Separation of Tasks: Adler's Psychology

Separation of Tasks: A Simple Way to Redefine Your Life

Ever come across an idea that sparked profound personal change? It happened to me recently while reading the book The Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi.

The book explores the revolutionary principles of Alfred Adler’s psychology and provides practical suggestions for living a fulfilling life. Suggestions that don’t suck!

Although I fell in love with almost everything said in the book, one special lesson influenced me the most. It’s what Adler calls the Separation of Tasks.

So let me explain what it is and how it can make you unstoppable.


What is the Separation of Tasks?

Separation of tasks simply means that you should focus on your own job and contribute to your own purpose, and let people do the same for themselves. You shouldn’t interfere or try to control anyone else’s task, whether a stranger or a family member.

Adler believed that when people take responsibility for themselves and pursue their own well-being, the world will collectively become more harmonious.

For example, an author’s task is to write the book and not bother about what the readers think about it, a YouTuber’s task is to create videos and not care what viewers comment on them, an actor’s role is to deliver excellent performance on the set and not worry about how the movie will perform in the box office.

Simple yet powerful, right?


How Can You Apply Separation of Tasks in Your Life?

Sometimes you are too occupied with what your boss, colleagues, parents, friends, relatives, or neighbors think about you. And knowingly or unknowingly, you crave their appreciation and do things to please them.

Since you live up to others’ expectations, you become a puppet dancing on the strings controlled by people. Which is not a great way to live.

The result? You lose yourself.

The solution is the separation of tasks. Which says you have to create a distinction between what is your task and what’s not.

Ask yourself- who will face the consequences of the end result of the choices you make and actions you take? Nobody but you. So who do you think should take responsibility for those choices and actions? You!

Separation of tasks says that you don’t have to worry about what people think about you, how they see and judge you, what they may do to you, or how your action will impact their feelings. Because all these are not your problems but theirs.

You just gotta do your job, work for your well-being, fulfill your purpose and serve your community. And anyway, you can’t please everyone. There will always be people who will dislike you no matter what you do. So you better please yourself.

Adler also suggests that you should accept yourself the way you are. When you are comfortable with yourself, what people think would hardly matter.

Sometimes parents become overprotective towards their children and try to control everything. But the separation of tasks says that parents should only support their children and let them take responsibility for their life. Children should be independent and learn to decide for themselves.

Take this another instance. If you are seriously involved in a romantic relationship, you may sometime fear the possibility of your partner cheating on you. Guess what? What your partner does is not your job, so you shouldn’t lose sleep over it. Instead, do what you can control, which in this case is to love your partner passionately.


Separation of Tasks is a Power

In this era of hyperconnectivity, where you are connected to the whole world every second of the day, living free of others’ judgments and opinions is more important than ever. The separation of tasks can give you a non-caring attitude necessary for surviving and thriving in this time.

However, there is a catch. I learned about the separation of tasks six months ago. And still, I feel I am not practicing it fully. Sometimes it needs great bravery to stop caring. But anyway, I think I am getting better.

So, don’t expect that this rule will change your life overnight. It’s a journey, an adventurous journey, so have patience and fasten your seatbelts.


“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.”

 – Lao Tzu

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