My husband and I recently decided to watch an After Skool video on YouTube featuring some of Jordan Peterson’s greatest lessons. Jordan has always been a fascinating teacher for me because he has the incredible ability to see the worst of humanity and yet still believes that things can get better if we’re willing to rise to the challenge.
This is a line I try to walk in my own life, but I can’t say that I’ve mastered it to the same degree he has. It’s hard, at times, for me to maintain hope and not give in to the sadness or challenge of the moment. Perhaps age will help with this issue, but for now, it’s still a struggle.
One particular lesson hit home for me during this video though, and I wanted to share the insights with you. Jordan spoke about a teaching from Carl Jung, who said that we need to aim high in our lives. Humans need to pursue goals as a part of our nature, and the worth of our chosen goal can drastically affect how our lives will play out in the future.
Jordan brought up the concept of lying. We teach children that they should tell the truth and, as they should, many ask why they should not lie. It’s an excellent question and many parents won’t have an answer to this question ready because, ultimately, it’s a matter of long-term effect.
Lying, as a single example of a less lofty aim, leads to doubt and distrust. Lies will inevitability be discovered, which causes strife and suffering in relationships. But others aren’t the only ones who suffer. The liar also suffers because they now wonder if anyone else is ever telling the truth. Dishonestly is a path toward chaos, and self-serving goals tend toward the same trend.
We all seek success in some form, but how we go about achieving success matters far more than actual success. We’ve all experienced moments in which we attained what we sought only to realize that the fun was in the pursuit. Seeking momentary pleasures and wealth above all else is just as likely to destroy your life as committing a crime. Instead, it’s the pursuit of a higher goal, such as making the world a better place, that is going to provide you with the sense of purpose and joy that you’re ultimately seeking.
While you may not know how to achieve lofty goals, by directing your daily actions toward a higher aim, you naturally steer your life in the right direction. It’s almost effortless because you’re working toward the general betterment of everything. As a result, everything in your life will improve as long as you continue to behave with that goal in mind. And while I can’t say that things will always be easy or fun, in fact, I can pretty much guarantee they won’t, when you reach your final days, I can guarantee that you will look back at your life with joy knowing that you spent your time well, doing something that matters.
I hope you can take this lesson to heart. I know it can be challenging and that life has a way of throwing curve balls that test your faith. It’s all going to be worth it in the end.
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