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Podcast 120: Using Your Abilities to Contribute

Adlerian psychology – indiviual psychology – is a holistic approach to understanding your motivations. It gives us a “guiding star” to use your abilities.

In the book “The Courage to be Dislike” by Kishimi and Koga, they use a fabulous dialog to discuss the “individual psychology” laid out by Alfred Adler. He was a contemporary of Freud and Jung.

Adlerian psychology is a psychology of use. That means to accept the abilities you have and to use them! That’s in contrast to getting stuck on which abilities you don’t have or what past you went through. Those stories are not helpful.

Adlerian psychology is non-deterministic. If we lived in a deterministic world, then your past would define your future without leeway of change. But it’s possible to decide to change. So you end up using your abilities, rather than feeling in what you cannot do.

It offers us a “guiding star” of contributing to others. So, use your abilities to speak the Irish language, whatever those abilities are, and use them to contribute to others.

“Your existence implies the existence of others”. So we can extend that to decide that a language implies the existence of others. You’re not studying a language alone, but rather aiming to connect with others through that language.

You’ll need to employ courage. The feeling of inferiority is a stimulant. It will make you feel like you need to get better. Use that tension, toward our inbuilt pursuit of superiority (to get better). If you start using your feeling of inferiority as an excuse, though, that becomes an inferiority complex which holds you back. The best approach forward is to strive to compensate for these feelings through growth.

Life is not a competition. Visualise yourself as being on a level playing field with others. They may be ahead of you, and walking at a different speed, but we’re all on the journey together. If you feel like being judged by others (let’s say in your abilities in speaking Gaeilge), then you’re seeing others as your enemies ultimately. See everyone else as comrades.

Don’t compare yourself to others. If you want any comparison, compare yourself to your best self.

Tell yourself “I have the ability”, because you do.

Don’t aim for goals. Live in the moment. “Dance earnestly”. Shine a bright light on the here and now, ignore the past and future as they don’t exist anymore or never did. Live this “energial” life. Life is made up of a sequence of dots of moments rather than a continous line from past to present to future.

The goal of your interpersonal relationships should be a feeling of community. Your goal is to contribute to others (even if they don’t know you’re helping them!). Your very being is of value to others. Use your abilities to contribute to the community. Find a community where you feel like “having one’s refuge”. If you have a fear of being judged, you’re still being self-centered. You haven’t accepted yourself for who you are.

Do you have any experience with this approach? For me, it spoke clearly back to points on which we speak about for achieving Gaeilge Gach Lá. Isn’t it better to dance and enjoy the journey, rather than being beat-up and aiming toward a tough goal?

2 thoughts on “Podcast 120: Using Your Abilities to Contribute”

  1. Dia dhuit, Eoin! I really enjoyed this podcast and will be sure to listen to this episode again. It was very interesting, and hearing Anya’s comments made it even more thought-provoking. I look forward to the next podcast, and I wish the best for your friend. Le meas, Nancy

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