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“You have the ideal life,” I said. “You think about things. And people pay attention. And you get paid for it.” I was talking to Jordan B. Peterson. His YouTube channel has tens of millions of views. He’s a clinical psychologist, professor and author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” and now a guest on this podcast.

People stop him on the street. They say “Thank you.” They say, “You’ve changed my life.”

“What did you say that helped their life?” I asked.

But I already knew the answer…

Because it’s true for me too.

He told them what they were ready to hear. That’s it. And they acted. Sometimes people thank me. And I tell them “You did it.” Then we take a picture and I feel happy.

I asked Jordan about his “12 rules for life.”

“I tried to lay out the phenomenal logical landscape of humanity in this book,” Jordan said.

I interrupted.

“What’s phenomenal logical?”

“It’s life as experienced. Ya know, you think, ‘What’s reality?’ Well, there’s material reality, but that isn’t the reality you live. You live a reality that’s full of emotions and motivations and personal experiences. That’s your reality.”

I stayed silent. I was collecting.

“But what’s the structure of that reality? What’s the fundamental structure of the human-lived reality?” he said. “Part of it is suffering because we’re finite and limited. But it’s suffering that’s tainted with malevolence because some of that suffering is unnecessary. You cause it, society causes it. It doesn’t have to happen. That’s the world we live in. It’s hard and it’s cruel.”

Then he said this “You’re stuck with that. That’s the bottom line. So how are you going to deal with it?”

I think that’s the basis of how we live. The answer to that question “how are you going to deal with it?” With losing money, hating your job, getting fired. That’s the act. The response is life.

He gave me a lot of steps (for dealing with cruelty and suffering). I’ll give you some in a minute. But you should also listen to him on the podcast because he gives so much more in that one hour than I could ever collect on this page.

STEP 1 – Get in touch with your dissatisfaction.

STEP 2 – Take stock of your life (what can you do differently? What are the small steps? Don’t actually take them (yet). Just start by learning what you don’t like and what you do like in your life right now). Do that for a week.

Those steps continue. But he also said this:

“You have to choose your pathway of suffering. That’s one way of thinking about it. You can choose the suffering that’s associated with deceit, arrogance, resentment, bitterness or you can choose the suffering that’s associated with truth. The suffering that’s associated with truth transcends. It starts to make things better. Deceit makes life worse. And truth makes it better. ”

I needed examples. Dozens of them.

I just kept throwing life problems at Jordan to see what he’d say. He told me how he solves conflicts with his wife. And how he managed his depression. He told me his thoughts on “the grind of life.”

Because it’s everyday. And it’s hard.

But there are things we can do to make ourselves more okay with our chaos and the chatter between our ears. We can follow rules (like Jordan’s) or make our own.

I’m doing both.

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