Jordan Peterson: How to Think Critically

Donny Setiawan
3 min readOct 31, 2023
Youtube/Gale Pooley — “Jordan Peterson on Writing”

Young people ask: Can you give us some advice so that we can express our opinions, and be heard clearly, that are not just empty arguments?

Jordan: Learn to write. (People laughs).

I’m serious about this. Why? Because writing simplifies a thought and that’s why you have to write.

But, first, you need encouragement. You need problems, because if there aren’t any problems why are you writing, right?

So, a good advice for your question is to write an essay.

For example, something you will commonly encounter as a student is writing essays for your class assignments.

Choose some problems around you and write about them. However, one important note, if you don’t choose your problem wisely, it will make it difficult for you to write at the start.

Again, it depends on you. Maybe it can start from problems that you often experience, such as things that are still related to your life.

Something that makes you anxious so you can’t help but look for answers to the problem until you get busy and lose track of time.

So, again you need a problem. But, how can you solve a problem you find?

Read.

Reading is very helpful to support explaining the problem. Read as much as you can.

Be open to the problems in the book.

OK, after you read, now you know about several things from the books you read, even if you are still not mature about them, at least you have opened up space for new things from your reading.

So, that’s why you need to make a list of every problem you find. But, maybe you will find it difficult and say, “Okay, maybe I should make things more concise so that they are easier to understand.”

Then, something that is also worth paying attention to when doing this is paying attention to diction, phrases, and even paragraphs so that you can explain clearly the contradictions of the things you have just encountered. You need to make each sentence into an effective paragraph, then from an effective paragraph into a clear argument.

While you are doing that, at the same time, you are integrating your voice from an abstract level to something clear.

You try to sharpen your skills and you put your full effort into the things you think about because at that time you are learning to think. You do this helped by writing.

So, in conclusion, choose an issue that has an impact on your life and learn to write about it very carefully.

Remember, if you are an effective writer or a skilled speaker, all of the above plays an important role in forming a competent personality.

Especially if you are currently studying in the Humanities field. Isn’t that what you should be good at? Teaches you to think by writing?

OK, from now on you have to start by reading a lot, having opinions, or whatever.

However, the most important of all is reading and writing, EVERY DAY. Do it a few hours every day.

Write down something that you think is important and try to find something that you can learn from the problem.

And, that’s a really real activity for your life if you apply it.
Look at successful people. How they are good at conveying things clearly.
Imagine, if you lived and often coexisted with your writing, how great you would be.

It is the nature of humanity. Be a literate creature.

Most importantly for you, reading and writing is one of the highest academic achievements because whatever your reason for being here (University) is to learn to find your authentic voice.

As explained, if you compose an argument, whether written or expressed, it will become a part of you permanently. You carry it everywhere. It is part of your thinking about how you view the world and a consideration of your actions thereafter.

That’s why you have to be a literate creature, so you can convey things clearly.

When you are able to argue, think, and write, wherever you are, ‘they’ will take you to the peak of your abilities as a human.

I hope that can be applied to everyone and be a good way, so that’s what I can suggest. (Everyone claps).***

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