Jordan Peterson

Life and career advice by Jordan Peterson


Professor Jordan B Peterson on “How to be exceptional in life”.

If you concentrate solely in your career, you can get a long way in your career. That’s a strategy that a minority of men preferentially do.

That’s all they do, they work 70, 80 hours a week.

They go flat out on their career, they are staking everything on the small probability of exceptional status in a narrow domain. But it’s hard on them, they don’t have a life, it is very difficult for them to have a family, they don’t know how to take any leisure activity, they get very one-dimensional.

It may be that that uni-dimensionality is the price you have to pay to be exceptional at one thing. Because if you want to be something like a genius mathematician, you are in your lab every day, you are working 70 to 80 hours a week, you are smart, you are dedicated, you are unidimensional and that’s how you get to beat all the other people who are doing that. It’s the only way. The problem is that you don’t have a life.

Jordan B. Peterson

If you love being a scientist and you have that kind of focus of mind, first of all you are a rare person. It is a risky business to do that, you sacrifice a lot for it.

Most often, if you are speaking about having a healthy life, that isn’t what you do. You spread yourself out more. You have a family, you have things outside of work that are meaningful to you and useful. You have a network of friends… Those 4 things alone are plenty to keep you oriented. If one of those things collapses, everything doesn’t go.

One of the things Carl Jung said, he thought that men went after perfection and women went after wholeness. Perfection would be staking all in one thing and look for radical success. The wholeness idea is.. do I want one thing in my life to be 150% or do I want 5 things in my life to be at 80%.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that mostly women in their 30s bail out of unidimensional careers, they won’t do them. They won’t put out the 80 hours a week necessary. It is not worth it. If you want to be at the top you have to be smarter and work harder than the rest. Part of the reason too that women are oriented that way more than men:

  1. Socioeconomic status doesn’t not men women more attractive on the mating market, but it does make men more attractive.
  2. Women’s time frame is compressed. Guys can always say, oh I’ll have kids later. Women need to have it together by 40, 35.