Jordan Peterson’s Ultimate Advice for Students and College Grads – STOP WASTING TIME

Jordan Peterson’s Ultimate Advice for Students and College Grads – STOP WASTING TIME

August 24, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


My experience is with people that we’re probably running at about 51% of our capacity. Something – I mean you can think about this yourselves. I often ask undergraduates: How many hours a day you waste, or how many hours a week you waste? And the classic answer is something like 4 to 6 hours a day, you know inefficient studying, watching things on YouTube that not only do you not want to watch – That you don’t even care about, that make you feel horrible about watching after you’re done. That’s probably four hours right there. Now, and you think – That’s 20-25 hours a week. It’s a hundred hours a month. That’s two and a half full work weeks. It’s half a year of work weeks per year and if your time is worth, $20 an hour, which is a radical underestimate, it’s probably more like $50 if you think about it in terms of deferred wages. If you’re wasting 20 hours a week… you’re wasting $50,000 a year, and you are doing that right now, and because you’re young wasting $50,000 is a way bigger catastrophe than it would be for me to waste it because I’m not gonna last nearly as long, and so if your life isn’t everything it could be, you could ask yourself. Well, what would happen if you just stopped wasting the opportunities that are in front of you? You’d be who knows how much more efficient? Ten times more efficient? 20 times more efficient? That’s the Pareto distribution. You have no idea how efficient efficient people get. It’s off the charts! Best thing you can do is teach people to write, because there’s no difference between that and thinking and one of the things that just blows me away about universities is that No one ever tells students why they should write something It’s like well you have to do this assignment well, why are you writing? Well, you need the grade it’s like no You need to learn to think Because thinking makes you act effectively in the world, thinking makes you win the battles you undertake and those could be battles for good things If you can think and speak and write you are Absolutely deadly Nothing can get in your way so that’s why you learn to write, it’s like when I can’t believe that people aren’t just told that it’s- it’s- it’s like It’s the most powerful weapon you can possibly provide someone with and I mean I know lots of people who have been staggeringly successful and watched them throughout my life I mean those people you don’t want to have an argument with them. They’ll just slash you into pieces and then not in the malevolent way. It’s like if you’re gonna make your point and they’re gonna make their point you better have your points Organized because otherwise you’re gonna look like and be an absolute idiot you are not going to get anywhere and if you can formulate your arguments coherently and make a presentation, if you can speak to people, if you can lay out a proposal, god, people give you money, they give you opportunities, you have influence Make a schedule and stick to it. Okay. So what’s the rule with the schedule? It’s not a bloody prison That’s the first thing that people do wrong they say well, I don’t like to have to follow a schedule It’s like well, what kind of schedule are you setting up. Well, I should- I have to do this, then I have to do this, then I have to do this, you know And then I just go play video games because who wants to do all these things that I have to do. It’s like wrong Set the schedule up So that you have the day you want. That’s the trick. It’s like okay I’ve got tomorrow, if I was gonna set it up so it was the best possible day I could have Practically speaking, what would it look like? well, then you schedule that and obviously there’s a bit of responsibility that’s good to go along with that because if you have any sense One of the things that you’re gonna insist upon is that at the end of the day You’re not in worse shape than you were then- then at the beginning of the day, right? Because that’s a stupid day If you have a bunch of those in a row, you just dig, you know You dig yourself a hole and then you bury yourself and it’s like sorry, that’s just not a good strategy. It’s a bad strategy so maybe 20% of your day has to be responsibility and obligation Or maybe it’s more than that depending on how far behind you are. But even that you can- you can ask yourself, okay? Well, I’ve got these responsibilities. I have to schedule these things in, what’s the right ratio of responsibility to reward. And you can ask yourself that just like you’d negotiate with someone who is working for you It’s like okay, you gotta work tomorrow Okay, so I want you to work tomorrow and you might say okay. Well, what are you gonna do for me That makes it likely that I’ll work for you? Well, you could ask yourself that you know, maybe you do an hour of responsibility and then you play a video game for 15 minutes. I don’t know, whatever turns your crank man, but you know You have to negotiate with yourself and not tyrannize yourself Like you’re negotiating with someone that you care for, that you would like to be productive and have a good life And- and that’s how you make the schedule It’s like and then you look at the day and you think well if I had that day, that would be good Great, you know and you- you’re useless and horrible, so you’ll probably only hit it with about seventy percent accuracy But that beats the hell out of zero. Right and if you hit it Even with fifty percent accuracy another rule is well aim for fifty one percent the next week or 50 and a half percent for God’s sake or because you’re gonna hit that position where things start to loop back positively and spiral you upward. Well, and if we all got our act together collectively and stop making things worse because that’s another thing people do all the time not Only do they not do what they should to make things better they actively attempt to make things worse because they’re spiteful or resentful or arrogant or deceitful or or homicidal or genocidal, or all of those things all Bundled together in an absolutely pathological package. If people stopped really really trying just to make things worse We have no idea how much better they would get just because of that So there’s this weird dynamic that’s part of the existential system of ideas between human vulnerability social judgment both of which are are major causes of suffering and the failure of individuals to adopt the Responsibility that they know they should adopt. It Isn’t merely that your fate depends on whether or not you get your act together and to what degree you decide that you’re going to Live out your own genuine being, it isn’t only your fate. It’s the fate of everyone that you’re networked with And so, you know you think well There’s nine billion, seven billion people in the world We’re going to peak at about nine billion, by the way And then it’ll decline rapidly but seven billion people in the world and who are you you’re just one little dust mite Among that seven billion and so it really doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do but that’s simply not the case It’s the wrong model because you’re at the center of a network. You’re a node in a network Of course, that’s even more true Now that we have social media you’ll- you’ll know you’ll know a thousand people, at least, over the course of your life and they’ll know a thousand people each and that puts you one person away from a million and two persons away from a billion and So that’s how you’re connected and the things you do they’re like dropping a stone in a pond The ripples move outward and they affect things in ways that you can’t fully comprehend and it means that the things that you do and that you don’t do are far more important than you think and So if you act that way of course the terror of realizing that is that it actually starts to matter what you do and you might say well that’s better than living a meaningless existence. It’s better for it to matter But I mean if you really asked yourself would you be so sure? If you had the choice I can live with no responsibility whatsoever, the price I pay is that nothing matters Or I can reverse it and everything matters But I have to take the responsibility that’s associated with that. It’s not so obvious to me that people would take the meaningful path Now when you say well nihilists suffer dreadfully because there’s no meaning in their life and they still suffer Yeah, but the advantage is they have no responsibility So that’s the payoff and I actually think that’s the motivation. To say well, I can’t help being nihilistic all my belief systems have collapsed It’s like yeah, maybe maybe you’ve just allowed them to collapse because it’s a hell of a lot easier than acting them out and The price you pay is a meaningless suffering but You can always whine about that and people will feel sorry for you and you have the option of taking the pathway of the martyr So that’s a pretty good deal all things considered especially when they are, when the alternative is to bear your burden properly and to live Forthrightly in the world. Well what Solzhenitsyn figured out and so many people in the twentieth century it’s not just him even though he’s the best example is that if you live a pathological life you Pathologize your society and if enough people do that, then it’s hell Really really and You can read the Gulag Archipelago if you have the forti- fortitude to do that and you’ll see exactly what hell is like and then you can decide if that’s a place you’d like to visit or even more importantly if it’s a life, if it’s a place you’d like to visit and Take all your family and friends because that’s what happened in the 20th century. No one can live without a routine You just, forget that, if you guys don’t have a routine I would recommend like you get one going because you cannot be mentally healthy without a routine You need to pick a time to get up. Whatever time you want But pick one and stick to it because otherwise you dysregulate your circadian rhythms, and they regulate your mood Plan a life you’d like to have and and you do that partly by Referring to social norms, that’s more or less Rescuing your father from the belly of the whale but the way, other way you do that is by having a little conversation with yourself About, as if you don’t really know who you are because you know what You’re like, you won’t do what you’re told. You won’t do what you tell yourself to do, you must have noticed that It’s like you’re a bad employee and a worse boss and both of those work, you know, for you You don’t know what you want to do And then when you tell yourself what to do, you don’t do it anyway So you should fire yourself and find someone else to beat but- but you know what My point is, is that you have to understand that you’re not your own servant so to speak. You’re someone that you have to negotiate with and that’s- and You’re someone that you want to present the opportunity of having a good life to and That’s hard for people because they don’t like themselves very much So, you know, they’re always like cracking the whip and then Procrastinating and cracking the whip and then procrastinating. It’s like god, it’s so boring and such a pathetic way of spending your time. I Think what you have to do and this is part of humility is you have to look around you within your sphere of influence like the direct sphere of influence and fix the things that announce themselves as in need of repair, but one of the main reasons that people don’t get what they want is because they don’t actually figure out what it is and The probability that you’re going to get what would be good for you Let’s say, which would even be better than what you want, right? Because you know, you might be what- wrong about what you want, easily, but maybe you could get what would really be good for you Well, why don’t you? Well, because you don’t try. You don’t think, okay here’s what I would like if I could have it and- and I don’t mean- I Don’t mean in a way that you manipulate the world to force it, to deliver you goods for status or something like that That isn’t what I mean. I mean something like Imagine that you were taking care of yourself like you were someone you actually cared for and then you thought okay I’m caring for this person. I would like things to go as well for them as possible What would their life have to be like in order for that to be the case? Well people don’t do that. They don’t sit down and think alright, you know, let’s- let’s figure it out. You’ve got a life, it’s hard obviously, it’s like Three years from now you can have what you need You’ve got to be careful about it. You can’t have everything, you can have what would be good for you But you have to figure out what it is and then you have to aim at it Well my experience with people has been is if they figure out what it is that would be good for them And then they aim at it, then they get it and it’s strange because they don’t necess- it’s a strange thing, it’s not quite that simple because, you know, you may formulate an idea about what would be good for you And then you take ten steps towards that and you find out that your formulation was a bit off and so you have to reformulate Your goal, you know, so you’re kind of going like this as You move towards the goal But a huge part of the reason that people fail is because they don’t ever set up the criteria for success and so since success is a very narrow line and very unlikely, the probability that you’re going to stumble on it randomly is zero and So there’s a proposition here and the proposition is if you actually want something You can have it. Now the question then would be well, what do you mean by actually want and The answer is that you reorient your life in every possible way To make the probability that that will occur as certain as possible and that’s a sacrificial idea, right? It’s like you don’t get everything, obviously you Obviously, but maybe you can have what you need and maybe all you have to do to get it is ask but asking isn’t a Whim or- or today’s wish it’s like you have to be deadly serious about it. You have to think Okay, like I’m taking stock of myself and if I was going to live properly in the world And I was going to set myself up Such that being would justify itself in my estimation and I don’t mean as a harsh judge Exactly what is it that I would aim at? Sit on your bed one day and ask yourself What’s- what remarkably stupid things am I doing on a regular basis to absolutely screw up my life and If you actually ask that question But you have to want to know the answer right because that’s actually what asking the question means It doesn’t mean just mouthing the words. It means you have to decide that you want to know You’ll figure that out so fast it’ll make your hair curl.