler, was that he also identified the nurturing of one’s individual self to be of utmost high value.
This is where the Separation of Tasks comes to light and how we can use it to make a lighter load on ourselves.
Let’s go back to being babies… There are some lessons that you just have to learn yourself. You can be assisted at points, but the lessons need to be completed and the skills acquired, in order to progress. Think feeding oneself, walking etc…
Now, if one of us were to interfere, under the guise of assistance, so much that we rob the child of the lesson to be learned, have we actually assisted at all? Or, have we stunted the child’s progression? It is easy to want to alleviate another’s failure, say to stop a child from falling over when learning to walk, but that failure is often from which the lesson is learned.
How does this tie into Adler’s Separation of Tasks I hear you say?
What Adler pointed out, in order to not get drowned in the tasks of others, one must identify to whom the task lies. To interfere, or ‘help’ as we all like to call it, into the tasks of others is more-often-than-not a detriment to the evolution of the individual whose task it is. All you need to do is identify to whom the task belongs and let them strive to achieve it, otherwise you are likely robbing them of the lesson.
How does this help you and I?
I know of far too many people, myself often included, that take on the many burdens of others. From the Adlerian perspective, in order for all concerned to mutually benefit, we must first identify whose tasks we are implicated in achieving, and stand back and let them accomplish and learn from the lessons.
You will find that once you practise this as a rule, you will have more space in which to achieve your own tasks, and by proxy more responsibility to do so too. You will not be burdened by the tasks of others, yet you will also cease offloading your responsibilities on to the people around you.
This is the true essence of freedom. The odd paradox that to be truly free, is to be fully independent and responsible for oneself.
To your freedom 😉