Life today has become so unpredictable and uncertain. One day you could be flying high with a lot of success and the next day you’re facing insurmountable challenges that leave you feeling like giving up. This is why you should have principles that guide you through the good and bad times.
In this article, you’ll learn about the formidable Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life to help you live a stress-free and fulfilling life.
Who Is Jordan Peterson?
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Jordan Peterson is a famous, yet controversial, Canadian psychologist, media commentator, and author. He’s often described as provocative and conventional, mainly because of his provocative rules for life.
Peterson rose to fame in the late 2010s when he started issuing some very conservative opinions on life, particularly on the social and political aspects of life. He describes himself as a traditionalist and a typical British liberal.
Born and raised up in Alberta, northern Canada, Peterson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta. He also has a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University.
He was once a researcher and lecturer at Harvard University before going back to Canada in 1988 to teach psychology at the University of Toronto. Peterson has published several popular books, including Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which was published in 1999, and 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
He has also released numerous YouTube videos in which he talks about different aspects of life. One of his famous videos criticizes the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16) that was meant to give people the right to “gender identity and expression.”
He argued that the bill would make it mandatory for people to include certain gender pronouns in their speech. Peterson equates this to the overall critique of political correctness and the politics of identity.
He was interviewed on many international media stations, with some people accusing him of being homophobic. But he also received immense support from his fans, especially those who hold the same conservative views.
12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
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If you haven’t read the book 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson and you would like to get the gist of it, this article gives you an overview of the 12 rules as presented by the controversial author.
Rule #1: Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back.
This isn’t just about your posture; it’s about exuding confidence wherever you go. There are only two types of people in the world: winners and losers. Winners have self-confidence. That’s why they always stand up straight with their shoulders held back.
Don’t be a loser, who lacks the confidence to stand up straight and look people in the eye. If you believe you can, you will. So, start acting like a winner.
Rule #2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You’re Responsible for Helping.
This rule means that you have to treat yourself the same as you would your children. Show yourself great responsibility and compassion. As much as you have to take care of other people, particularly your loved ones, you are the most important person that you should care for.
Instead of relying on other people for compassion and attention, show yourself the care and compassion you desire. If you mistreat yourself, it’ll automatically have an effect on the people around you because our existence is intertwined.
So, if there’s anyone you need to empower, it’s you. Once you strengthen yourself, you’ll be able to strengthen others.
Rule #3: Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You.
The world is full of negative people. This rule requires you to learn to recognize people’s characters by simply watching them. It also requires you always to exemplify a positive character.
Learn to recognize people with bad intentions and those who want to bring you down. You also need to be able to know when people are trying to use you. Peterson advises you to make friends with only those who want you to succeed.
Rule #4: Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else Is Today.
Quit comparing yourself to other people. Instead, pay keen attention and focus on yourself and what surrounds you. Every day, you should discover something wrong with yourself and try to fix it.
Start with little stuff like bad habits. Doing this keeps you preoccupied with yourself so that you have little time to worry about other people’s actions. The goal is to improve yourself continuously.
Rule #5: Don’t Let Your Kids Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them.
You should never justify your kid’s bad behavior. Always correct them when they do something wrong. Remember that, as a parent, you are your child’s proxy for the world out there. So, it’s your responsibility to how to live and function effectively in modern society.
When your child exudes bad behavior, just imagine how the world would react to it. Your goal is to raise kids who will be likable adults and who can contribute positively to society.
Rule #6: Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World.
Before you go on whining about how “screwed up” society is or how broken the system is, you need to ask yourself if you have your life in perfect order. For example, before you complain about capitalism and the worsening economy, ask yourself if you’re doing enough to take care of your bills.
Also, check yourself continually to see if you’re engaging in any self-deprecating behavior. If you are, start by fixing that. Check if you have the right relationships and stop creating unnecessary problems for yourself. Carefully analyze your life and figure out how to fix what’s wrong.
Rule #7: Pursue What Is Meaningful, Not What Is Expedient.
Being expedient means following people and things blindly. It involves pursuing short-term gains and telling lies to have your way. Thinking like this is very narrow and self-centered.
Expediency will only satisfy you for the moment, but pursuing a meaningful life will give you real value and an opportunity to contribute positively to the world. You can have meaning without having what you desire.
Rule #8: Tell the Truth. Or At Least Don’t Lie.
Although some lies may seem small and insignificant, they’ll eventually compound and become a heavy burden to carry. That’s why you should endeavor to tell the truth all the time. Be truthful even when it makes you feel weak.
The truth might cause you to be rejected but it will set you free. You’ll no longer suffer from the pain of having to tell lies repeatedly.
Rule #9: Assume the Person You Are Listening to Knows Something You Don’t.
Learn to listen to understand what the other person is saying, not to respond to them. Some people won’t listen to others because they think they know everything. But Peterson advises to always assume that the other person knows something that you don’t.
Even Socrates – one of the wisest men on earth – knew that he didn’t know everything. He was always quick to admit that he knew nothing. So, be humble and listen to other people. You may not have to agree with everything they say, but it’s good to listen to them.
Rule #10: Be Precise in Your Speech.
Do go broadcasting everything about you to everybody you come across. Choose wisely the people who need to know what you’ve achieved, what you’re doing, and your future plans because not everybody will be happy for you.
Choose your words wisely and be precise in your speech. This prevents you from saying things you don’t need to say. Your speech should be honest and deliberate.
Rule #11: Do Not Bother Children While They Are Skateboarding.
This doesn’t mean preventing your children from enjoying a good session of skateboarding. It has a deeper meaning than just taking away the skateboard. In the complex psyche of people, it’s okay for people to test their limits and put themselves in danger.
That’s how children learn. As a parent, don’t make your children soft by being so protective. You have to let them explore and become tough adults who can endure immense pain.
Rule #12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street.
Find time to enjoy little moments in your life. Genuinely enjoy things that bring a smile to your face.