Fix Yourself, Not the World

Prager U has some awesome videos about conservative thinking, history, and more, but some of their best videos feature solid advice.

Mike Rowe had some solid advice by telling you that putting all your effort into following your passions was actually a huge waste of your time and will likely leave you disappointed and with little to show for it. Adam Carolla teamed up with Prager U several times, and in one video told you that he’s an unlucky guy, and likely so are you, but that matters little if you work hard enough.

Both men had a solid message and lent to the idea that you are in control of your well being, and the harder and smarter you work on worthwhile pursuits, the luckier you’ll get.

Picking up that torch for Prager U is Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Jordan Peterson who has a solid message to act as a nice icing to the cake other Prager U guests had baked before him – stop blaming the world for your failures and fix yourself.

“Blaming others for your problems is a complete waste of time,” begins Peterson bluntly. “When you do that, you don’t learn anything. You can’t grow, and you can’t mature. Thus, you can’t make your life better.”

Peterson goes on to say that there are two types of people in the world. There are those who blame the world for their shortcomings, and those who ask what they can change about themselves to further succeed. The latter has more chances to learn from his mistakes, and adapt appropriately to the situation and therefore succeed. The former, however, will only harm themselves and others in their willful ignorance.

Peterson throws some examples out, one being young people who join groups like Antifa who riot in the streets over supposed injustices and end up destroying the property of innocent people:

Consider the youthful activist, making a “statement” against the “corrupt” capitalist system by smashing in the storefront of a local business. What has he done, other than to bring harm to people who have nothing to do with his real problems?

The guilt, doubt and shame he will inevitably feel in consequence will have to be suppressed so his beliefs can remain unchanged. And that suppression will do nothing but foster his anger and alienation.

Peterson gives some advice on how to begin changing yourself for the better:

“Start small. Ask yourself a few questions: Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you? Are you working to your fullest capacity at school or at work? Have you, in other words, set your own house in order?” says Peterson. “If the answer is no, try this: stop doing what you know to be wrong. Stop today.”

“Don’t waste time asking how you know that what you’re doing is wrong,” he continues. “Inopportune questioning can confuse without enlightening, and deflect you from action. You can know something is right or wrong without knowing why. Start paying attention: Do you procrastinate, show up late, spend money you don’t have, and drink more than you should? ”

Peterson goes on to say that fixing these small habits will, without fail, begin to improve our lives whether it takes days, weeks, or even months.

“Your life will become less tragic, and you will become more confident,” says Peterson. “You’ll start seeing right from wrong more clearly. The path in front of you will shine more brightly. You’ll stop getting in your own way. Instead of bringing trouble to yourself, your family, and your society, you’ll be a positive and reliable force.”

Peterson says it won’t make life any less difficult. You’ll still fail and hurt. “That’s the price of being alive,” he says, noting that despite the difficulty, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it.

In conclusion, Peterson says that you should let go of the grand dream of fixing the world. Despite the flowery talk you often hear from celebrities, politicians, and activists, you’re probably not going to do so. Even those in powerful positions rarely do so. Instead, Peterson advises you to focus on you.

“The proper way to fix the world isn’t to fix the world,” he says. “There’s no reason to assume that you’re even up to such a task. But you can fix yourself. You’ll do no one any harm by doing so.”