Why is self-improvement so important to humans? What can you do to improve your life or circumstances at the moment? Psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson provides practical advice on how anyone can get some substantial self-improvement started – even within the hour. For good reason.
Dr. Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, YouTube personality, author, and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. He began to receive widespread attention as a public intellectual in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues.
“What could you do to improve yourself? Why should you even bother improving yourself? And I think the answer to that is something like so you don’t suffer anymore stupidly than you have to. And maybe so others don’t have to either. It’s something like that.”
While most people may deem it insignificant, never underestimate the power that comes along with self-improvement.
When most people think about self-improvement, they think about the bigger picture, like the big things they need to fix or repair around them to feel better. However, self-improvement also encompasses improving the small stuff in your life.
“If you were coming to see me for psychotherapy, the easiest thing for us to do first would just be to get you to organize your room You think: ‘Well, is that psychotherapy?’ And the answer is: it depends on how you conceive the limits of your being. And I would say: start where you can start!”
If you look around your everyday life, things will start to pop up that may need repairing. It could be simple things you have been putting off, like taking the trash out, dusting your house, fixing a broken cabinet door or getting some work done. Self-improvement starts with the little things. Your life will slowly change positively once you learn how to improve the space around you.
“You fix a hundred things like that, your life will be a lot different. Now, I often tell people too: fix the things you repeat every day.”
Everyday tasks like getting up, making your bed, having a coffee, and taking a shower may seem mundane, but they make up at least 50% of your life.
“The things you do every day: those are the most important things you do.”
Once you can improve the little things in your life, you can extend the same discipline to the bigger things. The thing about wanting to bring about change is that once you consciously look around for things you can change; you start seeing things that need improvement. That is just how the brain works.
“Our mind is a very strange thing and as soon as you give it an aim – a genuine aim – it’ll reconfigure the world in keeping with that aim. That’s actually how you see to begin with. So if you set it a task… You have to be genuine about it, which is why you have to bring your thoughts and emotions together. And then you have to get them in your body so you’re acting consistently. You have to be genuine about the aim, but once you aim the world will reconfigure itself around that aim, which is very strange.”
If you want to achieve good in the world, you must first consider and acknowledge your limitations. This means trying to stay within your competence. This allows you to start with the little things you can do within your knowledge scope to bring about the change you want to see.
“You don’t walk up to a helicopter that isn’t working and just start tinkering away with it. You have to stay within your domain of competence.”
As soon as you start making conscious self-improvement efforts, the people around you will begin to notice. Your need for change will inspire them to want to grow alongside you. This can create a ripple effect where everyone around you works on their self-improvement within the scope of their limitation and abilities. This will ultimately contribute to the bigger picture.
If you are a man interested in self-improvement, MensGroup is an online men-only support group where you meet like-minded men on the same self-improvement journey. Here, you will get all the guidance and support you need to become a better man.