Jordan Petersons March Q&A

Hey everyone!

Jordan B. Peterson has published a new Q&A Video yesterday, so I decided to share some news from that video, as well as some of the most insightful parts of his answers. As this is the first time I write this kind of blog post, I’d really appreciate a few words of feedback at the end of it.


To start things off, Peterson announced a few updates on various topics.

First, he spoke about his new book, Beyond (mere) order, 12 more Rules for Life (click, to see all of the new rules), and mentioned that he is currently stuck at chapter nine (If old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely), but that a release is planned for “the relatively recent future”. So, there’s reason to be excited about that.

He also reminded everyone of his talks in London on May 8 and in New York on April 17 and his debate with Marxist-Philosopher Slavoj Zizek on April 19th. He continued to say that the European 12 Rules for Life tour will be announced relatively soon.
He then turned his attention to the positive experiences on his recent Australian 12 Rules for Life tour. Many of these lectures were professionally videotaped, and even more of them were audio-taped which may become available on his new Patreon alternative (videos), or as podcasts (audio).

On this topic, he also announced that his alternative to Patreon may be functional by April 1. New information on this will be published on the same day.

Additionally, he is in the process of setting up new offices for his team to work on his online education program, even though there are no fixed times yet.

Finally, his bible series will make a return in October or November when Peterson visits Cambridge (update, 21.03.2019, it seems he won’t). The Exodus Stories will be the topic and it will encompass approximately ten lectures.

Q & A

Now to some Q & A, I picked the ones that I found the most interesting and distilled their essence.

Q: “How to balance between making peace and speaking the truth in intimate relationships, what if the truth hurts the other or two sites conflict?”

You should first aim for a good relationship. Good would be loving. Loving means that each of you takes care of the other and him or herself as if the other person is of equal importance. So, you treat them like they are yourself. This assumes that you want something for yourself that is best for you (that doesn’t necessarily mean happy!), so you have to figure out what would be best for you as well.

The next step is to develop a vision for your family life with this in mind: “You want to make your vessel in which your family’s ensconced watertight, and capable of withstanding storms.”

This means disciplining yourself, so you don’t do things that you’re ashamed of. It means telling the truth and working responsibly to be a good provider, in whatever capacity you can manage, regardless of your gender. It means embedding your family in a healthy social life and a healthy community life, too.

Here’s the catch: All of this has to be conscious and thought through before you can start to tell the truth.

This constitutes what you’re aiming at and this should be clear for both you and your partner.

“You have to aim at peace, and you have to aim at love and responsibility and mutual support. Then you can start talking because you’re gonna listen in the proper way. You’re gonna listen in a way that’s aiming at that higher good which is mutual peace.”

Jordan Peterson, “March Q&A (2018)

With this clear, you can have a conversation. The goal of this conversation is to explore a problem, jointly further the understanding of the problem, identify the minimum problem, and the best possible and practical solution that will be carried out.

The first step is to identify the problem.

This can be difficult because when people are upset, they don’t always know what it is exactly that they are upset about. Sometimes, an issue can be a consequence of past troubles that haven’t been dealt with properly, so new problems get poorly separated from that complex of past problems. This means that it might take a tremendous amount of listening before you can even get to what the problem is. This process of listening can be accompanied by the utterance of hurtful things, because if you’re annoyed at someone all the other things that are wrong with your life may be in the background, driving the annoyance. Still, in the end, you’ve hopefully identified the problem.

The second step is to identify the minimum problem.

“This relationship isn’t working.” isn’t a solvable problem, it’s way too complex. So, what you have to do instead, is to formulate precisely what you think the problem is and let your partner help you with that. Once you figure out exactly what you’re upset about, you can agree on what could be done to rectify the problem. This way, you come to a specific solution for a specific problem that might make your relationship work better.

The final step is to negotiate the best possible solution.

This doesn’t mean that it will be the perfect solution, but it might be the best that can be agreed on for the time being. Once found, you have to stick to it until the next negotiation.

Bonus: If you are getting upset, you can leave, but you have to come back because these problems have to be negotiated through. The only alternative is that important things don’t get done or people do them resentfully because they are sort of forced by their own orderliness or conscientiousness, and I have pointed out what resentment can lead to here.
If the conversation continues, you’ve found the right balance between making peace and speaking the truth.

Q: “What is a soul to you?”

Here I singled out a specific point that Peterson makes, as I think that it’s a core part of his philosophy:

“The outcome of the world is dependent on our choices, and equally on all of our choices.”

Jordan Peterson, “March Q&A (2018)

This is based on the idea that everyone has intrinsic and equal responsibility. This is the case because we are able to generate a fair bit of hell for ourselves and for other people. Still, we are also capable of generating a tremendous amount of good and the fate of the world is actually a consequence of all of these ethical decisions of each of us.

“It’s a terrifying idea. It’s no wonder people flee from it into hedonism … and ideology because it’s a very frightening possibility that the choices that you make day to day or fail to make have this profound and lasting effect on the structure of reality.”

Jordan Peterson, “March Q&A (2018)

Thus, if you adapt responsibility, you want to get to know the problems. The problems with you, with your family and you don’t want them to be sugar-coated. You want the real reasons for those problems because that means that if you know them and face them, you can fix them and that would be better for everyone.

What does this mean for me?

Every thing you do and everything you don’t do matters.

You can have a more elaborate explanation of his view on this in this clip:

Q: “I habitually procrastinate on important tasks for months on end, waiting for the right time. It is severely holding me back, how to avoid this?”

First, Peterson recommends to read chapter four of his book, which I recommend highly, as it has helped me as well!

Second, here’s what Peterson recommends in this Q&A:

He points out, that if that’s your problem, “you’re biting off more than you can chew.” This reflects a lack of humility. This lack of humility comes from your ego because you think that you are capable of taking on larger tasks than you actually are capable of. But then, you don’t complete them, so obviously you’re not capable of taking on the large tasks and completing them. Be humble enough to not be irritated at yourself when you find out just how small those pieces have to be for you to master them.

So, you have to ask yourself what you might be willing to do. The trick is to find a piece of the solution that you would be willing to engage in that you would actually do.

This seems ridiculous because we think that we are adults, and should be able to do more, but obviously, you weren’t able to. You need to make a deal with yourself and stick to it because if you push yourself further than what you’ve negotiated with yourself honestly, you’ll find that you won’t get back to work, because you don’t trust yourself anymore.

Here’s a step by step process that Peterson recommends:

First, have a look at what needs to be done.

Second, make a list of what needs to be done.

Third, prioritize what’s on the list – often help from others is really useful.

Fourth, break down the steps that are necessary until they are so small, that even someone as avoidant as you is likely to make progress.

Fifth, find your natural speed of advancement.

That’s it for today!

I found this Q&A really insightful and I hope you enjoyed this little write-up! I publish a blog post every six days and it’s likely that Part II of the lessons I’ve learned from 12 Rules for Life (PART I) will be out next week.

If you want more daily content, feel free to follow me on social media.

Have a great week!