The 25 Best Jordan Peterson Quotes
The Smartest Things He Has Ever Said
Jordan Peterson has captured the imagination of a lot of young men in America. This is a good thing because he pushes self-improvement, human decency, and encouraging people to achieve their full potential. It’s something people in America, particularly young men, need to hear and if, improbably, that message can best be delivered by a Canadian professor who seems particularly interested in lobsters, that’s just fine:
Jordan Peterson’s message is one that more people need to hear and towards that effort, here are his 25 best quotes:
25) "Our society faces the increasing call to deconstruct its stabilizing traditions to include smaller and smaller numbers of people who do not or will not fit into the categories upon which even our perceptions are based. This is not a good thing. Each person’s private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous."
24) "I have had many clients whose anxiety was reduced to subclinical levels merely because they started to sleep on a predictable schedule and eat breakfast."
23) "You do not have a life with someone when you have an affair with them. You have an endless array of desserts (at least in the beginning), and all you have to do is scoop the whipped cream off the top of each of them and devour it."
22) "If you take your turn at the difficult tasks, people learn to trust you, you learn to trust yourself, and you get better at doing difficult things. All of that is good. If you leave all that undone, you will find yourself in the same position as the child whose parents insisted upon doing everything for him or her: bereft of the capacity to thrive in the face of the difficulties/challenges of life."
21) "People remain mentally healthy not merely because of the integrity of their own minds, but because they are constantly being reminded how to think, act, and speak by those around them."
20) "Success: that’s the mystery. Virtue: that’s what’s inexplicable. To fail, you merely have to cultivate a few bad habits. You just have to bide your time. And once someone has spent enough time cultivating bad habits and biding their time, they are much diminished."
19) "The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it."
18) "If you are not willing to be a fool, you can’t become a master."
17) "If you fulfill your obligations every day you don't need to worry about the future."
16) "The thing you most need is always to be found where you least want to look."
15) "The secret to your existence is right in front of you, and it manifests itself as all those things you know you should do but you’re avoiding."
14) "The only time ‘no’ ever means ‘no’ in the absence of violence is when it is uttered by one civilized person to another."
13) "People organize their brains with conversation. If they don’t have anyone to tell their story to, they lose their minds. Like hoarders, they cannot unclutter themselves."
12) "You should not overlook the guidelines of your culture. Life is short, and you don’t have time to figure everything out on your own. The wisdom of the past was hard-earned, and your dead ancestors may have something useful to tell you."
11) "Can you imagine yourself in 10 years if, instead of avoiding the things you know you should do, you actually did them every single day? That’s powerful."
10) "There are seven billion people in the world. At least a hundred million (let us say) might have made good partners for you. You certainly did not have time to try them out, and the probability that you found the theoretically optimal person approaches zero. But you do not find so much as make, and if you do not know that you are in real trouble."
9) "It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order."
8) "The moral of the story? Beware of intellectuals who make a monotheism out of their theories of motivation. Beware, in more technical terms, of blanket univariate (single variable) causes for diverse, complex problems."
7) "No group guilt should be assumed—and certainly not of the multigenerational kind. It is a certain sign of the accuser’s evil intent, and a harbinger of social catastrophe."
6) "It is far better to render beings in your care competent than to protect them."
5) "There’s some real utility in gratitude. It’s also good protection against the dangers of victimhood and resentment. Your colleague outperforms you at work. His wife, however, is having an affair, while your marriage is stable and happy. Who has it better? The celebrity you admire is a chronic drunk driver and bigot. Is his life truly preferable to yours?"
4) "It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world — a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one — is to fix yourself."
3) "Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated."
2) "A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very, very dangerous man who has it under voluntary control."
1) "When you have something to say, silence is a lie."
Not being hot on most social media these days, I was only vaguely familiar with Mr. Peterson. I shall have to read more of his work. These selected quotes have a Chestertonian quality to them, which I find satisfying. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Hawkins.
You distilled, out of many of JP's thoughts, beliefs and ideas, an excellent list to live by.