"That's my style of lecturing: it's a trapeze act without a safety net, I would say, and that's part of what makes it gripping."
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Jordan Peterson - Q & A 2018 08 August Ahttps://youtu.be/3VpxJg6jeMo?t=3189
Best Life Advice
If you're gonna speak about something, you need to know a lot about it. You need to know three or four times as much as you're gonna speak about at minimum. So, first of all, you have to do your background research. You have to have multiple stories at hand that you can use to illustrate your point, and you have to have a point. You have to organize what you're talking about around a problem. So, before I go onstage to speak on my tour, I always sit for half an hour, some of which involves usually about five minutes of anxiety, and I think—okay, there's a problem I'm trying to address tonight, a central problem or a theme, what is it? Might be courage, it might be responsibility, it might be meaning. That serves as an organizing principle. So that would be the point. And then basically I organize, say, a dozen stories around that, and I—I can kind of arrange them as a journey, and it's a journey that circles the main point. And so I'm trying to explore it to say what I think about courage, let's say, but to take what I'm thinking farther than I've taken it already. And so then I can plot out, you know, little five-minute stories that I have that are associated with courage and then I can talk to the audience, and I would say talk about what you know. Use your personal experience because that's—that's something that you're actually a master of. You can bring in other material but it has to be tied to the real world, through your own experience, otherwise it's not real. It's also very good to speak directly to the audience, to the individuals in the audience, ‘cause I'm always looking at a single person, one after another, and focusing on them, and talking to them just like you'd have a conversation with someone, and that way I can see if they're following along and I'm always listening to the audience. What I really like to hear from the audience is no noise at all, silence, because if the audience, especially, you know, if it's a couple hundred or a couple of thousand people, if the audience is dead silent then I know that I'm on the right track. And the other thing I would say is you're telling stories, so every fact that you relate or every set of facts has to be tied to a story. There has to be a meaningful output, which is something like, why is it important to your life that you know this fact? How is it related to how you're going to conduct yourself moving forward or how you’re going to see the world? ‘Cause that's kind of the essence of meaning. How does this fact change the way you perceive the world or act in the world? That's the meaning of the fact and facts without meaning are dull. So you need to know that. You need to tell the truth. That's for sure. And—I mean, for me my talks are really—they're an attempt to explore a set of ideas in the most truthful way that I can manage, and that's also an adventure because letting yourself speak freely about a topic, you don't always know where it's gonna go. And so—but that also hooks in the audience because they're not—they’re along for the ride, right, and there's a risk. The risk is you might forget where you are, you might lose the thread, you might say something you regret, you might get confused. The talk should be a process of exploration like a journey that you're taking the audience along on. It's the same when you're reading a novel, like a great novel isn't exactly plotted out from beginning to end to begin with. The author is taking himself or herself and you on an intellectual adventure through the—through the character development...
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