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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Four Factors for Life Success


Starting c. 6:52 in this clip, Professor Jordan Peterson names four factors that taken together are good predictors of life success:

  • IQ, or general cognitive ability
  • Conscientiousness (or "grit")
  • Freedom from negative emotion (aka "low autoeroticism")
  • Openness to experience

I read long ago that IQ (as measured) can be increased by doing more problem-solving, and is also influenced by early mental stimulation; though presumably there is some limit. Perhaps it is is more easily crushed than developed?

I should think that conscientiousness and openness to experience can also be systematically encouraged.

But all of these won't result in much happiness if negative feelings about oneself are not tackled. Where do they start - nature or nurture? - and how if at all can they be corrected? Otherwise, even if the other traits are pronounced, we have the equivalent of a high-performance car steered by a crazy driver.

I read that efforts to boost self-esteem tend to result in narcissism; so are they pointless, or just the wrong kind of intervention?

UPDATE (8 Jan 18, htp "JD"):

Peterson offers answers to the emotional side:

"Peterson draws on reams of studies to show that fundamental changes to personal habits such as sleep and exercise schedules can dramatically improve serotonin levels, thereby increasing the chance of personal success and fulfilment. From there he draws in stories from world mythology and religious texts to show that humans derive great meaning from overcoming psychological and social obstacles."


Paddington said...

From the little that I know, IQ is reduced a lot by under-stimulation, probably more than it can be increased.

Sackerson said...

Yes, I thought I'd read that, too. Is there generally available advice for parents on how to provide stimulation in the very early years?

Sackerson said...

JD says:

Here is Peterson's lobster explained in The Star of all places -

And here is Gary Lachman's article about Peterson -

Lachman used to be bass player for Blondie but is now a writer and has produced a lot of books, I have one called "Lost Knowledge of the Imagination" which is very good. He is, in my view, a lot more intelligent than Peterson.

I think Peterson lacks imagination and is too confrontational. The row about gender pronouns is an example; his argument against the idea is based on logic. But the other side's argument is also strictly logical so both sides have absolute belief in their conclusions. Being confrontational is never going to resolve that but a bit of imagination and humour will help by saying there is a perfectly good gender neutral word already in our language - "it" Perfect! Use that word and the other side has to think and invent another argument to support their idea.

And note that it is an English language problem, in Spain they use the word "su" and have done for centuries. They use it all the time!

I could go on indefinitely but I would refer to Peterson's rules of life in his book as described by Lachman "As I followed Peterson through his rules – I leave the reader to discover them if they haven’t already – it struck me that they all emerge from what we can see as his own Golden Rule #6 in the book: Set your house in perfect order before criticising the world.15 If you want to change the world, the best place to start is with yourself"

Now that is interesting because 'to change the world you must first change yourself' was one of the hippy counterculture slogans in the sixties but it is much much older than that. The idea behind it is that man is a microcosm and the universe, the cosmos, is the macrocosm and the two are intrically related.

Otherwise known as quantum entanglement! Change the microcosm and you have changed the macrocosm! If you thought quantum theory was mind boggling then the old traditional wisdom was equally mind boggling.

Paddington said...

Peterson is so clearly autistic that he couldn't use humour. He is very like a friend on facebook, who constantly posts wikipedia pieces when I make jokes.

Paddington said...

Sackerson - the standing advice is to talk to them and read to them. Nothing complicated.