4 Things Jordan Peterson Taught Me About What It Means To Clean My Room…

By taking Dr. Jordan Peterson’s personality assessment I discovered I was very high in conscientiousness, industriousness and orderliness. Finally, now I have tangible statistics to prove why I like to be so organised and tidy.

When I heard Peterson bring up the topic of cleaning one’s room, I was intrigued to say the least. Before hearing Peterson discuss this topic, cleaning my room and keeping a tidy environment has meant more to me than the superficial. Keeping an extrinsically organised environment transfers to a intrinsically tidy mind. How am I suppose to calm the chaos of my mind if there’s chaos in my environment? To me, cleaning my room has always been a proxy to reducing potential anxiety and stress. The little thing’s create the big thing’s and how you do anything is how you do everything. So what did he teach me than?

1. It’s not easy to clean up your room.

Many would think such a simple concept would be easy and simple to execute. Well, unless your someone whose high in orderliness and conscientiousness like myself, than you’re going to find it quite challenging to summon the effort for a task like cleaning your room. Many either don’t care, don’t see the importance of it, or are content with the superficial chaos — in fact many don’t even perceive it as chaos, they just accept it. So the first thing he showed me was empathy for other people, because it’s easy to lay judgement and ask ‘how can people not do something so easy and impactful?’ Well, because it’s not so easy for them, nor do they perceive it as impactful.

2. You’re room is a symbol for growth and potential.

“You want your room to be setup so when you walk in there, it tells you to be better than you generally are.”

How can something so simple as a bedroom have this effect?

Well, as Peterson infers, your room is a symbol for your habits. When you walk in your room you either walk into disorder and confusion, OR, you walk into orderly direction where everything is in it’s place. But it’s not about obsession, (which can happen to those who are very high orderliness) it’s about a simple French phrase they use in the culinary world:

mise en place: everything in it’s place

3. Some may resent you for wanting to clean up your room.

If you live in chaotic environment where no one is taking responsibility for their environment and life, you’re likely to run into confrontation for attempting to perform such a task as cleaning your environment. Those who are disorderly, high in neuroticism and low in conscientiousness will likely get angry at your attempt to clean your environment. Peterson suggests they may think or say (mostly think):

“Who do you think you are?”

“You think you’re better than us?”

“Why do you think this is worthwhile?”

You cast the weaknesses and flaws of another in a dim light by trying to improve little parts of yourself such as cleaning your room, hence the emotional response that often occurs. Peterson suggests many might have to go through a civil war in their household to be allowed to do something as simple as keep their room clean. Just another reason that cleaning your room is not as easy as people think.

4. Everything around you is full of potential.

So maybe all you have is a small decrepit room that has leak in the ceiling.

“Fix it up. There’s more there than you think. See what happens if you fix it up — you’ll fix yourself up simultaneously because you’ll have to get disciplined to fix up the room. So then you’ll have a fixed up room and you’ll be a more fixed up person. You think that nothing will happen as a consequence of that?”

The idea is that everything around you has more potential that we can ever fully utilise.

So What Can You Do About It?

Every time you walk in your room, place one item back where it belongs.

Then write down what happens as a consequence. You could use a anxiety and stress scale where you create a scale from 1–10 and write down a number every evening noting how stressful or anxious you were feeling for that day. It doesn’t have to be those emotions, pick any emotion your trying to improve.

How you do everything is how you do anything.

Now stop reading this, sort yourself out and go clean your room.

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour. youtube.com/emmanualalexander

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