Navigating relationships when you undergo significant change

Hi there, I am going to try and keep things a little anonymous for predictable reasons. However I have found myself watching Jordan Peterson’s content for many months and I resonate with it very strongly. Ever since I was little I would try and look at anything as the sum of it’s parts and stood out socially a lot. In my mid 20’s (32 currently) I was diagnosed with higher functioning Asperger’s Syndrome and in my case this means I am:

  • passively hyper-analytical. What I mean is I can’t switch off my brain and typical of a person with Asperger’s if I have a problem or idea that I can’t reconcile for moral reasons I pretty much shut down.
  • an IQ that has had me reach high levels of aptitude in a number of fields
    • chef 3 1/2 years as a professional chef
    • teaching 6 years in highschools and 6+ years privately (including a masters in further and higher education)
    • professional guitarist (4 years)
    • competed in basketball on a national and international level
    • represented my university in power lifting and practised as a qualified personal trainer for 3 years
      etc etc etc

So I feel allowed to say that I am a pretty capable person. Things I often hear are that I am a very quick learner, natural teacher, very pleasant, great attention to detail etc.

But here is my biggest issue. Coming across Jordan Peterson and his evidence based philosophies has not given me necessarily new ideas, but has reinforced what I have held true for a long time and put it into greater focus. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you are doing many things on a daily basis to become a stronger, morally grounded and capable human being. But what do you do when your nature is completely tuned to becoming good at things and when you try to cooperate or collaborate with others, you find yourself drowning in a sea of politics?

Romantically I find myself at a loss because the people I meet just want to sit in front of the television and eat junk food (contrary to dating profiles). They don’t enjoy a deep conversation and if they are open minded enough they can’t contemplate many of the things you are talking about. For better clarity think of having discussions about the kinds of topics Dr Peterson Covers.

Professionally I left mainstream education because in my country it’s very hard to get a job because schools are only hiring newly qualified teachers to siphon money for salaries in other places… The last school I applied to hadn’t hired a fully qualified teacher in 9 years… You then factor in the amount of teachers putting in late nights to do the coursework for their students, cocaine abuse amongst teachers along with the inside vs outside politics… it’s insanely toxic.

Extra curricular activities. Asperger’s people are known for having a “special interest” that defines them to a large extent. For me and the way I grew up this special interest became more of an ethic for understanding things and becoming generally good than one specific thing… that is until I started doing a particular martial art. Again people see that I am a quick learner, one of the brown belts (the last before black) kept remarking that there was something I wasn’t telling them. In a year I almost have my black belt (on average it takes 2-4 years) and I truly love it more than anything I’ve ever done. If I had done this at a young age, this would have been my special interest. I read books on it, research, watch seminars in Japanese, French, Korean, Russian etc… I’m addicted. But the issue is coaching, clubs, politics and bad information being taught. In a year I have watched and absorbed more material than the majority of my peers. I’ve entered three tournaments all aimed for black belts and have won all three for my weight class and two open weight categories too. I also started helping to coach a children’s class for the last 6+months and the children have gone from insane, badly behaved children getting nowhere to now having 4 kids entering competitions for the first time in years. Unfortunately the coach I’ve been working with has gone back into his old habits and is undoing all the work I’ve put in out of pride and insecurity.

So what do I do? I practice meditation, I’ve cleaned my life up even more and added much more responsibility. My diet is immaculate (wholefood paleo making 90% of food from scratch with careful supplementation), I exercise most days to a high level, I practice gratefulness and work very hard. But this is all within my own “island”. How do you negotiate life when you are already talented and trained at talking clearly with empathy, articulation and charisma but find yourself constantly hitting brick walls? Brick walls representing people who are intensely selfish with huge flaws that have a direct effect on yourself and others? I’ve had to contend with intensely defensive people for all the reasons Dr Peterson has outlined. Selfishness and doing everything to justify their poor choices and retreating or besmirching your reputation if they feel intellectually threatened… When you provide clear, calm and rational propositions it enrages many into simple character assassination…

I always thought of myself as a liberal forward thinking person but I realise I am actually a lot more conservative than I gave myself credit for, and I think in a good way. The more I learn and understand about myself and others the more “disagreeable” I find myself because I see people under their masquerade. So do I become a more hyper competitive person who lives their dream at the sacrifice of social harmony? I just want to live and breathe what I am passionate about and it has me to a point of moving to another country for more like minded values and morals… But I don’t know what to do and I am starting to think that the road to self “enlightenment” is a very lonely one…

Interesting title, and, I’m not reading all this. “Strive for brevity”? Could you maybe bold five or six key phrases?

I’m reading your last sentence, and yes, that seems very true.


You aim to tame and fortify your worst and best characteristics in order to become a person that will fulfil their potential and leave the world in a better place than when they found it. The problem is the vast majority of people do not feel this way. It’s all about justifying vices and torturing yourself with feelings of inadequacy, after enough time you forget those but are left a dogmatic person on auto pilot. So when it comes to creating relationships and striving for excellence… how do you balance the two? If you really take things seriously and you want to truly get things done… how do you cope in a world filled with people who will mostly reject your morals and hard work ethic? Become a productive island or sell out your aspirations in order to have a wife, family and to just fit in?