[March 17, 2021] I’m reminded today of an old U.S. Army recruiting slogan from the mid-1980s; “Be all you can be.”1 The commercial series was one of the Army’s best. Great stuff. It worked beginning in folks into the military. As regular readers of my leadership blog know, my works are influenced by many; one such person is Dr. Jordan Peterson. He once said, “You should be better than you are, but it’s not because you’re worse than other people. It’s because you’re not everything you should be.” He and I share a similar philosophy, although I admit he has done a much better job at it. I know that we must face the demands of our lives voluntarily and respond to the challenge. In his newest book, Dr. Peterson, a clinical psychologist, and professor shows us that he is one of the most impressive moralists of our century. This book is the companion to his earlier book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, 2018.
Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, Jordan B. Peterson, 2021
Dr. Jordan Peterson’s recent book “Beyond Order” is a companion to his earlier book “12 Rules for Life.” You will not need to read 12 Rules to understand Beyond Order, but it helps. While his first book focused on defeating chaos in its various forms, the second explores the dangers of excessive order. Dr. Peterson pushes us. He forces us to confront our lives and to understand our meaning of life. 12 Rules answers perennial questions of life: Should we seek happiness in life or responsibility? Is true romance possible? How can we be grateful despite our suffering? Peterson works through these successfully by using insights from his private clinical practice, mythological traditions, children’s literature, art history, and the Bible.
There are three primary, consistent points from Dr. Peterson. First, life is suffering. Evil and suffering are real, and this a fact we must face. We must face the fact that we are fighting a war within; the malevolent and the good. Second, you must become responsible for your suffering. Our culture provides us with “limiting disciplines” to train for this, usually in the form of moral codes. Beware of hiding things in the fog. Do this by admitting your feelings, especially those that are uncomfortable feelings of anger and pain. Third, by accepting your suffering voluntarily, you will be able to transcend it. As Peterson notes, you are not just you. You are also St. George, who slays the dragon.
In an article by Josh Christenson from the Free Beacon, he notes that Peterson uses a “unique carrot-and-stick approach” to counseling his readers. “Pick up the extra weight,” Peterson says. And if you cannot shoulder your burden yet, aim a little bit lower. “Your life becomes meaningful in precise proportion to the depths of the responsibility you are willing to shoulder.” Sound familiar? For those who doubt the efficacy of these 12 rules, a ready supply of testimonies are included. Like his first book, this is not an easy read but imminently worth the time and effort.
This book is highly recommended.
To go to the complete Professional Reading list, click on this direct link: www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list/
Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog. His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here: https://militaryreadinglists.com/map
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpmgPuidFb4 (YouTube video, 0:30 seconds)