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12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson > Book Summary


  • Book Name - 12 Rules For Life
  • Book Author - Jordan Peterson

 Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He went viral after he supposedly criticised legislation in Canada regarding the use of transgender pronouns. Although he's got a bunch of social justice warriors chasing him with pitchforks, millions have been inspired by his enthusiasm and unique outlook on life. His most recent book, "12 Rules For Life", quickly became the number one best selling book on Amazon this year. In this article, I will write on stories from both my life and Peterson's to illustrate what the 12 rules are, so be sure to read the article to the end.

Rule one: Stand straight with your shoulders back. It will change how yourself and other people perceive you on a neural level. You'll be more likely to attract a mate, find it easier to pay attention to subtle social cues, and be treated by people differently. You have more confidence and fill your brain with healthy levels of serotonin. On the contrary, a slumpy posture will render you more likely to abuse drugs. You have less zest for life. And you increase the likelihood of getting heart disease, cancer, and dementia.

Rule two: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Take this scenario, 100 sick people are prescribed a drug. One third won't fill the prescription. And the rest will fill it, but will take it incorrectly. Now, imagine it's not you who are sick, but your dog, Scruffy. You take Scruffy to the vet, and the vet gives you a prescription. What's bizarre here is that most of you have every reason to distrust a vet as much as you do a doctor, yet you are fulfilling a prescription for your pet. It seems we take more care for our pets than ourselves. Ultimately, what I got from Peterson was to establish your values in the direction you are heading in order to treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. This can be difficult, but it's 10 times better to have a rough idea of your values and direction than nothing at all.

Rule three: Make friends with people who want the best for you. Most people have loser friends. Let's be real. Friends they just hang out with because they're roommates, they went to school together, or they enjoy smoking weed. Does this sound like you? If so, it's time to do an audit. Who in your friendship circle is actually pushing you to be a better person? Who makes you smile when you are around them? If none of your friends fit this criteria, you should seriously reconsider who you are hanging around.

Rule four : is Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. My friend and I both had Website. We were both putting tremendous of into our website, but hers just wouldn't grow, but mine would. She'd always say she was proud of me, but then follow it up with a dim face, telling me how jealous she was of my success. You've probably found yourself in a similar situation. This would go on and on. And 'til this day, she remains where she is. And I say this at the risk of sounding like a condescending twat. But the reality is, if she continues to compare herself to others, she will continually be frustrated. What I found helps is just realising that there will always be someone doing better than you. So why on Earth would you waste your time comparing yourself?

Rule five: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. Peterson outlines parenting rules in this chapter, but, to be honest, I was more interested in the discussion about whether you should hit your misbehaving child. Picture this, you walk into your living room and see little boy Jimmy prodding a fork into the electrical socket. You shout, "Jimmy, stop that!" He doesn't stop. "Jimmy, stop that right now." He doesn't stop. So what do you do? Well, the answer is simple according to Peterson, whatever will spot it fastest, within reason. Because the alternative could be fatal, in this scenario, a slap in the face may be justified, if that's what it takes. What do you think? Comment your thoughts below.

Rule six: Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world. Nihilism, you know, the belief that everything is fundamentally meaningless. Now, I struggled immensely with this last year, to the point of stuffing myself with seven Mars bars a day and abusing an opiate-like substance called kratom. I saw absolutely no reason for this website to exist, let alone for myself and the world to exist. It was too much to bear. But thankfully, I made it out. And now I see the six months of existential anguish as one of the best things that has ever happened to me. So before we criticise the world, Peterson suggests you start to stop doing what you know to be wrong.

Rule seven: Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient. Pursue pleasure, lie, cheat, steal, deceive, manipulate, but don't get caught. In an ultimately meaningless universe, what possible difference could it make? That's what it means to be expedient. And to this, Peterson is opposed. He arrives at this conclusion based on a lengthy analysis of the works of Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, The Bible, mass shootings, and more. There may be no inherent meaning for your existence, but you can make your own.

Rule eight: Tell the truth, or at least, don't lie. Picture this: You are a medical student, and you walk into a hospital with your instructor, along with eight other students. You are here on an expedition. You pass the mental health ward. And, as you do, a schizophrenic patient approaches. In a childlike manner, she asks you, "Why are you all standing here?" "What are you doing?" "Can I come along with you?" So what do you say? Nobody wanted to say anything that may have come across as a rejection to a potentially volatile and already hurt patient. But nobody wanted to say yes either. Peterson faced this exact scenario, and he ended up telling the truth. He said that we're new students training to be psychologists, and she couldn't join for that reason. She looked hurt, but only for a moment. She understood and moved on. That's not to say that all situations in life will pan out like this, but the point is that dishonesty will always come back to bite you. So tell the truth, or at least, don't lie.

Rule nine: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. You'd be surprised what you can learn by shutting up and truly listening.

Rule 10: Be precise in your speech. You wake up in pain. You might be dying slowly of a horrible disease. You refuse to tell your doctor about your pain, so what you have is unknowing. You could have a stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer all at the same time. Who knows? But, if you talk to your doctor, all those terrible possible diseases will dissipate, likely into one disease or perhaps even nothing. But you'd only know this if you were precise in your speech, which is telling your doctor in this case. For me, this lesson is most effectively applied by writing your thoughts on paper, especially when it's about something that is bothering you, such as an issue in your intimate relationship.

Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. I believe the following quote sums up this rule perfectly. "When the boys were spinning donuts, they were also testing the limits of their cars, their ability as drivers, and their capacity for control in an out-of-control situation." "When they told off the teachers, they were pushing against authority to see if there was any real authority there, the kind that could be relied on in principle in a crisis." "When they quit school, they went to work as rig roughnecks, when it was 40 bloody degrees below zero." "It wasn't weakness that propelled so many out of the classroom, where a better future arguably awaited." "It was strength."

And the final Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. Ginger is a cat that lives across the street from Peterson. Ginger waltzes across the road to play with Peterson's dog, Sikko. Peterson pats Ginger. Now it's moments like these that give the bad days a little extra light. Small opportunities like this may confront you from time to time, but only if you pay careful attention. Don't be afraid to go out of your own way and indulge in these pockets of light to give yourself a break from the absurdity of existence.

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