Applying the ideas of Jordan Peterson to cycling training

i’ve been following psychologist jordan peterson’s work for a couple of years. his take on goal setting and getting satisfaction from working towards that goal is fascinating to me. aiming for a goal sets up challenges along the way which we get braver at facing, building skill and growing new nervous system structures which builds us towards our potential.

the bigger and better the goal the more potential we have to switch on growth in many ways.

his work is very applicable to athletes in training.

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nice arguments guys. i’m happy to carry on taking the positives from what i’m reading and hearing from JP. thanks for your insight.

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You might as well start fueling your rides with raw meat.

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Nothing based on Peterson’s “fitness” journey screams “DUPLICATE IT” to me.

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I don’t know, I think becoming dependent on clonazepam to deal with life’s struggles may have some downsides.

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I’m not sure why there’s so much animosity towards Jordan Peterson in this thread… is there something about the sport of cycling that is somehow antithetical to what JP preaches in his books/lectures? :joy:


I can understand not agreeing with his opinions, but what’s up with the cheap shots? The dude’s wife (of 30+ years) was given a terminal cancer diagnosis while he was already undoubtedly weighed down from the intense pressure of doing everything he does as a professor, psychologist, author, public speaker, etc. Mix that together with the fact that some people are just genetically predisposed to drug dependence or alcoholism and, unfortunately, his health ended up collapsing.

I guess maybe people like you are better at “dealing with life’s struggles”… or maybe you believe that individuals with drug/alcohol problems aren’t deserving of sympathy? Either way, I hope that you don’t ever have a child or family member who suffers from severe psychiatric illness.


@Ian_carson, if JP’s lectures speak to you and fuel you to become a better version of yourself, then more power to you—who cares what others think…

I interpret the essence of JP’s philosophy is as follows:

  • Life is difficult and dealing with challenging situations is inevitable.
  • With that said, you may as well embrace responsibility for your life and undertake burdens that are meaningful to you as an individual.
  • It’s certainly a much better alternative to choose your own burdens than it is to let the world and others dictate what should be important to you.

I don’t know… that all sounds pretty reasonable and practical to me.

But, as with all philosophy (whether modern or ancient, Eastern or Western, Peterson or whoever else you enjoy reading, etc.), the real value lies in interpreting things through the lens of your own life. Rather than just passively consuming JP’s material, I’d encourage you to ‘study’ it and always ask how the lessons might transfer to your own idiosyncratic life experience.

In my case, I’ve become a far more dedicated and driven athlete since discovering JP. I’ve learned to really embrace the challenge of training, and I’ve made it a personal responsibility to treat my training as something that is central to my growth as a person. This mindset has made training far more enjoyable, rewarding, and productive! :slight_smile:

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I’d forgotten about Jordan Peterson… sounds like he has gone thru hell over last few years. Someone pointed me towards him some years ago and after reading and listening to him a bit… nothing new here.

Here’s a good article from a Jesuit magazine with an interesting hypothesis that resonated with me as a 54 year old:

“In order for a person to receive Peterson’s injunction toward responsibility as transformative, he or she would have to have previously believed that avoiding adult responsibility while escaping dire consequences was not only desirable but possible. That is, he or she would have to have believed that failure to grow up could look more like the Neverland of “Peter Pan” than like the Pleasure Island of “Pinocchio” (both of which are among Peterson’s many Disney-adapted preoccupations).”

From Jordan Peterson is telling young white men what many of us already know: Neverland is a lie. | America Magazine

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Too bad you can’t clean your room and ride at the same time.

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nicely put sir,. chapeau

I don’t think Jordan Peterson’s life philosophy is that useful when it comes to sports. I can see how young adults who search for meaning in their lives might be attracted to some of his ideas, including the eponymous and anodyne “clean your room” stuff.

However, other parts of his philosophy are highly problematic (I recommend Contrapoint’s video for a resource that doesn’t just bash Peterson). And IMHO you should be aware of this when you are consuming his content. His tendency to reduce everything to a battle against “post-modern Marxism” makes little real life and philosophical sense, such black-and-white thinking and claims about a big, unified movement on “the other side” should immediately raise red flags. And I find his elusive style during discussions disingenuous, he is clearly extremely smart and is used to being precise when writing scientific papers.

If you want to become a better athlete, I think it is more useful to e. g. familiarize yourself with the growth mindset about which you have tons of research. I’m currently reading/listening to Brain Rules for Babies by John Medina. There has been lots of research about how to instill a growth mindset in children (e. g. by praising effort instead of outcomes).

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Sure, it is reasonable, but these messages are nothing special. If you read e. g. Buddhist philosophy (which is what I did when I was younger), you get versions of the same messages and I am sure that if you venture down the “meaning for life” path, you’ll arrive at the same kind of broad messages.

Nevertheless, my issue with Peterson is that apart from these sensible takes, he has lots of problematic views as well. (I’m not talking about his dependency issues here, that can happen to anyone, especially given the circumstances he was/is in.)

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Yes, the problem with JP is that all of his (not even very new and not very innovative) life advice is a trojan horse for his sexist, racist, trans- and homophobic views.

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As always, don‘t expect too much constructive feedback from the internet @Ian_carson . We are a society addicted to drama and throwing stones, where everyone is an expert in life the same way every racer on Zwift has a 6W/kg FTP. But maybe we all struggle and there is no end to the learning process? Regardless, there is no feeling like telling someone our views are far superior and his are infantile :grinning:

Just take all the posts with a pinch of salt, and a slight smile. He who pretends to fully understand a concept - any concept- in life clearly doesn‘t understand that concept :slightly_smiling_face:

If you find something inspiring and worth studying in JP‘s views, pursue it until you feel you have grasped what you want to grasp for them. What he did, what he took and what his other views are does no invalidate those opinions you find inspiring.

I believe it is better to be inspired by „fringe“ figures like JP and many others, than to be inspired by the monolithic thinking we are inundated by nowadays, maskareding as „just the way things are“ rather than the twisted philosophy it really is.

On a less philosophical note, I‘ve been studying the concept „conserve your momentum“ for the past 3 years. I believe I might have learned 1% of its implications by now :grinning: I‘m sure some people will tell you there‘s nothing new there and that concept is obvious to the smallest child. They are right too, in a way :wink:

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Yeah, fair criticism. I am digging myself a bigger hole here, but as a way of explanation, I just find Jordan to be too much of a life coach guru with too much narcissism and too little self-reflection, and it is ironic (to put it mildly) to see a person telling everyone how to live their life when they are so addicted to a drug that they end up in a coma. I mean it is a bit of cause for concern/warning sign, but does that stop Jordan? Nope, he is back on the big bookselling/life-advice circuit. Point of clarification, his addiction pre-dated his wife’s diagnosis (he got addicted in 2018 right before 12-Rules For Life came out). All of this combined is too much of a critic of Jordan’s to ignore. It is a bit like finding out your uber-confident stockbroker has been bankrupt three times and is now living in a van by the river. Also, I am an ex-addict [I don’t say “recovering” because I have been sober 17 years]. The difference is I didn’t go around telling people how to live at the height of my addiction.

With that said, I should have given a less glib / shot scoring answer. I mean if you find some meaning/insight from Jordan Peterson, cool. Find it where you can get it.

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It is also straight up re-packaged Stoic philosophy. If you like Jordan Peterson’s basic tenets on self responsibility you will love Marcus Aurelius.

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True. What turns me off Peterson is his rigid and crude black-and-white thinking in other aspects — besides the very problematic stuff he has said. I don’t want to derail this thread, but I’ll just say that the former is healthy and not behavior I’d like to emulate.

Although I’d say that when you look at all sorts of endeavors that go in that direction, e. g. the author of Getting Things Done had issues, well, getting things done. Inbox Zero was created by someone who struggled with emails. So I reckon most life coaches must have struggled with their lives … and there is nothing wrong with that in principle.

I’m just surprised at how much publicity Peterson has received for rather common advice. I reckon people (mostly men) who would like to have some rigid framework for how to lead a good life are attracted to his ideas and his style.

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I don’t like JP… he makes me think about things.

I get all the inspiration I need from Strava and Insta

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Are you really?

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This thread probably needs to go away. It’s far too political to not become a problem.

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Moderator note:

I need time to catch up to this thread, but keep in mind the forum guidelines, starting with “Be excellent to each other.”

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