Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s 10 Step Guide to Clearer Thinking Through Essay Writing

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May 7, 2017

The other day I came across an innocuously titled Word document Dr. Jordan B. Peterson crafted to help his students write essays. It was linked in a comment from another thread, but can be found on the web with little effort.

As I read through the document, I was blown away. In all my experience over the past decade working and studying in English departments, JPB’s guide contains the most useful, practical advice on essay writing I’ve ever come across. Not only that, I was staggered by how casually he delivers deep wisdom and profound psychological insights.

JBP points out that essay writing is more than just a thing to do get grades in college. It’s a practical method for clarifying your thinking and learning to articulate yourself. This planet needs people (especially men) who are not only willing to enter into the chaotic fray of beliefs and ideologies, but who have the skill to articulate what matters most to them at all costs. At least this is a skill I’m trying to personally develop.

So I reposted Dr. Peterson's entire guide here to bring his method some visibility, and in the hopes that others might find it helpful.

Post Information
Title Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s 10 Step Guide to Clearer Thinking Through Essay Writing
Author yyiiii
Upvotes 688
Comments 95
Date 07 May 2017 04:38 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit TheRedPill
Link https://theredarchive.com/post/43067
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/comments/69s7kz/dr_jordan_b_petersons_10_step_guide_to_clearer/
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[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist78 points79 points  (25 children) | Copy

That's because it's his entire way of life!

First of all, this guy has an insane knowledge of both personality and the connection between stories and the human condition. He has, from this, deduced what he thinks is the historical understanding of "how to live your life."

And what he was able to learn from how we learn, being a teacher, is what he calls his "self authoring suite." Basically you write essays about yourself, with the intention to start changing your life or at least get perspective about changing your life by way of finding out where you are and where you want to go.

Add a bullet journal and get ready for a whole new you.

[–][deleted] 19 points20 points  (6 children) | Copy

That's because it's his entire way of life!

I read that in Peterson's voice.

[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist23 points24 points  (4 children) | Copy

And that was the end of that!

[–]lolsabha26 points27 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah? Well... NO! Think again, sunshine.

[–]_the_shape_6 points7 points  (1 child) | Copy

Probably my favorite line of his in the university debate against the SJWs.

[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

That's his goto besides "NOT GOOD."

[–]Urishima2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Is it Kermit or Peterson? Hard to tell sometimes.

[–]sorceryofthetesticle0 points1 point  (17 children) | Copy

Got sources for any o that?

[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist11 points12 points  (16 children) | Copy

Watch his videos, then search for "self authoring suite."

At the same time, start a bullet journal.

[–]CUMGUZZLER_90002 points3 points  (15 children) | Copy

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a bullet journal? Just a journal with bullet points?

[–]JackGetsIt9 points10 points  (13 children) | Copy


My two cents though is that using evernote or any online notetaking system is better. All of these systems come from the book Getting Things Done. https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Things-Done-Stress-Free-Productivity/dp/0142000280

Here's a guide on using evernote in a more systematic way.


[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist4 points5 points  (5 children) | Copy

Did you do a pen and paper one yet?

If you haven't, DO IT. TRUST ME.

[–]JackGetsIt4 points5 points  (4 children) | Copy

Yea. I've tried both and I just didn't have the consistency and discipline to do the BuJo. I did like the meditative component of it, but I was constantly losing it or not having it near me when I needed it. I also had a lot of anxiety because my Bujo had a lot of info about me and my finances/personal life and the more I used it the more it would be a shit show if I lost it or had it stolen. My Evernote links to my phone and I can check lists and save things very quickly and it's also secure and I don't have to worry about losing it.

[–]basedmattnigga77 points8 points  (3 children) | Copy

It seems like the bullet journal would drive me nuts. I've always thought the GTD approach was WAYYY too distracting from actual action, with all the new words and habits I'd have to develop.

I personally found a lot more freedom and productivity in Steve Chandler's non-linear approach to time/tasks. One of his favorite quotes is "if you want to be miserable, get yourself a future." -Byron Katie.

Steve teaches you to focus on one day, making it as effective and enjoyable as possible. I can honestly say my life has drastically improved since taking this advice. I've become a skilled craftsman and mechanic. Not because I set out to be those things, but because I followed my inner drives. It was effortless and I accomplished a lot, and it all felt right. I still have a day job, but I'm on my way to doing what I truly love to do full time.

So if the GTD tech distracts you, give Chandler a shot. You may like what you find. (His book Time Warrior is great for personal productivity. And his 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself is available in its entirety on YouTube at the moment)

[–]JackGetsIt1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks. I did find that both the BuJo and my evernote system sucks me into over analyzing and over planning my future (habit tracker took me forever to make and then I could barely keep up with all my new 'habits' I set for myself). I will look into Chandler.

[–]basedmattnigga70 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Awesome man. As soon as I read your comments I knew you'd probably dig it. Let us know what you think.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

First I've seen this. I'm all for pen and paper journaling but this system does feel complicated. I'll have to watch a couple more videos to see where all the pieces fit together.

[–]JackGetsIt1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

yea. It took me forever to set-up and I adapted some of it for my own uses; but fundamentally it's the same premise. Everything that's important needs saved and needs to be retrievable or it will be lost.

edit. Since the video was made Evernote has made some really crappy moves with it's online platform layout. I have to use the desktop version for everything because the online one is so unintuitive. There are lots of other messenger services out now since the 'secret weapon' video series was released. Google Keep or microsoft one note might work better but I'm already balls deep in evernote and can't leave it.

[–]PranksterLad0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy

Does this work, just watching the video now.. I use trello and kind of have the same system.

What does this system to, how does it handle emails?

[–]JackGetsIt0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

It's worked for me but I had some fits and starts and dropped it then came crawling back. You can't have it directly import all emails. Any email that has an actionable item or might have info you need you forward to your actions pending box (there's a email link that evernote gives you to import notes) and then when you get a chance that day you plow through you actions pending and either tag and archive or put them into a level of urgency. I had to watch every video like twice and I also had to use the desktop version to make it work. It's impossible with the web browser version. If you don't spend a lot of time near a desktop or a laptop it might not be the best system for you.

How do you like trello?

[–]PranksterLad0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

The system I use on trello has changed my life. Your system sounds wayyyy too complicated and to be honest unncessary. Here, I will copy and paste the trello system I found and implemented:

[–]JackGetsIt0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks. I just glanced at it. It looks like a good task system but can I save links and documents with it?

[–]PranksterLad0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah ofcourse you can, you click on each individual task and attach documents and links... take notes, thats what I use it for.

[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Too much to talk about, google it.

[–]Rooibosisboss20 points21 points  (3 children) | Copy

I and a friend of mine have been watching his most recent Maps of Meaning lectures which I really recommend. Specifically this years course, it is filmed better and there is a true sense of urgency the way he speaks. It's scary how many times you "wake up" with some of the things he says. It's terrifying the stuff he is saying yet he still ultimately believes it can change, there is a sense of cautious optimism.

He has also come up is a Self Authoring technique to help people live a more goal oriented and successful life.

I did the Past Self Authoring one completely and it didn't help that much, I started the Present Self Authoring and I couldn't finish it. I just felt like I wasn't getting anything out of it.

So lastly I tried the Future Self Authoring and BAM, I could feel it helping. I did the first part of it and it has already started to really help just in clarifying what it is I want out of life.

Interesting to note as well, he was talking with a few other people about studies with the Self Authoring and they said that really you don't need to do all of them, that the benefits were seen as the same if you only did the one that works for you, so some people who did all 3 of the authorings saw about the same level of success as those who just did the Future authoring.

For me I'm pretty self aware of my past, of my shortcomings and my good virtues, so the past and present didn't do anything for me, but as I say, just in start and getting halfway through the Future and I already feel some major improvements.

[–]clonegreen4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy

Can you breakdown the future self authoring techniques?

[–]yyiiii[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

[–]Barvazon35 points36 points  (3 children) | Copy

There will be ANOTHER talk with Dr. Jordan and Joe Rogan tomorrow. Stay in tuned!

[–][deleted] 10 points11 points  (0 children) | Copy

WHAT!? I was JUST listened to the most recent one for the 2nd time just out of pure enjoyment of the conversation. You just made my fucking day, man.

[–]Stainedview131 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I'm pretty sure it's on Tuesday.

[–]pollodustino14 points15 points  (4 children) | Copy

I used to journal every night in a spiral bound notebook, and while I occasionally had long entries of two or three pages, I eventually got tired of writing, or my thoughts began to dissipate before I could get them all on paper.

I started journaling again last year, but in a Word document, and with a keyboard that was extremely comfortable to use. Just by doing that I was writing one or two full page pages in size 10 font, almost every night. Sometimes three. And I noticed that the day after I did so, my mind was clearer, and I felt more at-ease with both myself and the world. Even though I'm no longer doing it every night, despite thinking I should, I'm up to over 19,000 words and twenty-eight pages since starting last November. I construct each entry sort of like an essay, but each paragraph can stand on its own as a unique train of thought while tying into the rest. I find it incredibly cathartic to do it that way, since that's how my internal monologues (And external, since I talk to myself damn near constantly) tend to flow.

The few times I've basically just done monologuing and getting my thoughts out in front of somebody (My old teachers, my therapist, a newspaper reporter doing a story on me for my job) I've always been described as highly articulate, so there is definite validity to just Writing Shit Down in some sort of structured format. Hell, look at professional writers. Charles Bukowski, a sort of favorite around here, wrote poetry and stories in much of his spare time. Stephen King says he writes at least 2,000 words a day, and like him or not, he's pretty damn articulate.

However, just writing stuff down alone isn't going to reshape your modes of thinking. You have to do it in a style and structure that makes sense to both you AND someone else, even if it's never meant to be shared. I try to always consider how my writing would appear to someone if they managed to find and read my journals. Would it make sense? Would it flow? Would the ideas be easily understood? And would they enjoy reading it? By doing this, I also reinforce that style into my daily life and way of thinking, and hopefully improve my general communication skills. This is what you have to always keep in mind and strive for, even when just writing for yourself. The way I do it is by imagining how it would sound if spoken aloud. I find a lot of writing boring, and a lot of speech boring, simply because it doesn't sound good. If you can make it sound interesting, people will listen, regardless of what you're saying. And that's what gets you heard.

You might even hear yourself when you do it.

[–]ubermops2 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy

I just use blogger.com, and make a private blog. Now you can journal anywhere with an internet connection and access old entries. Add grammarly extension if you want to have grammer/spelk check on chrome. You can tag your posts or search key words to find old entries. Super useful after years of journaling.

[–]pollodustino0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I'm not a huge fan of online journals ever since a blog site I used to use went defunct (ModBlog) and took all my entries with it. I see the appeal of access from anywhere, but I just throw my Word file onto Dropbox for online access. I also like how I can do all kinds of extra things in Word, like bullets and adding images and extra word processing stuff. Sometimes I have a particular thing in mind, and even if it's just for me, it helps tickle my creativity and lets me practice my Word skills.

Not knocking the online version, it's just not my cup of tea. If it works for you that's great, keep using it. So long as you do it that's the important thing.

[–]ubermops0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Good point. I Never considered the possibility of loosing access. Blogger.com is owned by Alphabet I believe, so I think my entries will be safe for the time being.

[–]mymojoisdope points points [recovered] | Copy

I am diving deep into his recommended list of books. Just finished The Gulag Archipelago and I am now into The Kingdom of God is Within You. He stresses how it is important to obtain knowledge in order to gain power in negotiating and holyshit is he right.

[–]The-os22 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

What did you think of The Gulag Archipelago? I've heard him mention it at Rogan's podcast with the mention that it is a complicated book. I assume you still advice it?

[–]mymojoisdope points points [recovered] | Copy

It is complicated on the basis of gruesomeness. It is not a book you read before bed. References to Tolstoi and Shakespeare can make it difficult for some as an example..(i.e) his claim about evil and ideology. He references Iago and Macbeth. Some dots need to be connected. Highly advice it.

[–]The-os20 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Cool, I'll put it on the list. Thanks for advice.

[–]legitshitonly1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Nice. I can't wait to get into that stuff too especially the fiction. I'm glad that I haven't read much classic fiction yet because now I'll have a better basis for getting more out of it.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

How is The Kingdom of God is Within You?

[–]legitshitonly19 points20 points  (2 children) | Copy

This guy reminds me of Robert Langdon from Davinci Code series. I love it. Just started the 17 some odd lecture series on personality on youtube. Lecture one was literally the first day of class at University of Toronto Pysch 230. He had a link to his website up with a syllabus and everything. I'm thinking about ordering that selected readings book and basically auditing the course. All at my own pace too.

Can't beleive this stuff is free

[–]hunter2hunter2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Omg yes. Totally agree on Langdon.

[–]Johnnyvile9 points10 points  (1 child) | Copy

These are the helpful kinds of posts I like to read on here. Things that can help us become smarter, better thinking men. Not just some guy that finally got laid trying to tell everyone how to do it.

[–]Z33ger14 points15 points  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks for sharing that.

Another resource readers might find useful for achieving coherence:


"How To Make Our Ideas Clear" by C.S. Peirce

[–]waking-life7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

Quite similar to the Stoic practice of daily writing to help meditate on and understand life. A lot of stoics keep a journal to help them reflect on life.

"Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, the most powerful man on earth, sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility."

The Subreddit Stoicism is worth checking out for anyone who hasn't.

[–]Unlucky_Leader5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy

I was fortunate enough to get a free version of his self-authoring future vision suite. I did it over this past weekend by luck and it's amazing/wonderful for setting up goals.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Doesn't he have a whole site dedicated to it? I also have a youtube video saved for later where he walks through at least some of it. Damn, I really need to get to that...

[–]enhoel5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

Kerrigan's Writing to the Point is pretty amazing and worth taking a look at if you treasure instruction on methods of clear writing.

[–]the_Concluder4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

Thanks for sharing bro . I also wanted to cultivate skill of essay writing not merely for grades but to develop clarity of thought and specificity.

[–]ZodoLeeka5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is genius, I too often avoid talking about my ideologies and beliefs cause I don't think I have them completely figured out. Writing essays would require me to be clear on what I believe.

Jordan Peterson has a lot of great wisdom to share.

[–]2johnnight3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

JBP has some interesting TRP-related thoughts about dominance hierarchies and women.

[–]asymptotic_salvation4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

On an unrelated note, OP: is it wise to post links to your personal page on TRP?

[–]christianlazard7 points8 points  (7 children) | Copy

Why is this professor getting so much attention recently?

[–]yuube21 points22 points  (0 children) | Copy

He stood up against some of the crazy liberal feminist types and does so in a very sensible relatable way.

[–]ranoutofthrowaways216 points17 points  (1 child) | Copy

He said it's wrong make it the law to abide by someone's pronouns because messes with freedom of speech. Ie. If a non-binary person asks you to call them they/them. He argued that if he doesn't know the person, why should he have to give them respect? He also said if someone asked nicely, he'd use their pronouns, but feels that it's dumb to make that the law. Then, a shit ton of SJWs went batshit, he got gained a ton of popularity, and all his wisdom on YouTube came to light

[–]whocaresguy1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

streisand effect at its fullest

[–]comptejete15 points16 points  (0 children) | Copy

Apart from his open opposition to Bill C-16 in Canada, he's an informed voice of reason in a sea of brainwashed academia. This recent talk is worth watching if you want to see him articulate his position.

[–]Jamazu9 points10 points  (1 child) | Copy

It was a protest of his stance on Bill C-16 in Canada where SmugglyPuff was born.

He claims the attention he's gained lately is indicative that he embodies a viewpoint that we've unconsciously yearned for as a culture. IMO An articulate and charming sage who's willing to question, ridicule, and deconstruct the PC bullshit, proverbially slap us upside the head for our arrogance and idiocy, and even give credit where it's due for what the state and traditional values have to offer.

[–]Andramoiennepe4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yes, he is a Socratic gadfly, stinging us awake from our ignorant slumber.

[–]maciejczyk2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

This is amazing and it blown my mind. Thank you very mucn.

[–]Trustedflipper81 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I personally Love Dr. Peterson he is a really good teacher and i watch his lectures all the time

[–]Hviterev0 points1 point  (7 children) | Copy

What the fuck. Saved this to read it later and now it has been removed? Come on OP, 622 up votes, your feelings were offended by someone who disagreed with you? Fuck.

[–]yyiiii[S] 0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

Dude what are you talking about? Nothing has been removed. Are you ok?

[–]Hviterev1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

The content of your post is [removed] to me. That's weird. Sorry then, I guess it's not your fault? I'll check if it is on my end.

[–]AvatarStinky0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

Your post has been removed. When a mod deletes your post or comment then to the poster everything seems normal. Nobody else can see it however (all I see is [removed]). Your post has been deleted probably due to not meeting the posting guidelines.

[–]yyiiii[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Seriously? Wouldn't I be notified by mods if I've broken some rule?

[–]AvatarStinky0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy


I found your post useful, however while the content is good it does break the rules:

Rule Zero: Stay on Topic TRP's mission is to discuss men's identity, sexual strategy, and options in the context of our current global culture for the benefit of men. Anyone who does not share that goal will be banned the instant we detect them. We are not interested in debating or defending our experiences to those who disagree with the red pill, nor do we want to clog up our threads defending the morality of our choices.

Since you didn't intentionally break the rules, I believe that they just deleted your content instead of banning you (I can still see your username; if you were banned then your name would appear as [deleted]).

[–]yyiiii[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Thanks for this. The content is extremely useful for men, and JPB attracts an audience that is 90% men. Now correlation is not causation but he fact that it got so much traction in his sub, to me, validates its appropriateness.

That and it was un-deleted by a mod this morning.

Peace brother!

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

JP's twitter link to the essay template is producing an error. Can someone else provide a link to the document please?

[–]yyiiii[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

The link to the document is in my post. I also posted it on twitter in response to the his tweet with broken link

[–]Homebummingit0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Don't need no stinking pencil for lucid thought! https://youtu.be/R1PMKJpR8Q8

[–]1ncom14 points15 points  (1 child) | Copy

When you are taking notes, don’t bother doing stupid things like highlighting or underlining sentences in the textbook. There is no evidence that it works. It just looks like work. What you need to do is to read for understanding.

Found point about stupidity of markering just read lines in guide source and instantly remembered my classmates with dozens of color markers and rainbow sheets on every lections. They spend so much time for coloring, instead of trying to really understand what they read.

There are another blog on custom writing service, which newcomer authors may find useful, especially articles that focusing on argumentative essay writing and gcse course works.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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