Compare Yourself to Yourself (summary of chapter 4 of “12 Rules for Life” by Dr. Peterson)

Image result for jordan peterson 12 rules

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
~ Dr. Jordan B Peterson

My blog is on its way to becoming a commentary of my life as it has been affected by Jordan Peterson. His understanding of human nature hits life’s problems right on the head. His solutions are so helpful and his reasoning and wisdom go far deeper than any general self-help book.

In his book, “12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos” Peterson writes the above quote and dedicates an entire chapter to it. Of the 12 Rules that Peterson covers (each one full of wisdom and necessity), this is one that has impacted me the most.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

Your life, your situation, is unique among the billions of people on the planet, and the trillions of lives that have been lived through history. Comparing yourself to others is not only unhelpful, it is simply unreasonable. It is unreasonable, not only because your situation is unique, but because there are so many playing fields, and while someone might surpass you in a few of those playing fields, the probability that they triumph in all playing fields is close to nil.

I’ve joked to myself that there are 3 kinds of people in the world.

a. People I admire and want to be like
b. People I admire in some specific aspects
c. and people that I like, but don’t wish to be like

(I guess it’s funny to me because I like people, and liking every stranger on a regular day is my normal, and that’s funny to me.)

I’m finding that more and more of the people that I had previously placed in category a have been moved to category b, because as I grew to know them better, I learned that not every aspect of their life was admirable or desirable. It’s amazing how almost everyone has weaknesses! And I’ve found that many people who I had placed in category b, with specific aspects that I admire, perhaps fitness or attractiveness, I have now seen what was sacrificed in other areas of their life, things I cannot or will not sacrifice, and so they are now in category c. I like them, but I don’t wish to be like them.

More productive than comparing myself to others is comparing myself to who I was yesterday. I want to be growing. I don’t believe anyone is truly stagnant. If you aren’t growing in character and maturity, you are still growing in age, and that means you are sinking in character as compared to your age and experiences. I always want to be growing in proportion to my age. I want to be a little better than who I was yesterday.

Peterson recommends 3 questions to ask every day.

1. What bothers me about my life? (Or, what needs to change?)
2. Could I do something about that?
3. Would I honestly do something about that?

We are not our own slaves. We must negotiate with ourselves as if we were valued employees; we must make it worth it to ourselves to do said task. If we set too large of a goal — it won’t get done. What can you do today, and what will you do today? What would make it worth it to you to do that? For me, just sitting on Pinterest with a cup of coffee is a great reward. If I reward myself well, pay myself for the work I put in, I’m more likely to keep working. Think: valued employee, not servant.

If the answer is “no” to any of the 3 questions, aim smaller. Once you’ve done this thing, reward yourself whatever you promised yourself. Don’t punish yourself by making yourself do more work.

As you improve, just a little every day, you will inevitably aim higher and higher. By starting small and gaining momentum, you set yourself up for success in greater things.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

 

With love,
Ellie

Advertisements

Conversations About Life Podcast: featuring Me and Jonny

My father has started a podcast called “Conversations About Life.” As his first guest, I feel very honored!

I think the podcast is off to a great start and I had an enjoyable time talking about my courtship along with Jonny.

Click the signature to go to the podcast, or the link is below.

https://willjackson.com/a-newly-married-couple-discuss-their-courtship/

Days that Drag

Did you know that adults who have prescribed medications, of those who get their medications filled, 70-75 percent admit to not taking them as prescribed, meaning they skip doses, take less than the recommended amount, or stop taking them sooner than instructed. We are better at giving our dogs constant medication than we are ourselves. The main problem is that we aren’t taking care of ourselves because a lot of people don’t really like who they are.

Jordan Peterson, (my mentor and inspiration in a lot of ways,) pointed this out with the encouragement to treat ourselves and negotiate with ourselves as we would with a dear friend. Because the slave driver mentality isn’t working. We aren’t our own slaves, we have to be encouraged and negotiated with.

I have a lot of days, more than I’d like to admit, when I simply get out started on the wrong foot, days when I’ve spent too much time watching a video or playing a game and find myself rushed, disorganized, frustrated, and most of all lazy.

I used to hate myself on these days. I used to despair thinking that a productive life-style wasn’t in me, and that I was lazy forever.

But since hearing Jordan Peterson, I decided it was only fair to myself to give myself the advice I would give to my best friend, the person I care most about, because that is probably the advice most helpful.

If your friend had just had the day you had, what would you say to them?

“Yeah, today sucked, but the rest of your week has been great, and you can finish strong. You were lazy all day, but you can use the rest you got today to get things done tomorrow. Besides having this bad day, this week has been better than last week, and that’s your goal. Just make every week better than your last.

“Just be growing. If you aren’t growing as fast as you want, don’t be discouraged, none of us are who we want to be. But as long as you’re growing, you’re okay.”

“Tomorrow, don’t start like you did today. Don’t get your phone, because you know you don’t really want to start like that. Start by taking a moment to thank God for the day and for your life, and that will set you up for the day you want and the mindset you need to have.”

 

Sincerely,
Ellie

 

Married half a year – how I’m a different person

Greetings to my greatly neglected readers. I could apologize day and night for not writing, but the truth is, my life is very good right now, and all of the good has kept me very busy and preoccupied, and I’m not sorry for that.

I have been going through a lot of growth, as I suppose most newly-weds do, and I have longed to share what I’ve been through (little as it is) and also log my progress.

April 7th I married my best friend. Jonny has shown me so much grace in our 6+ months of marriage, simply by his unconditional love. I admire him so much, and seeing how he loves me is still overwhelming at times. In fact, now that we’ve been together half a year and I know he has seen these sinful sides of me, I can’t even convince myself that he’s in love with a fake version of me. He knows me better than anyone else could, and he still loves me. How amazing is that?

And I know God knows me deeper and more intimately than Jonny ever can, and yet Christ gave his life to redeem me. I can’t say enough about this, but I can’t find words to express this.

Aside from this spiritual walk, I have grown in life style changes. I’ve always been encouraged by my dad and my family to eat healthily, exercise, keep my space clean, and honestly, I didn’t follow their lead very well. But once I was married, in my own home, I realized Jonny wasn’t going to enforce this for me. Jonny is very kind and easy-going. He hasn’t asked me to change at all, and I love him for that. But I knew that I wanted to be better. I didn’t want to wake up at the last minute, throw a doughnut in my mouth, and dash out the door to work. I didn’t want to spend hours on my phone and not get my dishes done. I really didn’t want to feel tired all day, and believe me, a few months ago, I was SO tired ALL day.

1st – I cut out what was getting in my way. I wasted way too much time on my phone doing meaningless tasks. I ate foods that I didn’t really like, but they were convenient, and they didn’t give me energy or make me feel good. I examined activities, events, and habits that were hindering who I wanted to be.
(Disclaimer right here: don’t think I’m super self-willed. I still struggle with all of these things, but it did help to identify them. I haven’t made progress since last week, it’s true, but you bet I’ve made progress in the past few months! I’m in it for the long-haul, and having made this much progress, I am inspired not to lose it!)

2nd – I identified 4 areas I would especially like to work on.

  • Health and Diet
  • Time Management
  • Budgeting
  • Self-Growth

3rd – I made goals. I needed goals that were EASY, just a step ahead of what I was doing at the time. Because I know myself too well. If the goals were daunting, they would never get done. At the same time, I needed goals that would show me some progress, because I knew that would give me motivation to continue.

  1. Learn a new healthy recipe each week and make it. One of my problems with eating healthy foods was not knowing how to make it, so this helps!
  2. Exercise 10 minutes 4 days a week. 10 minutes isn’t a lot. It’s hard to make excuses for not squeezing in 10 minutes of time. And I knew I’d increase the time later on.
  3. Write down 3 things every morning and have them done at the end of the day. (Jordan Peterson says the reason you can’t follow a schedule is because you make a schedule of a bunch of things you don’t want to do. Instead, make a schedule of your perfect day and you have a much higher chance of sticking to it. This has helped me so much, you wouldn’t believe it!)
  4. Examine spending at the end of every week. That’s it. I simply wanted to be more aware.
  5. Spend 30 minutes 4 days a week on self-growth and learning.

Those were my initial goals. Since then, I’ve had a much better idea about what’s most important, what was too hard or too easy, and I’ve modified these goals and done my best to turn them into habits.

I got emeals on my phone to help with meal planning and recipe finding.

I began working out to youtube videos in our basement or living room, and now, I enjoy running more than I ever have in my life. As soon as I get up in the morning, I run for about 5 minutes in the basement, just to wake myself up and it feels AWESOME.

I started listening to podcasts on a regular basis, getting better in touch with politics, philosophy, and life style improvement.

Honestly, the budgeting goal really dropped out. I don’t review my spending much, because I really don’t buy much anymore besides groceries, and I’ve gotten better and being frugal when it comes to food.

I try to be conscious of wasted time and I actually make schedules every few days because I feel like it, and I stick to schedules and routine better than I have ever in my life – because they’re schedules and routines of things I actually want to do.

Another disclaimer: As long as I have been alive, I have been the laziest person I know. And this is still partly true. I don’t have a lot of disciple and self-will. I still don’t. I still have a lot of days (more than I’d like) where I can’t make myself do anything productive and I spend wasted time in bed on pinterest. I still eat things I know I shouldn’t and later regret it. And saddest to me, I still struggle to spend time with God in the word and prayer on a regular basis. All that said, I am improving. Another thing Jordan Peterson has said that has changed my life, was his encouragement to make every week better than your last. If last week you met 20% of your goals, meet 21% of them this week. When I first heard that, I thought, “I can do that.” And I have. I’ve been getting better. I am not where I want to be, but I’m headed in the right direction.

So that’s where I am today. Way behind where I want to be, way ahead of where I was. And I’m thanking God daily for my husband. He’s very supportive. I’ve asked him several times to tell me what area of my life I need to work on, and he won’t. He says I don’t need to change, but when I have improved, he’s praised me and made me feel great for doing it. Is he perfect? We’ve been married half a year now…..Yeah, he’s perfect, at least perfect for me.

 

With great caffeinated well-wishes,

Ellie

 

P.S. Are any of my readers doing NaNoWriMo this year. I really want to, but I’ve never won while I also had a job….And I haven’t had ANY time to plan….Sounds fun!

P.P.S. Just mentioning NaNoWriMo on my blog — I feel like I’m 18 again!

Lots has happened

So….last year around April I posted last. Also last year in April I started a relationship with this guy….and believe it or not, we met on this blog 5+ years ago. So I guess this blog has really changed my life. That’s kind of amazing! God works in mysterious ways. I never would have imagined that I’d meet my future husband online. What’s that? “Future husband?” Yes, we’re engaged….I haven’t been blogging any of this? I guess not. That’s embarrassing. The most important year of my life so far and it isn’t even on my blog for all the world to see….
Well! You know what they say! New year, new me! Just kidding. It’s still Ellie. I haven’t changed at all since December 31st, 2017. But I might just start blogging more….Or not. But either way, here’s some of the news you missed!

Jonny proposed, and it made the news.
http://www.kmov.com/clip/13906608/woman-says-yes-to-surprise-arch-grounds-proposal#.WgyCBwdhAe0.facebook

Here’s our engagement photos:

Isn’t that crazy?
The big day is April of this year. I can hardly believe it! This is going to be awesome….

Entering the New Year with gusto!
Ellie

A Very Rushed Post, featuring a story about my Niece

It’s been an exactly a year since I posted! Oh my goodness. I can’t let this go on. So here I am typing up a little blog post just so that it won’t be “over a year since I’ve posted.” That’s such a terrible reason, and I have almost NO time to type this either.

What’s to report? God is good! So good! All the time! Isn’t it incredible how He can be so good to us and we can still doubt Him when the going gets rough? Our church conference is this weekend, starting tomorrow, and the topic is “Grace through Suffering.” I know it will be good. And since band practice last night, which meant going over some of the songs we’ll be singing, now I REALLY know it’s gonna be good! The songs that have been chosen (I even got to choose one, yay) are so good!

God is very good to us. Sometimes His goodness is shown through his providence. Sometimes His goodness is shown through His discipline. One of the songs we’re going to sing this weekend has a line that says, “Why should I complain or want or distress, temptation or pain? He told me no less.” It makes me think of Job who said, “Should we receive good from the Lord and not receive evil?” If we weren’t so head-smart, we’d be able to see more clearly the goodness of our God in the good times, so that we could trust Him more fully in the evil times.

One time when I was babysitting my niece and nephew I had to swat my niece’s hand. Mariposa was about a year and a half old, and she is generally a very sweet child who wants to please, but she started testing her boundaries just a little. I told her twice not to touch something, and the third time she reached for it, I took her hand and popped it. It probably scared her more than anything. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess I expected Mari to get angry and reach for the item again, or I at least expected her to run away. If I had been on the receiving end of that hand-swat, I’m pretty sure I would have been angry, insulted, and rebellious. If I wasn’t angry, I’d be scared and try to get as far away as I could. Instead she burst into tears and fell into my arms. Without hesitation.

I was pretty confuzzled. I had just told her not to get something she wanted, and when she had insisted on getting it, I gave her pain. So why did she run right to me? How did she know I still love her? Why did she think (and rightly so) that she could come to me for comfort, right after I had inflicted pain?

Maybe because in her simple but trusting mind, she’s a lot smarter than the rest of us stupid blockheads!

I don’t have time right now to expound on everything this means to me or just what an impact her trustfulness in me made. I’ll just tell you now that I do love her. She knew I loved her. And after she was finished crying, she continued to cling to me and draw cuddles from me until it was time to go, when she started crying again and broke my auntie heart. I cherish that memory of her. We truly need to have faith more like that of a child.

Until Next Year! (haha, just kidding, I think) (Edit: I wasn’t.)

Cheers!
Ellie