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Pay attention!

Pay attention!

About two weeks ago I was watching a TEDx presentation by Jordan Peterson titled “Potential.” As I was lying in bed watching on my phone late at night, I suddenly got an incoming call that interrupted the video. It was from my dad. The incoming call notification came on for just a brief moment though — just enough to see that it was a call from my dad — then it went away and the video continued playing.

After waiting a few seconds to see if my dad would call back, I decided to call him and check what was up. I didn’t bother to pause the video, left it playing in full screen in the background, and just went to the phone app and called my dad. When he answered, I asked him if he had called. “Yes,” he responded, “but it was by mistake.” I remember thinking to myself that this was strange and something seemed a bit off. After I hung up a few seconds later, the phone app closed and as its screen animated and faded away, Peterson’s presentation, still playing in the background, filled the screen on my phone at around the 15 minute and 20 second mark as you can see in the above screenshot.

Pay attention!,” the message read. I remember feeling a bit startled unexpectedly seeing and reading that. And I realized that I probably had to pay special attention to what was going to follow in Peterson’s presentation. As I found out, not only was that the best part of the presentation, but I actually needed to hear and be reminded of that information again. It’s a very important message, and I highly recommend listening to it for yourself. Watch the whole presentation (embedded below), but the most important part starts at 15:20 all the way to the end.

As far as I’m concerned, this was another one of those instances of the universe speaking to me and providing guidance through a chain of perfectly timed and synchronized events. It’s also interesting how Peterson’s message was preceded by a call from my dad, as if “using” him to tell me to pay attention to what was going to follow. And this “using” of my dad — a figure with some authority in my life — is also interesting in light of the below quote.

Synchronicity appears to be a phenomenon in which events converge in ways that are so incredibly improbable that chance seems out of the question. Rather it appears as if some unseen presence is mysteriously orchestrating events so as to shape them into a message for us. This presence seems responsive to our needs, since it speaks to situations in which we need counsel. By giving us this counsel, it displays the characteristics one would associate with a counselor, a guide, or a parent. It seems to have our welfare in mind, since it apparently tries to move us in the direction of achieving successful outcomes and realizing our highest potentials. 1 Robert Perry, Signs (2009)

In fact, I remember being a bit bored during the first part of Peterson’s presentation because most of the things he was discussing weren’t new to me, and I had noticed that on some topics I already had better information compared to what Peterson was explaining. For example, when it came to the use of the symbol of the eye by the Egyptians, it seemed that Peterson didn’t know in much detail exactly why they were using it and how much they actually knew about its meaning (I have more details on that here). But despite that, Peterson was obviously able to come to correct and very significant conclusions.

So without that strange call from my dad “by mistake,” precisely timed to tell me to “Pay attention!,” I probably wouldn’t have continued watching the whole presentation, and would have missed some very important information relating to my life at that moment.


  1. Note that Peterson’s presentation is also titled “Potential.” ↩︎


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