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Business advice, philosophy, Reflections, Self development

Separation of tasks


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“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ” 
― Epictetus

I’m pretty sure you know by now that no, it is not that bloody simple. The difficulty arises precisely in making the distinction of what’s in our power and what not.

Alfred Adler, one of the founding members of the Vienna’s Psychoanalytic Society as long with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, claimed in his all too controversial at the time “individual psychology” that all problems are really just interpersonal problems.

But, really? Can you really go so far as to claim that every problem is an interpersonal problem?

Example. Let’s say that X person is working for a huge company and just two days ago, he messed up really, really bad. He made the company lose half a million dollars due to a stupid decision he took. He has a huge, huge problem and apparently, on the surface level, the problem is that the company will lose money but deep down, his worries are quite different. When he goes to bed he cannot stop thinking about arriving the next day and having to look everyone in the face, especially his boss, who will be furious. In reality, his problems spring from interpersonal relationships.

Interesting isn’t it? Something to think about. My point here, coming back to the distinction between things that are under our control and things that are not is too clarify it a little more, using Adler’s concept of separation of tasks.

The reason we are often unhappy as Epictetus cleverly claim is that we cannot make this distinction and so we worry about things that shouldn’t even concern us. The separation of tasks is another way of thinking about what you can control and cannot.

In a love relationship, for example, your task is to love, you cannot make the other person love you, or, well, you can, by being lovable yourself first. But the imposition, saying: “she should do this or he should do that”, is wanting to take the other person task.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

By separating tasks you can make the distinction of up to which point you can act and up to which point you should concern yourself with. Careful not to use this as an excuse not to do anything, because more than an excuse to not acting and leaving things be, on the contrary, you realize how much more it really is that you can actually do instead of waiting for other people to do whatever. If you are clever enough, you can always find a way in which you can act to come about anything you want, but knowing the distinction of up to which point you can do so is what will give you peace because you’ll know you’ve done your part.

Coming back to all problems being interpersonal problems, this Adlerian methodology comes very useful, because problems stop being problems, the only problem you are left with is with whether you do or you do not do your task and my friend, that’s always under your complete control.

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Business advice, Conquering Fears, Stoic advice

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“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” 
― Seneca

How do you begin setting up a business? Or learning Chinese or Japanese? How the bloody hell did Elon Musk built a space company after building Paypal without knowing anything about rockets?

You just do so.

Don’t get caught up in the trap of thinking too much before actually starting to do anything you’ve been thinking about doing.

I truly don’t believe there is even 1 person who knows exactly what they are doing all the time, life is just too complex and chaotic and our brains are not big enough for the task.

Our brains are great improvisers.

What would you do if you were thrown in an Island by yourself with a knife, a backpack and a bottle of water?

Well, after freaking out about your situation and calming down, the smartest thing you could do would be to scout. You’d need to know where you are and you’d also need to know what are the resources available.

From that point forward you’d maybe looking for Wilson and planning your way out of the island to get back home.

The same is true with everything else. Finding purpose? Scout. Where do you think you might find it? I’m sure you have at least a vague idea.

“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” 
― Alfred Adler

Go out, read the book, google the business industry you want to get into and research. By doing this you will start carving your path towards it.

And by the way, Elon Musk answer to how he started Space X was: “I started reading as much as I could about Rocket Science”

Courage

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

In the end, trying something new, starting a new project and almost everything venture related resumes in an act of courage. The courage to actually do it.

It’s common to say that you don’t do this because you don’t yet have this or you don’t do that because of that but if we take it to its core, it’s just a matter of courage.

The reason we repel doing something new is because we fear failure. Not really being able to do the thing we’ve been saying we are going to do is terrifying and so it feels better to just trick (supposedly) ourselves and others by saying that we can’t do it because of something. The thing is, this way of thinking is precisely what keeps us from doing anything, because that something is a lie, an excuse.

You have to realize that failure is needed to know the difference between what works and what doesn’t.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius

It’s not entirely hard to do something, that’s what your brain is for, but the actual decision to do it or not to will determine if you ever begin to live or not.

Realize that this decision is universal in your life, not just in one area.

The hardest part, undoubtedly is the start, conquer that first, answers will appear once you do.

Begin at once to live.

Want to read some more: Courage

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