Discovery Channel© has Shark Week™, and at Wilder, Wealthy and Wise® we are lucky enough to have Dr. Jordan Peterson Week©. This is the third of three posts on Dr. Jordan Peterson – his website is here (LINK). My first post on Dr. Peterson can be found here (LINK), and the second post here (LINK).
“Jamie, how many 29 year old record company presidents operate out of their mom’s trailers? Know what I’m sayin’?”- J-Roc’s Mom, “Trailer Park Boys”
Oil Tank Dennis Quaid (playing Sam Houston) knows a little bit about Oil Tank success, starting his own Oil Tank country and all.
I had intended on just doing three posts this year on Dr. Peterson, but will probably do updates from time to time, since his ideas are stone-cold interesting and I think I could do six weeks of posts on those ideas without repeating myself, but if I did that we’d just have to hand over the reins to Jordan, and I own the domain name, and I don’t think he’d share the revenues.
Elon Musk almost always has something going on, too.
Monthly updates about these guys? We’ll see.
(By the way, Elon, GOOD JOB dumping Amber Heard, she’s really not worth a Prius®, dude. I’m telling you – she is trouble and likely a Terminator® sent by James Cameron from the future to mess with your Mars (LINK) plan. You dodged a bullet!!!)
Now a 100,000% better with no Amber Heard. (image, Wikipedia)
But this is Wealthy Wednesday, and Dr. Peterson has a lot to say about success (and, it seems, almost everything else), which is reasonable given the unreasonable amount of success that he’s had, especially recently.
Today we’re going back to those forty points that Peterson laid out on Quora (LINK) in response to the question “What are the most valuable things everyone should know?” In the analysis on Truth last post (LINK), Dr. Peterson had 16 out of 40 points that related in some way to Truth (I know, we could quibble, was it 15 or 17, but why quibble, since we’re friends?). Are there any of the 40 points that speak to success?
Yes. Dr. Peterson speaks on things I consider to be huge when it comes to a deep, meaningful success that combines significance with economic success. I mean, why would you want a Justin Bieber-level success if you could have success that mattered, like Bruce Campbell?
A perfect gift for any occasion!
Peterson has several videos on YouTube® that directly tackle important personal development points that lead to success: fear (and how to overcome it), the importance of having a routine, where to find the freshest and plumpest Pez®, and how success leads to even more success. I encourage you to watch the videos.
But going back to the 40 points. Many relate to behaviors (behaviours in Canada, eh) that lead to success. These are quoted below (bold) with Dr. Peterson’s gracious permission. My commentary follows.
- Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient. – There is always the opportunity to do things just for the moment, but when you work on what matters? That leads to long term success and value. This means that, no, eating only appetizers doesn’t make a good dinner. You need cake, too.
- If you have to choose, be the one who does things, instead of the one who is seen to do things. Do them so you how to do them. Do them because they are meaningful. Do them because it’s right. Doing them just to be seen? Yeah, we wedgied that guy in High School. That’s the worst kind of smarmy dude.
- Pay attention. Sorry, dozed off. Oh, yeah. People notice when you take them seriously, when what they say matters to you. If you’re not present in the moment, those that are will notice. And you’ll miss important things. “Hang on, honey, I have to tell Google that they should lower their price to $750,000. They want a million bucks! Stupid college kids.” (Yes, that really happened, and he did not get the deal.)
- Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you need to know. Listen to them hard enough so that they will share it with you. There is an implied Trustworthiness in this statement. Be worthy of their trust. Realize that Truth is not where you look, it’s where you find it.
- Be careful who you share good news with. Bad bosses get jealous, and even good people get jealous. Similarly, don’t appear too good to your boss. A boss that’s intimidated by you is not generally a rational boss. If you have to make that calculation, beware. Likewise, sometimes your friends get a bit tired of hearing of an endless sea of victory. Be real to them.
- Be careful who you share bad news with. People who don’t like you (or to whom you just represent a tool) can use that news against you. Similarly? Don’t share your weaknesses. Hey, Clark Kent – your boss does NOT need to know that you’re nearsighted and break out in hives every time you’re near a little kryptonite©. Also, your bad news might be insignificant compared to someone else’s bad news. Your very worst day might be better than the best day of the person you’re talking too. “Oh, my, and the caviar was nearly off! I made do, however,” won’t go too far if the other person can barely afford to pay their chauffer and their private pilot.
- Make at least one thing better every single place you go. The right people generally appreciate this. They see it, and it’s obvious. If they don’t see it? You know, deep inside, it was the right thing. A guy was working really hard on making a concrete footer smooth. I pulled aside his great-great-grandboss. “You know that’s going to be buried, right? I’m good if it’s a bit rough. Heck, it’s really even better if the concrete is rough. More friction.” Boss’s response? “It’s his work. The man has pride in it. I’ll let him own it.” What a good answer.
- Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that. How many days do you want to spend being the you that isn’t the best you? The first step is imagining. Once you’re there, Von Mises (LINK) will take over. If you see a better you, a path to get there, and believe that your action can take you there? Nothing can stop you. Unless you told your boss about the whole kryptonite® thing.
- Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or resentful. Good things will happen to you during your career. Bad things will happen to you during your career. People will step on you (if they can) to elevate themselves over you. You’ll forget the contributions of great team members. Focus on this: You’re never as good as people think, or as bad. You have had amazing help through your life. “Don’t spend time hating the situation. The situation doesn’t care.” (Marcus Aurelius, probably)
Unknown Sculptor, Pierre-Selim (Self-photographed) [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Why is it that when I wear a toga to work that they think I’m a little off? Marcus rocked his!
- Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens. This implies that you’re going to get rid of the fear of failure. If you try, really hard, and fail, what will happen? Mainly, nobody notices, except you. And you get stronger. It has been my experience that the harder I work at something, the better I get. And sometimes I achieve results that are beyond anything I ever could have expected. And other things fail, but I learn a little bit more each time.
- Maintain your connections with people. Outside of graffiti artists, The Mrs., and Keanu Reeves, most of us don’t work alone. Most of us depend on others to make us better, make us stronger. There’s a natural pull for certain people (introverts and those under stress) to pull back, mainly when they need other people the most.
- Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or artistic achievement. The stupid form you just filled out? Yeah, somebody had to design it, and they had a reason. See if you can make the form better, after understanding why it even exists.
- Nothing well done is insignificant. There is the possibility of beauty in the most mundane and base of tasks – cleaning a microwave oven can be significant, especially when it’s done well. I can show you the fulfillment you will get from cleaning a microwave. See you at my house on Saturday? Only a minimal charge for this lesson. (H/T M. Twain)
- Dress like the person you want to be. True enough. Some days I’m Homer Simpson. I would just love to be involved in those wacky adventures! Danger point: If you work at a construction company and dress like an investment banker you will be mocked.
- Be precise in your speech. Meaning is important, and certain people follow only concrete statements. Precision in a concrete fashion is especially important to them – their brains don’t understand exaggeration for effect. Likewise, when someone asks you a yes or no question? Answer yes or no before you explain the answer. They might not care why. And precision in speech leads to truth.
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Posture feeds directly into mindset and emotion, and in guys pumps testosterone up when done right. Standing tall and strong like a superhero, hands on hips? Yeah, you’ll feel like a superhero, and being a superhero is a great way to get important things done. Especially if “things” is slicing up people with metal claws.
- Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way — and don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things. Bosses hate fear and like courage (good bosses). They also understand risk. They like it when you take appropriate
- Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated. There will be times when you will see something undone. Do it. It will be noticed.
- Be grateful in spite of your suffering. Nobody likes a whiner or wants to spend time with a whiner. Nobody wants to hear a whiner whine except his enemy. Everyone suffers. To repeat myself, your worst day is better than someone’s best day. Act like it.
Dr. Peterson is doing more than writing about success, he’s quarterbacked creation of a software suite called “Self Authoring,” (LINK). Note that I am not as of this writing date getting paid if you sign up. I’ll let you know if that changes.
The concept behind Self Authoring is to work through issues – fix yourself – by revisiting and writing about events in the past that were particularly difficult for you or in some way may be holding you back. Additionally, there’s a focus on writing a future as well to create a meaningful goal or set of goals to work for, sort of an anti-nihilism pill.
Bill Gates probably doesn’t need this. Those who are able to be pretty clear of their past and are able to perform at a high level already based on solid future goals are probably not the target market, though Dr. Peterson did say that one driving factor in designing and creating this tool was from requests by companies for ways to help their high performing employees perform on an even higher level.
When people write about their painful past, people experience long term positive impacts (compared to a control group). Likewise, another group constructed and wrote about their future, and had similar impacts (when compared to the control group). I have theories about everything, but I wonder if confronting past trauma made them braver? I wonder if it allowed them to really examine what happened in context and they were able to trace the impacts to their present state?
In the end, Self Authoring is consistent with Peterson’s maxim – you have to fix yourself.
I wonder if that’s part of the mission of this blog? I know that Orthodixie (LINK) (another blogger from my past, an Orthodox Priest with a Carolina accent, and no, I’m not making that up) and I would talk about how blogging let us mentally, “take out the trash,” and how much better we felt after we’d gotten something out on paper, even something unrelated to the things that were bothering us. I’ll probably give the Self Authoring program a try. I’ll let you know how it works out . . . but get yourself a Priest as a drinking buddy if you can. It always amused The Mrs. when I engaged him in theological debate after wine.
Me, I’m still cleaning on my room, making it a little better each day. I know that The Mrs. is very much looking forward to me being done with that.