12 Rules of Life Summary- Life can be stressful at times. This is especially so for young adults who are eager to grow and mature as individuals. In order to facilitate this process, we must look outward and contemplate the way in which we live our lives. Fortunately, there is no one better suited for this task than Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.
Peterson has spent the last few years compiling a list of 12 rules he believes will help people lead meaningful and successful lives. These rules not only make up Peterson’s personal code of conduct; they also serve as an observation of life from an outsider’s perspective. If you feel like there is something missing in your life right now, it might be time to consider implementing these principles into your routine.
Rule 1: Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back
The first rule of life is the most important. Peterson describes the process of human maturation as: “the process of growing up, by which we discover that we are not alone.” The way in which we interact with the world around us is a key indicator of how we are doing as individuals. When we are young, we have an innate desire to fit in and make a positive impact.
This leads us to follow rules that are based more on fear than logic. As we get older, we are faced with the realization that we are not a part of a herd of sheep. We are responsible for the way in which we express ourselves and interact with the world. The way in which we stand, walk, and carry ourselves says a lot about who we are. If your shoulders are drooping when you walk, you are subconsciously conveying to the world that you feel small and insignificant. If your shoulders are held high, you are sending a message that says you are proud and confident.
Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping
Whether we like it or not, we are responsible for other people around us. The way in which we treat ourselves is a good predictor of the way in which we will treat other people. Peterson notes that: “Self-esteem is the measure of how well you think of yourself. It is not the measure of other people’s opinion of you.”
In other words, we have the power to choose how we feel about ourselves. This can be difficult to do when we are faced with outside pressures, but it is essential to living a full and happy life. You do not have to be someone you are not just to make other people happy, you do have to be happy with yourself.
Rule 3: Make Friends with People Who Want the Best For You
Peterson explains that: “If you surround yourself with people who are better than you, you will stagnate.” This is obviously important, especially if you want to improve yourself and reach your full potential. If you surround yourself with people who are not striving to become better people, you are more likely to end up in the same place. This is especially the case when we are young. For this reason, it is important to make friends with people who are on the path to achieving their goals. To do this, look for people who are ambitious, driven, and enthusiastic about life.
Rule 4: Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not Who Someone Else is Today
Although this may seem like a pointless exercise, it is actually one of the most valuable parts of Peterson’s code of conduct. Peterson explains that: “The real test of character is not when you fall into difficulties, but when you overcome them.” This is an important lesson to learn and one that should be applied to both our professional and personal lives. We are often so focused on the present that we forget that we have changed and grown as people over time. This is not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be proud of.
Rule 5: Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them
Peterson explains that a parent’s job is not to like their children, it is to raise them to be worthy of being liked. If you are constantly complaining about your children, you are probably not doing a good job. If you want to like your children, you need to like the way they are. Children are a reflection of their parents, so if you do not like the way your children are behaving, it is likely that you do not like yourself either.
Rule 6: Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World
Peterson explains that it does not matter how bad the world is; it is still better than where we are right now. The way in which we interact with the world is a key indicator of our character. The way in which we treat the people around us and the things we choose to invest in says a lot about who we are as individuals. If you walk around with a frown on your face and a scowl on your face, you are sending a very confusing message. If you walk around smiling and genuinely liking people, you are sending a much more positive message.
Rule 7: Pursue What is Meaningful (Not What is Expedient)
This rule embraces the idea that we are responsible for the way in which we live our lives. In other words, it is up to us to decide what we want to do and how we want to spend our time. What we choose to do with our lives says a lot about who we are as individuals. The way in which we spend our time says a lot about the way in which we spend our lives.
Rule 8: Tell the Truth, or at least Do Not Lie
Peterson explains that truth is a lot more powerful than lies. In fact, Peterson believes that the only thing that is more powerful than the truth is the willingness to tell the truth. This is a rule that should not be overlooked. The way in which we interact with the world is a great indicator of both our character and honesty.
It is important to be honest with yourself and honest with other people. To be honest, it is also important to tell the truth about the things that really matter. If you spend all of your time worrying about what people think of you, you are not doing anything important with your life. Instead, you should be focusing on the things that really matter.
Rule 9: Assume that the Person You Are Listening to Might Know Something You Don’t
Peterson believes that it is impossible to know everything, which means it is important to have a willingness to learn. This is one of the most valuable aspects of Peterson’s code of conduct. The willingness to learn new things and the willingness to ask questions is one of the best ways to expand both your mind and your horizons. The more you learn, the better equipped you will be to make a positive impact on the world.
Rule 10: Be Precise in Your Speech
Peterson believes that the way in which we communicate says a lot about the kind of person we are. This is especially true if you want people to respect you. The way in which you communicate says a lot about the kind of person you are. This can be difficult to do because we are often not even aware of the power we have over the way in which we communicate.
Peterson explains that we are like “a garden that is overgrown with weeds and needs to be cleared. We have to cultivate good speech.” This is a valuable and important rule that should be followed at all times.
Rule 11: Do Not Bother Children when they are Skateboarding
Peterson notes that we should never bother our children, but we should give them space to “figure things out on their own.” This is a valuable rule that allows children to become independent individuals. Children need to experience failure in order to learn from it, but they do not need to be rescued.
Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street
Peterson recommends this as a final pet if you happen to encounter a cat while you are out and about. This is a rather bizarre and unexpected rule, but it is nonetheless a valuable one. You may be wondering why we would want to do this, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
Cats are the natural inhabitants of the animal kingdom. Moreover, they are a symbol of domestication, a quality that is increasingly becoming endangered. By petting a cat you are simultaneously helping to sustain the human-animal bond, which is rapidly disintegrating. On top of this, petting a cat is a low-risk activity that can be performed by almost anyone. It can be done while you are walking, shopping, or taking a break from your daily routine.
Peterson’s 12 rules of life can be a valuable asset for anyone who is struggling to find meaning in their lives. You may encounter situations where you feel like you are approaching a dead end. By brainstorming a list of rules you can live by, you can begin to focus your energy on finding solutions.
Life is inherently stressful, which is why it is so crucial to take stock of your surroundings. You may be surprised to learn that you are not alone. If you feel like you are struggling, it might be a good idea to consider implementing a few of Jordan Peterson’s rules into your daily routine.
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