(VIDEO) Jordan Peterson's: Rule #7 Explore What is Meaningful Not Expedient

Top 3 Post Insights:

  1. Take a risk and do something meaningful (eg. a career change).

  2.  Sacrifice what you like, so you can become you might become.

  3. Don't worry so much about finding your 'purpose.' Be productive. 

Can we rebound from our quarter-life crisis?

You’re in your mid 20s- early 30s and life isn’t all how you expected to be. Maybe you hate your job but you have no idea what your next career change should be. From work, relationships to leaving your phone on the treadmill at the gym … life all around you seems to be faltering.

Welcome to Jordan Peterson’s Rule 7: Explore What is Meaningful not Expedient. Before we get into this chapter let’s define these two words because a) I had google ‘expedient’ and b) This definitely not a ‘follow your bliss’ chapter.

Meaningful: Serious, important, worthwhile.

Expedient: A convenient action, although possibly immoral.

So why is it important to have meaning?

“To have meaning in your life is better than to have what you want, because you may neither know what you want, nor what you truly need.” (pg 200)

The notion of ‘lack of meaningful progress’ is probably one of the symptoms of our quarter life crisis. We falter from traditional career goals, the expectations of the need to settle down by 35 doesn’t resonate with us anymore and we find ourselves just cruising by life.

Aimlessly wandering, waiting for a sign.

Anyways, this was a really tough chapter to get through. But in a nutshell, it’s about finding (lack of a better term) ‘purpose’, having some sort of aim, so the ‘suffering’ reality throws at us makes life worth living.

It’s like that shitty internship you had. In the end, all those coffee runs and having no social life on the weekends probably landed you a job somewhere.

Ok so how can we rebound from a quarter life crisis? Is ‘purpose’ really the answer? Here are my top 3 key learnings.

1. The Career Change

Hate your job? Do something about it.

It’s not easy and you’ll definitely take a pay cut in the beginning, but like papa JP says, in 5 years time, you won’t be a spring chicken no more. You’ll be older and unhappier.

So start building your skills in that area, an hour a week do that online course, start watching how-to vids instead of Netflix. Your career is not limited to one job function, there are always other opportunities to explore.

The goal might not be to completely change careers, but it should be to feed those curiosities you think about all day every day at work. That question of, if I wasn’t here what would I be doing and what skills might I need to professionally pursue that, if I wanted a career in that. Just know there are monetary and lifestyle changes that may come along with it. 

2. Sacrifice

Doctors had no party life in their 20s but they probably have a massive house, hot wife and no qualms putting their kids through private school. They traded short term impulses for long term rewards.  

It might be time to sacrifice what you love best, so that you can become who you might become, instead of staying who you are. (p 170)

This is interlinked with the career change. Sometimes we think we’re too good for an entry level job in the new industry we want to pursue. I know for me, I got a real pay shock when I got my first presenting gig. I thought I was too good for the job. I was getting half of what I was earning from my marketing job.  was earning an hour, but I knew I needed to sacrifice ‘money’ for experience and credibility in this area of my career. Sacrifices are necessary if you want ‘success’ of any sort.

3. Don’t Worry About Your ‘Why’ (for now)

Millennials love a good ‘share’ of a Simon Sineck or Jay Shetty video on ‘How to Find your Purpose.’ Truth is, most of us are paralysed by the thoughts of this.

It’s bloody scary. It’s also intimidating because we might be scared we won’t live up to our potential.


But ‘purpose’ doesn’t have to be answered today. Papa JP poses the question:

“how could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse?”

Throw the bins out, throw the receipts from your hand bag out, put the dishes away etc. It’s another message of ‘clean your room’ because if we can’t get the smallstuff out, how the hell are we going to find out what our purpose in life is. ­­­­

I think the key point is, be as productive as you can with minimal effort. Progress, in any shape or form, may not solve your ‘why’ but it will certainly put in in a much better psychological state to one day discover it.


Ok folks top 3 take outs:

1. Take a risk in doing something meaningful to you eg. a career change

2. Sacrifices are necessary for ‘success’ of any sort.

3. It’s ok not to know your ‘why,’ but chose to be productive in the meantime.

That was Rule 7: explore what is meaningful not expedient. See you next week for Rule 8!

Liz PalComment