Self Authoring Overview
The self authoring suite is a compilation of four, interactive writing programs aimed at helping the author–you–understand yourself. Self Authoring has multiple components, each with a goal to help the writer understand their strengths, weaknesses; their past; the crucial memories from the past controlling the present; and, the ideal future you want and how you’ll obtain it.
— Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) April 18, 2018
Each Self Authoring program page presents an interactive journaling experience in a question and answer format. In some sections, you’ll be asked to select from a series of traits that apply to you. In others, you write about the traits, or applicable memories, and how they may be affecting your behavior. Sometimes you’ll create a list of traits then order them by their relevance or importance.
The self authoring program teaches you who you are and what you want to be. You can decide what you want; and get it too.
After you finish the program you’re prompted to email or print your results. Do both. You can retake any Self Authoring module later. I recommend waiting at least a year before attempting any of the modules again unless you have additional memories you want to process using the Past Authoring Program.
The cost for the program at the time of this article is 29.99.
it’s worth it.
You can buy individual programs for 15$–a waste of money compared to buying the full self Authoring Suite for 29.99.
There are links to buy the Self Authoring program in this article. We do not benefit from any sales, other than spreading Jordan Peterson’s work.
How Does Self Authoring Work?
Video from the Self Authoring.
People use stories to interpret everything around them. Sigmund Freud theorized the release of emotions around negative experiences could be curative. For example, if a man was beaten as a child, he may manifest this trauma by attacking his family. His feeling of a lack of control in the household contributes to his violent outbursts; he’s never gone back to revisit the memory because of the associated pain. But, once he goes back to the source of the pain, and reprocesses the memory so it no longer haunts him, he’ll no longer act out in a deviant manner towards his family.
Freud’s Self Authoring Experiment
Freud conducted a study similar to the self-authoring program. He asked students to write fifteen minutes per day for three days about the most painful experiences in their lives.
Freud had a control group write about normal everyday experiences using the same fifteen-minute window. The results were clear: the study group had noticeable improvements in their mental health after a subtle dip in their mental being, likely a cause of revisiting the painful traumas of their lives. It’s believed, this is because the memory is reprocessed about what happened to them in the past.
In Past Authoring, a component of the Self Authoring Suite reviewed below, you revisit happy and painful moments in the past for the purpose of reprocessing, like in Freud’s study.
People who complete self-analyzing programs have less misery by articulating and understanding previous life experiences instead of being chained to the emotional response from painful events, sweeping the trauma under the rug, or hiding it in the closet, out of site, while the trauma still lives and, is never resolved.
Update: A representative of Self Authoring reached out to say, Freud wasn’t the first to conduct the initial experiments: James Pennebaker did.
People experience happiness when they progress.
You can’t progress if an experience in your past is controlling your actions, or if you have no clear sense of where you want to be in the future.
The past authoring program allows you to articulate and understand your past, while the future authoring program asks you to create a map of where you want to be, and, how you expect to get there.
When painful memories from the past are transcribed into words, the painful memories move out of the flight or fight section of the brain and move into another section of the brain responsible for comprehension.
Humans fear the unknown.
But, humans also fear revisiting painful experiences–as they should. In practice. Your body wants to keep you alive and thriving; painful experiences are counter to your body’s goal of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure.
Humans are a special kind of animal unlike any other. Often, we need to embrace pain in order to progress because it’s our pain that prevents a good life from sprouting, from the ashes left behind in tragedy, like a forest fire giving birth to new pine trees in the fall.
Most people don’t know who they are; what they’ve been through; or, where they’re going. Most people forget about the painful experiences they’ve endured– they fear the future, forgetting how strong they really are.
Instead of taking action to make their lives better, most people simply wait for life to happen to them, distracting themselves by ‘killing time’, a euphemism for running away from what’s important.
Below is additional information about the creator of the Self Authoring Suite, Dr. Jordan Peterson. Then, individual reviews of each component of the Program.
Dr. Jordan Peterson | The Creator of the Self Authoring Suite
Jordan Peterson is a former professor of psychology at the University of Toronto in Canada. He became renown for his aggressive stance against the ultra-liberal policies his home country, Canada, has begun enforcing–related to gender politics and free speech.
Canada doesn’t have protection against hate speech. Whereas The United States has clear lines of the citizen rites to free speech, Canada’s distinction is murky. Canada prohibits hate speech, but, it’s not clearly defined what hate speech is.
Jordan Peterson created the Self Authoring Program because he understands you can’t change anyone but yourself. The Self Authoring Program incites personal change so students can change the world through the changes they make in themselves.
Jordan Peterson also released a new book called 12 rules for life: An antidote to Chaos. It’s a number one Amazon Best-Seller. Currently the top-selling book; listed below.
Self Authoring Suite Components
Use the links to jump sections. If you get the Self Authoring program, the menu above is a good order for completing the program.
Present Authoring Program: Faults
Present Authoring Faults: Overview
The faults section of the present authoring program helps the author determine faults that may be holding them back. Faults, meaning aspects of your character which work against your success.
Writing your faults helps to conceptualize them; most people have no understanding of their weaknesses because they’ve never taken the time to analyze them. Or, they fear admitting they may have something wrong with them.
Present Authoring Faults: Process
You begin with a list of faults. Pick the faults most applicable to your life. You’ll later order them by their prevalence.
The available present authoring faults span five categories:
- Emotional Stability/ Low-Stress Tolerance
Each category contains a number of faults relating to the parent category.
For example, the faults listed in the Agreeable/Assertive category include:
- Avoid conflict even when it is necessary.
- Find myself making excuses for other’s inappropriate behavior.
- Cannot negotiate for myself very well.
- Trust people too easily.
There are more faults; about ten negative traits in each parent category available to pick.
After picking faults, you’re asked to author an experience associated with the fault. For example, if you selected: often feel depressed and blue; you’ll write about a memory when feeling depressed and blue negatively affected your life.
After writing about how your fault affected your life, you analyze the situation, then, think about how you can improve this fault–how can you improve so the fault affects your life, less; in general terms.
You’re also asked a possible alternative outcome; what would happen if the fault didn’t exist? Or, how else could you behave so the fault effects you less?
This is a response from my Present Authoring Faults Essay. Nothing omitted.
- An experience due to the fault:
“It’s difficult to spend time alone so it’s difficult to get work done. This isn’t a unique story but an overarching trait. Instead of going to my room and killing my to-do-list, I’ll sit in the living room with K*****. I cannot work while a TV is present. I need to spend time alone to be the best version of myself. Community isn’t important: independence is. The negative impact is obvious–no work or progress is made. I stay in the same place because I’m afraid to carry the responsibility I’ve selected.”
- A possible alternative Outcome:
“Instead of hanging out with others, which I hate doing, I’ll say no. I will say no to people I don’t want to be around. Like people I work with. I want to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, not talk about politics or who did what on their mediocre vacation. I’ll spend more time alone. I’ll tell K***** no, and isolate myself more from the world around me.”
- Guidelines for General Improvement:
“Literally, saying no to things I don’t want to do and drawing boundaries. Jordan Peterson said: be less agreeable. Stop agreeing to things you don’t like. Whether that is going out, staying in, or associating with others. If there are items in your To-Do-List do them. You know the rules. Follow them now.”
Present Authoring Faults: Program Review
The present Authoring Faults component of the Self Authoring program is brutal.
People hate confronting their weaknesses because no one likes to be reminded of their shortcomings. But, it’s your shortcomings that leave you vulnerable to the calamities of life.
If you don’t know your shortcomings, that doesn’t mean your enemies don’t either. Often, we hide the parts we hate the most from ourselves; others still see our weakness and will exploit any weakness they can find–especially a weakness we don’t know we have, like, the willingness to help a stranger in need, and the stranger, takes advantage of us.
The Faults program is good. Not great; but good. It’s humbling for egotistical people, but, may be hard for anyone with low self-esteem to confront negative traits without understanding what causes them.
The past authoring program will help you understand where your faults come from. Most of them coming from some defense mechanism activated by a childhood trauma you had no control over.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5
Present Authoring Program: Virtues
Present Authoring Virtues: Overview
The second component of the present authoring program is writing about your virtues; the best traits you possess and the characteristics you rely on the most.
Many of the strengths listed in the virtue program are strengths you haven’t thought about before. They aren’t simple ansers like: I am smart. But, apply to different circumstances and events.
This is a feel-good experience best for people who harbor low self-worth, and, think positive thoughts as often as they see a double rainbow.
Present Authoring Virtues: Process
Pick virtues from the same big five categories listed in Present Authoring: Virtues.
- emotional stability/low stress tolerance
Openness/Traditionalism Virtue Examples:
- Am full of ideas.
- Am philosophically inclined.
- Have excellent ideas.
- Spent time reflecting on things.
- Am Entrepreneurial.
Each category has ten traits. The Present Authoring Virtues program is like the nicer, sweeter, parent in the marriage between the virtue program and the faults program.
You’ll pick around 7 traits from each category. Then, you’re asked to distill your virtues to a single trait within each category. The last step is self authoring.
- How does the selected trait improve you life?
- How does the trait benefit you?
- What can you do to acquire more value from the positive trait?
Once you’re finished, your writings are available in an essay format. Same with the rest of the Self Authoring components. You can print or email the essay. Do both.
Later, you can take the Present Authoring Virtues program again, and, select different virtues to learn more about your beneficial traits.
This is a response from my Present Authoring Virtues Essay. Nothing omitted.
Am Very goal oriented
- An experience due to the positive trait:
“Having my goals listed in Evernote creates a positive benefit to my life. I have all of my goals listed in Evernote in an organized Notebook. I have current goals, and a goal bank where I list interesting challenges I’m open to pursuing. This helps me because it gives me direction on where I want to go–There’s no confusion on my next directive.”
- A possible alternative outcome:
“I need to stop fearing my goals. Fear is an emotion–it needs to leave. There is nothing to fear, ever, for your goals or your life. All you need to do is the work. Fear makes you procrastinate, fear makes you lazy. All you need to do is follow your rules and soon you’ll be writing novels and hosting the best podcast in the world. But first you must kill fear–and–take exciting risks. Risks make you feel alive and so do risky goals. Not risk in a life-threatening manner, but risk in leaving your comfort zone and doing what you’ve never done before; like writing your first book.”
- Guidelines for general improvement.
“Others will benefits from my virtue when I accomplish my goals and continue creating for them. I’ve been too slow with progress because of fear. Fear will never slow me down again. The more I conquer fear, the feeling, not any one substance, the more I can give to people who need what I have to say or may resonate with my message or my art. Jordan Peterson said there are clones of you in the world. What better time to create art when so many people will benefit?”
Present Authoring Virtues: Program Review
I didn’t like the program because I don’t need to think about my virtues. I have a big- ego. But if you’re feeling blue, this program will remind you of how strong you are. Or give you some confidence. Or both.
Some of the virtues were too specific. It was difficult to recall a memory specific to the virtue. This could also be my fault for selecting the wrong virtues from a range of so many choices.
Part of the virtue process felt like mental-masturbation: it’s easy to focus on your strengths but hard to disarm your weaknesses. This felt like a massage for the ego. I wanted to be torn apart and rebuilt.
Final Rating: 2 out of 5
Future Authoring Program
Future Authoring Program: Overview
The Future Authoring module of the Self Authoring suite is the best of the collection. The 29.99 cost is worth it for Future Authoring alone.
In Future Authoring, you’re asked to paint a mental picture, through authoring, of the ideal future you want for yourself.
You’re asked to day dream about what the ideal future looks like. This phase is important. Take your time. What do you really want? Don’t think about what you should want, or, what you think others want for you. Think about what activities make you the happiest. Think about the moments in the past you were the happiest. What brought these moments on? How can you re-create the happy moments for your future?
You’re asked to think about the people you admire; the places you want to go; and the goals you want to achieve–probably in more detail than you’ve thought about your future before.
Most people are coasting.
Life happens to them–instead of life happening for them. The future authoring program puts the rest of your life in front of you, instead of trailing behind like a lure dragging on the bottom of a river bed.
Future Authoring Program: Process
Future authoring is broken out into two sections: Creating your ideal future & the goals to get there.
Future Authoring Section 1: Your Ideal Future
First, you imagine your ideal future. Take your time. The more you write about your ideal future, in the highest clarity, the better your vision will become and the more likely your future will materialize.
After that: what’s one thing you could do better? Many people have futures they want but don’t do anything to move towards them.
Next, you write about different components of your future life and how they fit in to your vision. These components are:
- Social life
- Leisure or play time
- Family life
The next request from Future Authoring is figuring out qualities you admire about others. You’re asked to pick 2-3 people whom you admire and why. These people are models for your life and they’ll likely have a similar life to your ideal future life.
The last step in the future authoring program is writing about your ideal future with perfect clarity. And writing about the future you want to avoid. Writing about the worst-case scenario for your future is gratifying. It’s difficult to relax, while you know you should be working, when you have a clear picture of what will happen if you don’t achieve your goals.
Future Authoring Section 2: Goal Setting
To achieve your ideal future you need to accomplish goals. Before you can accomplish goals, you need to set them. Clear goals. Unambiguous goals; because ambiguous goals cover your target in a layer of fog, so, you don’t know where to aim, or how to measure your progress towards your destination.
You begin by listing 6-8 goals: A title, and why the goal is important to your future plans. One of mine was becoming an inventor.
Next, you’re asked to prioritize your goals on a number rating from 1-8, or however many goals you selected to author.
After that, you’re asked to evaluate each of your goals against the following criteria:
- Consider the broad personal and social impact of your goals
- Consider the detailed strategies for goal success
- Identify potential obstacles in your way
- How You’ll monitor progress to your goals
This takes a bit of time because each goal you addressed in the beginning of the second phase of future authoring runs through the considerations above. You’ll write a few-thousand words for each goal, for each consideration. This is the last phase before the conclusion. Then you receive your final results.
This is a response from my Future Authoring Essay. Nothing omitted.
evaluating your motives – inventing
For this goal, you might want to consider issues such as the following:
- Do you truly believe that pursuing this goal is important?
- Would you feel ashamed, guilty or anxious if you didn’t?
- Do you want to achieve this goal personally, or are you doing it to please someone else? (It is often a good thing to do something for someone else, but you should know when you are doing that.)
- Are you pursuing this goal because the situation that you find yourself in seems to demand it?
- Is the pursuit of this goal enjoyable, stimulating or satisfying?
- Is this goal part of a deeply felt personal dream?
Please spend a minute or two writing down your reasons for pursuing this goal:
“This goal is truly important. I have inventions in my head that need to be included in the world. This goal is important. It will make money, bring in more freedom, and change the life of others.
If I don’t accomplish this goal I’ll feel terribly guilty. It’s a shame to not give the world what’s in my head. The people need what I have. There will be anxiety if I don’t accomplish these goals because I want my own products. I want to use them because they’ll help my life too.
I’m doing this goal for myself. I think for the money. Or for the challenge. I don’t think I can do it, so I want to do it.
I don’t feel like I’m doing this goal because it’s demanded. I’m doing it because I want to invent. I don’t know if this is enjoyable but I think it will be. I’ll sketch inventions in a notebook then draw them in Cad. I can hire an engineer to work with too.
This goal is part of a dream. I want to be a Renaissance style man who is skilled in many disciplines–like Da Vinci.”
Future Authoring Program: Program Review
What future will work best for you? And, what future do you want to avoid?
Future Authoring asks questions about the future you want and the future you want to avoid–by asking questions. Questions that penetrate deep, deeper than you may have ever considered your life before.
After you visualize your ideal future you set the goals to get there. You’re creating a map to get out of depression and complacency. If you follow the map you’ll get to the destination.
I never thought about my future as much as I have before the Future Authoring Program. This was the most valuable component of the Self Authoring Program. I think there’s value in the program for everyone, even if you’re older and already know what you want to do professionally–you can set personal goals. Or professionally if you aren’t happy.
For the young, Future authoring will set you ahead of your peers. Most young people have no idea what they want to do–they do nothing.
Once you finish the program it’s hard to be lazy. You know what will happen if you don’t work towards your goals. But, you know what happens when you follow your goals too; your best future.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5
Past Authoring Program
Past Authoring Program: Overview
The Past authoring program component of the Self Authoring Suite involves writing your own memoir. Because you can’t get to the destination if you don’t know where you came from, or, what may be holding you back from progressing.
Your past can act like an anchor dragging on the bottom of the ocean. You’re a boat. You can move, a little; but pulling the anchor out of the water, a metaphor for a memory or experience you haven’t yet processed will help you progress faster.
The program is designed to create a clear understanding of your past. Jordan Peterson often says writing is thinking. But, no one really writes anymore. Not to themselves anyhow. The Past Authoring Program helps you make a clear sense of your past by writing your own story: chapter by chapter.
Unresolved issues in your past manifest as trauma happening today. You become a slave to events in your past, and, become inundated with habits you don’t really want. Or habits that don’t suite your current position.
Jordan Peterson says this program is the most difficult and most time consuming of all the programs in the Self Authoring Suite. The Past Authoring Program is good for people who have memories that produce negative feelings, memories older than 18 months.
Memories that produce negative feelings such as guilt, pain, or depression–older than 18 months–are not resolved in your brain. These lingering memories are toxic. Your brain hasn’t processed the painful emotions.
Past Authoring Program: Process
The process begins with dividing your life into seven different chapters, or, as Dr. Peterson calls them: Epochs. Epoch means a period of history in a person’s life. Your Epoch-split will vary on the amount of experience you’ve had and how old you are. Try to break up the sections by clearly defined lines of experience. For example, if you’ve lived in multiple places, you could divide your chapters by your different homes. Or, if you’re younger, you could separate your life by school experiences; high school, the different years; middle school elementary school, and so on.
Then you describe in detail, six important experiences from your first Epoch. You’ll repeat the process of authoring six experiences from each Epoch until you finish. The Self Authoring Suite asks for approximately 1000 characters for each experience. You don’t want to write less, because, we’re processing feelings and emotions from the most important sections of our life. The more detail the better.
Once you finish writing six experiences from each of your epochs, all of your experiences are listed on the next page. You’re asked to select ten. Next, you analyze each event and the effects of the event on your life.
This is a response from my past Authoring Essay. Names are changed.
Community College Epoch – Living with Trevor
Please describe in detail up to six significant experiences that happened to you during this period of your life. You can describe positive and negative experiences. We recommend describing at least four significant experiences from each time period.
For each experience, provide a title (which will be used to refer to this experience later on) and a description of the experience. Later you will explore the impact this experience has had on your life. Here, limit your description to the event itself (approximately 1,000 characters).
“Living with Trevor. His grandma came to visit. Did his mom come? I don’t think so. I never saw his dad. Or his step dad. Did he move there first? I think so. We started good. Then things went downhill. Because I’m critical. I was calling out for help. I think.
I remember when Trevor got his first tattoo. The praying hands on his mid calf. Good tattoo. This was when he went back home to Visit. I smoked with him. I made a big fuss about it because I wanted to be a US Marshal then. I’ve done too many drugs to do it now. I don’t want to either. I like writing.
The apartment was nice. 600$ a month. I had a car, Trevor rode the bus around. I had no thoughts of the future.
You walked in. Saw a couch and a tv. the kitchen had beige counters. Ugly & Peeling. There were ants everywhere. This girl named… Rebecca? Lived by us. She later worked at the LA fitness I worked at in Riverside Someone got her pregnant in college. her up. was years ago. She’s probably doing fine now.”
Past Authoring Program: Program Review
The past authoring program, along with Future authoring, are the best in the Self Authoring Suite. I was amazed, and still am, by how many of my habits, or fears, are lingering cockroaches from experiences in my past I’ve never come to grips with. I know this because while writing I felt negative emotions reliving experiences I’ve hidden in the closet.
Dr. Peterson said the benefits of the Past Authoring Program won’t start to take effect until a few weeks after you finish Past Authoring, while your brain reprocesses the experiences you wrote about consciously.
Past Authoring shouldn’t be rushed.
Instead, Take Past Authoring slowly and carefully consider the experiences in your life most impactful on your behavior today. You can do a lot of good for yourself using the program. Good, that will, potentially, last forever as you slowly unravel a toxic ball of yarn to get to the core of the problem: a memory. Or you.
My only complaint with the Past Authoring Program: many of my experiences had no effect on my life.
For example, I wrote about staying with my Dad at his beach house while I was growing up. A happy memory, but an inconsequential memory nonetheless.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5
More Information on Self Authoring & Final Thoughts
Self Authoring Discussion | Jordan Peterson & Joe Rogan
Steven Crowder and Jordan Peterson on Self Authoring
Past Authoring Explained | H3 Podcast
Jordan Peterson Lecturing | Self Authoring Program
Storing your results
The Self Authoring Suite is a personal journey to self-discovery; carefully planning the future you want to live and how to get there. It’s best to secure this information–you don’t need, or want, anyone who could want to hurt you to see your deep thoughts or secrets.
Don’t store your results in your Self Authoring account.
Instead, store your results in a flash drive or external hard drive; preferably, your storage device is encrypted too. After, delete your results from the Self Authoring Program–you can take the program again, in another year, and see how your life has changed.
External Hard Drive Recommendations:
- Toshiba HDT Canvio Basic External Hard Drive – 1 Terrabyte
- Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive – 1 Terrabyte
- Western Digital Elements Passport External Hard Drive – 4 Terrabyte
Flash Drive Recommendations:
- Samsung Metal 32GB Bar – Waterproof, Shock proof, X-ray proof…
- Nekteck dual flash drive Keychain – 64 GB
- SunData 5 pack Flash Drive – 16GB
Self Authoring | Final thoughts
It took me about a month to finish the entire Self Authoring Suite. I wrote, estimating, 1-3 hours per week. My total word-count across Self authoring, Future authoring, and Present authoring was 20,000 words.
I never looked at my life in the present this deeply. I never analyzed my past at all.
I had no idea many of my fears were caused from lingering experiences in the past I never dealt with–experiences I’m not yet ready to share publicly, but hope to do so one day.
My future is clear of where I see myself if I do everything correctly because of Future Authoring. It’s a good thing–but–know there’s pressure to do the right thing–where before–there wasn’t any pressure to do anything at all.
If I don’t achieve my goals, I have an idea of where my life will be: the future I don’t want, the future I authored in Future Authoring. But, the future I dream of is within my grasp if I make daily progress towards the goals which will enable my personal-utopia, only a few years away.
I never looked this deeply into my past or thought about my future with this much clarity. The Self authoring Suite was painful.
I hurt. I cried. I realized how broken I was. But now I get to pick up the pieces and move forward.
I’m grateful for the Self Authoring Program and the effect it’s had on my life. If you’re confused about your future: buy it. If you’re hurt over your past: buy it. If you don’t know who you are, right now–get the program. It’s only 29.99 and will have a major impact on you now, and youre future.
Have you completed Self Authoring? Post your experience below.