For quite some time, I have been creating a playlist of inspiration for when I go running. In a recent run, I was reminded of the Jordan Peterson video, ‘Aim high, and live in the present’.
As a Christian, I am happily struck by his opening Bible reading of Matthew 6:25-34 from his lecture series:
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?‘”
Peterson suggests that this scripture is often misinterpreted. As the scripture continues:
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Peterson continues with stating its one of the most profound ideas he’s come across. In that, if what you are ‘genuinely aiming is the highest possible good … what you really need, will deliver themselves to you.’ This statement can be tested, in such that it’s a Kierkegaardian leap of faith. I have always just skipped across this reference, but in a quick search on Google, it reads:
He continues and says ‘you have to be all in, in this game’ and as the scriptures says to Seek the Kingdom of God first, and those other problems are trivial (what to eat, drink, wear).
He also states, ‘if you manifest yourself properly in the world that those things (the trivial things) will come your way.’ By aiming yourself in this way and then ‘strive to attain it there’s no more practical pathway to the kind of success you could have (if you actually knew) what success was.’
He continues and supports his concept with the story of Pinocchio and Geppetto, who wishes upon a star. And later speaks about the moral of the story of The Grasshopper and the Ant (video here). And also references Biblical Noah’s life of working to achieve a high bar of building the Ark as the rain clouds approach.
Again, Jordan Peterson considers this question and perhaps asks, ‘do you really have anything better to do?’ In order to achieve this, orientating yourself properly, focused on working towards that aim daily. The idea that the world shifts itself around your aim can be seen in many places. I think of the experience of when shopping for a new car, once you choose the type, make, or model – many cars start to appear, much more than you had noticed before.
As Peterson says, ‘we are aiming creatures…and if we solve the problems or challenges of the day properly, we stay on the pathway of that aim.’ Having the best of both, we are able to feel the satisfaction of working towards the ‘highest possible aim’ while also ‘living in the day.’