"I don't know how to improve myself', someone might say that. And I would say 'Well, you're not aiming low enough. There's something you could do that you are regarding as trivial, that you could do, that you would do, that would result in actual improvement, but it's not a big enough improvement for you, so you won't lower yourself to take the opportunity." - Jordan Peterson, Clinical Psychologist and Professor at University of Toronto
When I first came across this quote (It's from one of the many interviews Jordan Peterson had with Joe Rogan), I shrugged and thought to myself, "Pfft, this dude doesn't know what he's saying. Aiming low enough? That's too slow for me. I need something faster."
But over time, as I wrestled my thoughts again over this quote, I thought to myself "Maybe this is the step to greatness. Maybe, just maybe, this is the right approach. Take it step by step. Hey! This is what I'll talk about in my next article!"
And here we are.
Let's dive right in, shall we?
Maybe this quote resonates with you and maybe it doesn't. What it does though, is present an argument that we all know, but in different words. If Jordan Peterson said something like "baby steps" or "take it step by step" we would've potentially resonated more with it. But he didn't use those terms.
See, Dr. Peterson took it as a way to humble ourselves. He wants us to understand that the path to self-improvement is taking it step by step, but in order to do that, you must first get to your current level.
Let me explain.
We all have dreams. For me, it's to become a Professional Tennis Player and win Wimbledon. But if I don't humble myself and accept the fact that my current manifestation of myself is not the version that will bring me to Wimbledon, I'm never getting there.
Simply put, you have to decide whether or not you are willing to suck up your ego and accept the fact that you aren't there yet; that you currently aren't the type of person to manifest your dreams.
Because if you don't, you won't be going far on the path to greatness. You'll stop on the side of the path, thinking you're some ultra-worthy egotistic being, while the others who ignored their ego are taking the small steps, slowly but surely. Next thing you know, you wake up from your self-delusional nap and your competitors already won the race.
Reminds you of the story The Rabbit and the Turtle, doesn't it?
Slow and steady wins the race, always.
For the athletes like myself, do you go lift 100 lbs the first time you step foot in a gym? Or do you start out small, maybe 25 or 30lbs? If you don't want to injure yourself, you go for the 25 or 30, and increase it over time.
For the students who want to get all A's, did you automatically get those good studying and attentiveness habits in the blink of an eye? Probably not. You went step by step when you were little, and as you grew you slowly found which studying techniques are most effective for you, That's why you excel in school.
On a larger scale, think of the people in history who made a lasting impact on our current world. Whether it be Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, etc. None of them became the version of themselves we now know them as in one giant leap. You can't go from "zero to hero".
Whatever your dream is; whatever you truly believe you were put onto this noble earth to accomplish, you must take it step by step. Taking incremental steps will ensure that you grow in a wholesome, more fulfilling manner.
You ready to start taking it step by step? Awesome.
If I were you, I'd start by taking your responsibilities seriously. I know fam, it sounds so boring and boomer-ish, but trust me. Taking care of your base responsibilities like doing well in school, cleaning your room, or taking care of those under your legitimate responsibility and care is absolutely essential to cultivating little productive habits to bring you a few steps closer to your goal.
And before you know it, You'll be "striding" as Jordan Peterson says. Your little steps become bigger and bigger, and you'll have reached your dream.
"And that there is not for a man except that (good) which he strives for. And that his effort is going to be seen. Then, he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense" - 53:39-41