The Psychology of Quiet Success: Our Biggest Battles Are Fought Behind Closed Doors

On the 11th of February 1990, James “Buster” Douglas stepped into the boxing ring with Mike Tyson in an event that was advertised as “Tyson is Back.” As a 42-to-1 underdog, Douglas was barely expected to make it past round 1. Odds were so skewed that most bookmakers wouldn’t even accept a bet on Douglas to win. It was such a ‘sure thing’ that people were betting upwards of $100,000 just to win $3000-4000.

For most of the fight, Douglas was incredibly successful, which came as a shock to all who were in attendance. But in the eighth round, after 24 minutes of fighting, with only ten seconds left in the round, Tyson landed a devastating right uppercut knocking Douglas to the canvas. 

Douglas was down for a nine-count, but he was miraculously saved by the bell with just one second to spare. Round nine began, and Tyson came out with his trademark aggression, desperately trying to put an end to the fight once and for all. But Douglas weathered the storm and began landing heavy shots. Then in round ten, after 34 minutes and 22 seconds of back-and-forth James “Buster” Douglas landed an uppercut, followed by a flurry of punches to drop Mike Tyson and win by Knock Out. 

The world was shocked.

This was by far the biggest upset in boxing history and the biggest challenge of Douglas’ career and he overcame it. His win was rewarded with overnight fame, fortune and praise. He became somewhat of an icon and his $1.3 million payday for the Tyson fight paled in comparison to the record-breaking $24.6 million he was paid just 8 months later against Evander Holyfield. David had defeated Goliath and boxing fans would continue to talk about it for years to come.

It was the stuff of fairy tales. Only…it wasn’t. 

It may have been the biggest challenge of Douglas’ career, but it was not the biggest challenge of his life – not even close.

The public saw the unbelievable achievement on that night and that’s what they remembered about the life of Buster Douglas. Douglas went home and spent the next few months in a whirlwind. Struggling to grasp his newfound fame, he was now fighting legal battles, depression and an eating disorder. He lost the Evander Holyfield fight, several close family members passed away, his depression worsened, he began drinking heavily, put on almost 200lb’s in weight, his lifestyle led him to almost dying in a diabetic coma. It would be six years before he fought again, and his career would never reach the same heights.

“Life is definitely harder than fighting Tyson.” – James “Buster” Douglas

There will be no movies made about his depression, weight gain, relationships or legal problems. The front page of newspapers will never show photos of the tears, the sleepless nights, the funerals, or the empty bottles. You won’t hear the eerie beep of the EKG machine, the murmous of his concerned loved ones or his thoughts of suicide or self-loathing.

Fortunately for Buster Douglas, he was able to overcome that time in his life and continue to live for another three decades, although I’m sure not without further challenges. 

But there are important lessons to be learned from the Buster Douglas story.

Firstly, the biggest battles you face will probably go largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. Despite what we see in the movies, you won’t overcome life’s toughest challenges and be met with trumpets, confetti and a giant cheque. Most of the time it will be back to business as usual. 

Because of this, it’s really important to stop and smell the roses, to celebrate small victories, be kind to yourself, and all manner of other sayings which people post on Instagram but never seem to take seriously. Rewarding yourself for overcoming life’s challenges is an important way to correct the perspectival imbalance that media has on your psyche.

Thirdly, your achievements don’t define you. Sure, they give you goals, structure and meaning, but at the end of the day there are always going to be things outside of your control: your health, your resources, your responsibilities to others, even the amount of time in a day. It’s important to constantly remember that the image you see from others is not their life. I once saw a couple arguing in a park, almost at the point of screaming. The woman pulled out her phone, mid-argument, to take a selfie, they both smiled and hugged for a brief second as the photo was taken, then let go of each other and went back to arguing. 

In Zen Buddhism there is something called Shoshin, which is usually translated as “Beginners Mind.” Shoshin means looking at things with fresh eyes, curiosity, and openness, even when dealing with something at an advanced level. When we face either challenges or triumphs in life, we never really know where it’s going to lead, for better or worse. It’s important not to get too carried away with our ideas about how things are or how they should be – because ultimately, we never really know. 

So, if everyone is potentially going through hardships that we don’t see, what’s the best way to deal with that? Not just for them, but for you, the relationship between you, and for communities at large. Well, it’s simple enough – compassion. Suffering might be a bitter pill to swallow but sharing that suffering with someone else will at least make it bitter-sweet.

People are quietly overcoming the biggest challenges of their lives every single day, and just going on as if nothing ever happened. We tend to highlight our other more tangible and socially acceptable accomplishments (graduations, birthdays, promotions at work etc.). I’m not saying we need to change all of our systems of rewards overnight – or give everyone a participation medal for that matter – but words of encouragement and appreciation cost us nothing and go a long way. 

Remember that to struggle does not make you weak, it makes you human. And if you believe otherwise, then do me a favour and go tell that to Buster Douglas.

52 Michael Singer Quotes from The Surrender Experiment & The Untethered Soul

Michael A. Singer Quotes

Imagine this scene. 

You’re in a rigorous PhD program at a respected university, and suddenly and unexpectedly you have a spiritual awakening experience that completely changes how you see the universe. 

Instead of being driven by a mind full of preferences and opinions, you decide to let go and let the intelligence of the universe guide your life. Before long you’ve devoted your life to meditation and yoga, and you’ve been moved to live in the woods. This intelligence leads you to more insights and awakenings, and eventually back to the busy world of business where you found a Medical company that merges with WebMD and becomes a billion-dollar enterprise.

Crazy story? Sounds like something out of a movie. Well, it happened to Michael Singer. He went on to write two very popular books, The Untethered Soul (2007) and The Surrender Experiment (2015).

The Untethered Soul was the first bestselling book from Michael Singer. It was a more general book about the nature of mind, self and life, and drew heavily from yogic philosophy. Eventually, this book caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, which exploded its popularity and resulted in international exposure for Singer.

In 2015 Singer released The Surrender Experiment, a much more personal first-hand account of his journey with yoga, meditation, life and business. The themes in this book overlap greatly with The Untethered Soul, and there is an emphasis on surrendering to whatever happens in life without resistance. Spiritual autobiographies have a long history, and Singer has mentioned that Philip Kapleau’s book, The Three Pillars of Zen, as well as Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, were influential in his life and writing. 

There is a consistency between the themes explored by Singer and other modern spiritual teachers who draw from traditional wisdom paths such as Zen and Advaita Vedanta. However, though topics such as ego, surrender and spiritual practice, are touched on, the honesty of Singer’s experience makes his work honest and palatable.

Here are 52 quotes from Michael Singer from The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment!

The Untethered Soul Quotes

“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“Instead of being encouraged to feel completely protected, loved, honored, and respected by the Divine Force, you’ve been taught that you’re being judged. Because you’ve been taught that, you feel guilt and fear. But guilt and fear do not open your connection to the Divine; they only serve to close your heart. The reality is that God’s way is love, and you can see this for yourself.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“There is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“We are constantly trying to hold it all together. If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Acceptance means events can make it through you without resistance.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“The most important thing in life is your inner energy. If you’re always tired and never enthused, then life is no fun. But if you’re always inspired and filled with energy, then every minute of every day is an exciting experience. Learn to work with these things. Through meditation, through awareness and willful efforts, you can learn to keep your centers open. You do this by just relaxing and releasing.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“The psyche is built upon avoiding this pain, and as a result, it has fear of pain as its foundation. That is what caused the psyche to be. To understand this, notice that if the feeling of rejection is a major problem for you, you will fear experiences that cause rejection. That fear will become part of your psyche.”- Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you truly love someone, your love sees past their humanness” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Your eyes are not really windows through which you look out into the world. Your eyes are cameras that send electronic images of the world into you.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself  

“The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You really don’t need more time before death; what you need is more depth of experience during the time you’re given.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You don’t fight the mind. In fact, you don’t even try to change it. You just make a game out of relaxing in the face of its melodrama.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“What if you knew that the next person you’d see would be the last person you would ever see? You’d be right there soaking it in, experiencing it. It wouldn’t matter what they were saying; you’d just enjoy hearing the words because it would be the last conversation you’d ever have. What if you brought that kind of awareness to every conversation?” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Death changes everything in a flash. That’s the reality of the situation. If all these things can be changed in an instant, then maybe they aren’t so real after all.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

Michael Singer on How To Seperate The Voice In Your Head From The Real You

“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Eventually you will see that the real cause of the problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“You gain nothing by being bothered by life’s events. It doesn’t change the world; you just suffer. There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there. This mental manipulation of the outer experience allows you to buffer reality as it comes in.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Fear is the cause of every problem. It’s the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger, jealousy, and possessiveness. If you had no fear, you could be perfectly happy living in this world.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“Imagine if you used relationships to get to know other people, rather than to satisfy what is blocked inside of you. If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult. If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based upon what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with—and so are you. Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“It’s actually a shocking realization when you first notice that your mind is constantly talking. You might even try to yell at it in a feeble attempt to shut it up. But then you realize that’s the voice yelling at the voice:” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

“When you feel pain, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of your consciousness. Then relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release. Relax your heart until you are actually face-to-face with the exact place where it hurts. Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper. This is very deep growth and transformation. But you will not want to do this. You will feel tremendous resistance to doing this, and that’s what makes it so powerful. As you relax and feel the resistance, the heart will want to pull away, to close, to protect, and to defend itself. Keep relaxing. Relax your shoulders and relax your heart. Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you. It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself 

Michael Singer On How To Free Yourself From Negative Thoughts

The Surrender Experiment Quotes

“Each of us actually believes that things should be the way we want them, instead of being the natural result of all the forces of creation.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I was not in charge, yet life continued to unfold as if it knew just what it was doing.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“That was the essence of my experiment with life: if it’s down to a matter of preference—life wins.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Just kept letting go and practicing nonresistance, whether I liked what was happening or not.”  – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“At some point there’s no more struggle, just the deep peace that comes from surrendering to a perfection that is beyond your comprehension.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“No matter who we are, life is going to put us through the changes we need to go through. The question is: Are we willing to use this force for our transformation? I saw that even very intense situations don’t have to leave psychological scars, if we are willing to process our changes at a deeper level.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection  

“It seems as though life knew exactly what it was doing, and as usual, my mind knew nothing.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

Michael Singer on Why We Are Afraid of Change

“Instead of trying to free myself by constantly quieting the mind, perhaps I should be asking why the mind is so active. What is in the motivation behind all the mental chatter? If that motivation was to be removed, the struggle would be over.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I could see that the practice of surrender was actually done in two, very distinct steps: first, you let go of the personal reactions of like and dislike that form inside your mind and heart; and second, with the resultant sense of clarity, you simply look to see what is being asked of you by the situation unfolding in front of you.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“How could I possibly explain the great freedom that comes from realizing to the depth of your being that life knows what it’s doing?” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Time and again I was seeing that if I could handle the winds of the current storm, they would end up blowing in some great gift…Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Clearly remember deciding that from now on if life was unfolding in a certain way, and the only reason I was resisting it was because of a personal preference, I would let go of my preference and let life be in charge.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“My formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results. Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Because I had inwardly surrendered each step of the way, no scars were left of my psyche. It had been like writing on water – the impressions only lasted while the events were actually taking place.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“There was not much I could do but let go of my reaction.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

“I am so grateful that surrender had taught me to willingly participate in life’s dance with a quiet mind and an open heart.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Am I better off making up an alternate reality in my mind and then fighting with reality to make it be my way, or am I better off letting go of what I want and serving the same forces of reality that managed to create the entire perfection of the universe around me?” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection 

“Surrender – what an amazingly powerful world. It often engenders the thought of weakness and cowardice. In my case, it required all the strength I had to be brave enough to follow the invisible into the unknown.” – Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection

39 Jordan Peterson Quotes on Life, Love, Good, and Evil

Jordan Peterson Quotes

There’s something that our culture has largely failed to digest.

It’s a fact that has enormous potential for both your well being as an individual and our good as a society as a whole.

And it’s not that we haven’t noticed it, but it’s certainly something we have yet to truly understand.

That is, the real potential for YouTube to transform the next generation.

See, while two-dimension cultural narratives would say that we, as young people, are simply a bunch of video game playing, funny cat videos watching, silly meme-sharing entertainment-addicts (which we partially are), a look at the facts would differ.

If we follow the rise of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a psychology lecturer out of the University of Toronto, we may see a different story.

Dr. Peterson’s views have been heralded by some as controversial, but I’m not interested in that aspect of his fame. I was drawn to the fact that he went from being a relative unknown lecturer with a few thousand followers to a popular public figure with over a million YouTube followers. And this is all in less than two years.

I attended one of Dr. Peterson’s talks a few months ago, when he was on a book took in Australia, and I was fascinated by two things.

Firstly, this is a man who is giving complex lectures about Carl Jung, the Soviet Union and the nature of truth – and millions are watching. This is high-level academia, and it’s now both accessible and sought after by enough people to fill a small country. It turns out the masses aren’t so simple-minded after all.

Secondly, the audience at the talk was almost overwhelmingly young men, looking for meaning in their lives. Peterson frequently lectures about depression (his family has a long history), and I’m sure many of those in the audience had experiences with mental illness. They were more engaged than I’ve seen in any university lecture, and it seemed his ideas were giving their lives meaning and direction.

There are a lot of things I agree with Dr. Peterson on, and his talks particular around mythology inspired me to read a dozen or so books related to Jungian psychology. One thing I don’t agree with is his (apparent) perspective on meditation, though I think that his stance is probably from a lack of knowledge and experience rather than any ulterior motive.

His words have a certain depth that reveal a deep look into human nature, not in a way dissimilar to that of Viktor Frankl. His perspective has obviously been coloured by his experiences of depression, and it sometimes makes for terrifying reading.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Good and Evil

“I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”

“You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.”

“No tree can grow to Heaven,” adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, “unless its roots reach down to Hell.”

Having studied Soviet Russia and the evils of communism for many years, Peterson has developed an attitude that some would call hyper-realist. There is however always a spark of optimism, as he emphasise personal autonomy and responsibility, working first on yourself, before trying to save the world.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Truth

“If you don’t say what you think then you kill your unborn self.”

“We have to rediscover the eternal values and then live them out.”

“Without Christianity, and its emphasis on truth at all costs, science would never have come about.”

“That’s another hallmark of truth, is that it snaps things together. People write to me all the time and say it’s as if things were coming together in my mind. It’s like the Platonic idea that all learning was remembering. You have a nature, and when you feel that nature articulated, it’s like the act of snapping the puzzle pieces together.”

“If you don’t stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backwards.”

“We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world. We must each tell the truth and repair what is in disrepair and break down and recreate what is old and outdated.”

“What path are you on?..Some of you is dark and some of you is light..get rid of the darkness and then you’re on the path of light.. What will happen to you when you’re on the path of light? The best that can happen to you.it might not not be easy…easy and best aren’t the same thing.”

“The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off because they’re 95% deadwood.”

“So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.”

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Understanding

“What is your friend: the things you know, or the things you don’t know. First of all, there’s a lot more things you don’t know. And second, the things you don’t know is the birthplace of all your new knowledge! So if you make the things you don’t know your friend, rather than the things you know, well then you’re always on a quest in a sense. You’re always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with you will tell you something you couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated.”

“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”

“When you start to realise how much you of what you’ve constructed of yourself is based on deception and lies, that is a horrifying realisation.”

“We don’t understand the world. I do think the world is more like a musical masterpiece than it is like anything else. And things are oddly connected.”

“If you have a comprehensive explanation for everything then it decreases uncertainty and anxiety and reduces your cognitive load. And if you can use that simplifying algorithm to put yourself on the side of moral virtue then you’re constantly a good person with a minimum of effort.”

Peterson has often said that he is high in trait empathy and openness. This is partially why I am attracted to his ideas, as well as those of Jung, as we share a similar temperament. Looking at what you don’t know is therefore always an opportunity for growth, change, and increased connectedness.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Life

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.”

“Specify your damn goals because how are you going to hit something if you don’t know what it is?”

“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.”

“You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse).”

“If your life isn’t everything it could be..[stop] wasting all of the opportunities that are in front of you.”

“Life without law remains chaotic, effectively intolerable. Life that is pure law becomes sterile, equally unbearable. The domination of chaos or sterility equally breeds murderous resentment and hatred.”

Peterson’s ideas may be complex, but his advice for life is surprisingly simple; start small and start with yourself, take on as much responsibility you can bear, and aim straight at a goal before being willing to discard it for the next one.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Suffering

“There are many systems of interaction between brain, body and social world that can get caught in positive feedback loops. Depressed people, for example, can start feeling useless and burdensome, as well as grief-stricken and pained. This makes them withdraw from contact with friends and family. Then the withdrawal makes them more lonesome and isolated, and more likely to feel useless and burdensome. Then they withdraw more. In this manner, depression spirals and amplifies.”

“Some people degenerate into the hell of resentment and the hatred of Being, but most refuse to do so, despite their suffering and disappointments and losses and inadequacies and ugliness, and again that is a miracle for those with the eyes to see it.”

“Life is suffering, and suffering can make you resentful, murderous, and then genocidal, if you take it far enough. So you need an antidote to suffering. And maybe you think that you can build walls of luxury around yourself, and that that will protect you from the suffering. Good luck with that.”

“Any perceptible alteration in heart-rate can trigger thoughts both of heart attack and an all-too-public and embarrassing display of post-heart attack distress and suffering (death and social humiliation constituting the two most basic fears).

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Love

“We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued.”

“I learned two very important lessons from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss depth psychologist, about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “loving your neighbour as yourself.” The first lesson was that neither of these statements has anything to do with being nice. The second was that both are equations, rather than injunctions. If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that? It is much better for any relationship when both partners are strong.”

“Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.”

It’s normal that we would equate love with respect, and therefore self-love is a natural byproduct of self-respect. To earn self-respect, we must take on responsibility. I would add that love is also related to attention, and therefore to place attention on bettering yourself is an act of self-love.

Jordan Peterson Quotes on Responsibility

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.”

“It’s in responsibility that most people find the meaning that sustains them through life. It’s not in happiness. It’s not in impulsive pleasure.”

“Consciousness is a mystery that faces the mystery of potential and transforms it into actuality. We do that with every choice we make. Our choices determine the destiny of the world. By making a choice, you alter the structure of reality.”

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”

“If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.”

“You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.”

“One of the things that the Hindus do in relationship to Kali, is offer sacrifices. So you can say, well why would you offer sacrifices to something you’re afraid of. And it’s because that is what you do, that’s always what you do. You offer up sacrifices to the unknown in the hope that good things will happen to you.

“One example is that you’re worried about your future. Maybe you’re worried about your job, or who you’re going to marry, or your family, there’s a whole category of things to be worried about, so you’re worried about your future. SO what’re you doing in university? And the answer is you’re sacrificing your free time in the present, to the cosmos so to speak, in the hope that if you offer up that sacrifice properly, the future will smile upon you.”

I hope you liked this post. To learn more, check out this list of books Jordan Peterson has recommended on his blog and in his interviews.