I didn’t think I’d ever shill for an online product, but my opinion of Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring Program is indeed a positive one. In summary, it is a guided writing exercise, to the tune of $14.95, which will lead you to clarify your goals and help you reach them.
In essence, the process is as follows: you look at who you are and who you want to become. You are also asked to visualize what would happen to you if you slacked and didn’t stick to your plans. The goal is then to create the ideal future self out of your pathetic present self. The total effort required is about 2 x 2 hours, and you are recommended to repeat the exercise in regular intervals, for instance once every six months.
Peterson’s marketing for the Future Authoring Program proclaims certain quantitative improvements, for instance, members of a particular group improved their GPA by x percent. All of this may sound impressive, if you bother to look it up. However, the problem with that kind of claim is that it focuses on groups that perform extremely poorly. To make this more easily understandable, let’s assume you have A and B lifting weights. A squats 50 lbs, which is pretty pathetic, but B squats 250 lbs, which is quite good. Now, if a personal trainer intervened and got A to squat 150 lbs, he could claim that he improved his client’s performance by 200%. In comparison, B is already doing fairly okay. However, going from 250 to 750 lbs would be a ludicrous goal, so B’s improvement will be a lot worse, when expressed in percent.
With regards to the Future Authoring Program, the same holds. If you are already used to setting goals and working towards them, then you may not get as much out of it as someone who hasn’t realized yet that he can improve his lot in life by working towards a goal. As a reader of this blog you are much more likely to be in the former camp, though, so you may justifiably be skeptical with regards to the value of Peterson’s product.
Personally, I found the Future Authoring writing exercise valuable as it helped me organize my thoughts on my goals and also question some of them, as you are also asked to describe why you want to achieve them. I won’t go into details, but one big takeaway for me was to no longer bother with a particular activity I used to engage in because there was no longer any utility in it. I simply put time into it due to habit. As a consequence, I was able to free up a chunk of spare time, which I’ve now partly dedicated to writing more frequently — not necessarily this blog, and not necessarily under this pseudonym. Furthermore, I picked up chess again, but more casually. Just based on that outcome alone, Future Authoring was worth it.
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