Jordan Peterson has often been described as a controversial figure in the media. However, what is less controversial is his latest book ’12 Rules for Life’ which has been an international bestseller for quite a while now. Peterson, who gained wide recognition after a series of video lectures on Youtube, argues that one could make their life better by following the 12 rules. So, what are those rules? We take you straight to the spoilers.
Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. This rule not only serves as a constant reminder for you to follow the rules but also takes you towards taking responsibility of your life. However simple it may seem, once you try following it, you’d see how it works at psychological level.
Rule 2: Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping. This, put together with Rule 3, is supposed to treat yourself with dignity. Something we often fail to do.
Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you. In Peterson’s words, this rule is not about making your life easier; on the contrary, this will make your life more challenging. But that is what we strive for: a meaningful life.
Rule 4: Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today. This rule will help you to take care of envy. By focusing on yourself, you are able to do much better in life than otherwise.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. This rule, along with a few others, is focused on parenting. And the idea is, you do don’t want to encourage certain behaviour in your children that will make you dislike them. Because that will also make the world dislike them. So, sometimes, you may have to take the difficult path.
Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world. This message is reflected in most of Peterson’s speeches and interviews. He wants you to take control of your life before you go out to bring revolutions. If you cannot change yourself, don’t expect the world to bend for you.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). According to Peterson, this is the heart of the book. It is extremely easy to do what is expedient; what is difficult, however, is to pursue a life of meaning, which reaps far more rewards in the long terms.
Rule 8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie. We don’t realise but lying can have disastrous consequences. It might work in the short term, but in the long term, there is every chance that it may damage your relationships and your belief in yourself.
Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t. What you know is important, but not more important than what you don’t know. Acknowledge the fact that you may not know certain things that the other person might. This alone will take you places.
Rule 10: Be precise in your speech. Speech is often a manifestation of our thoughts and both have a tendency to affect each other. When we learn to be precise in our speech, we get precise in our thoughts, and ultimately actions. And the more precise we get, the more likely it is for us to see our goals and achieve them.
Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding. World is a dangerous place. You may protect your children in certain places but you are not going to be around always. So, instead of sheltering them, make them strong and independent. Let them fall, let them make mistakes – that way they will be far more equipped for life.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. This is a metaphor for dealing with loss and tragedy. Peterson says, sometimes you need to think in terms of years or a lifetime, and sometimes – especially when it is a tragic situation – you might want to go moment by moment. Take pleasure in little things. That will help you tremendously.