12 Rules For Life – Jordan Peterson | Book Summary

Book Name – 12 Rules For Life

Author Name – Jordan Peterson

A successful and meaningful life is the one that is based upon clarity. And the clarity comes from rules.

Rules are not to bound you in any sort of bondage but to give you the control of your life.

When you are clear about the rules and the values you want to live by, that’s the moment you take control of your life and happiness.

If you will not live by your own rules and values, you will eventually become enslaved by the others.

There are 12 rules for life given by the author Sir Jordan Peterson in his book which will help you to live a self-ruled life.

12 Rules For Life

Rule 1 – Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back

12 rules for life book summary
  • Standing up straight with your shoulders back is the first step towards taking control of yourself.
  • This may seem like advice that you would receive from your grandparents. But in reality, it is deeply rooted in science.
  • As you correct your posture, your brain releases a bit of serotonin (the happy chemical) which in turn makes you feel a little bit stronger and confident.
  • This change in your body posture and behavior becomes easily noticeable to everyone around you.
  • You will also notice people around you treating you a little bit better, which makes you feel even more confident and stronger.
  • Standing up straight with your shoulders back actually gives you a dominant body posture, thus makes you feel strong and confident.

Rule 2 – Treat Yourself Like Someone You’re Responsible For Helping

12 rules for life book summary
  • Imagine that you are prescribed a drug. Not for yourself, but for your loving dog.
  • Chances are you will give utmost care about the medication, the dose, the timing, and everything around it.
  • But in case the medicine is for yourself, chances are you will not take it that much seriously. You will forget or become busy doing other stuff.
  • This is because of the belief that you are not worth helping.
  • To most people, taking care of someone else comes much easier and much more natural than taking care of oneself. It’s unfortunate but true.
  • You must try to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally as if you’re helping somebody else.
  • Believe that you are on a vital mission in this world and you are here to make a big difference. Thus it is your moral obligation to take the best care of your health.

Rule 3 – Make Friends With People Who Want The Best For You

12 rules for life book summary
  • The person you will become depends upon the people you spend time with.
  • Surround yourself with people who only want the best for you. Those are your real wellwishers.
  • Take care of the people who want to see you succeed and want to see the best version of you.
  • Real friends push one another to greater heights in all fields of life, call each other on each other’s bullshit, and don’t let you mistreat yourself.
  • Avoid at all costs people who want to drag you down to their level just to feel good about themselves.
  • Such toxic people must have no place in your life.
  • Your friends must inspire you for your dreams rather than criticizing you.

Rule 4 – Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not To Who Someone Is Today

12 rules for life book summary
  • We’ve all compared ourselves to someone who is doing better than ourselves at some point in our life.
  • We have forgotten that the grass is always greener on the other side, after all.
  • These days with the rise of social media, it is extremely easy to find someone who is doing better than you.
  • It doesn’t matter how good you are doing. There will always be someone doing better.
  • So it’s complete bullshit and a waste of time to compare yourself with anybody else.
  • You lose two pounds? Well here is somebody who lost twenty.
  • You made $10,000 this month? Well here is someone who sold their company for ten million.
  • Examples can be found everywhere, but instead of looking for examples and making yourself feel miserable – you should start focusing on yourself.
  • Define your goals. Chop them down into achievable tasks and get busy crushing them.
  • Try to do just a little bit better every single day.
  • When done correctly, you’ll soon stop obsessing about everyone else’s garden because you’ll be too busy working on yours.

Rule 5 – Do Not Let Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them

12 rules for life book summary
  • This rule in other words aims to make your children productive members of society.
  • The way kids learn is by testing the boundaries of the world.
  • They push in every direction possible just to see how far they can go.
  • The job of a parent, on the other hand, is to teach the children what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  • If children receive no feedback whatsoever the incorrect feedback, they’re going to have trouble adjusting to society later and that will in turn hinder their happiness.
  • A parent needs to set rules and guidelines, but not too many, and use the minimum force needed in order to enforce those rules.
  • This is important because what the children learn in childhood affects their whole life.

Rule 6 – Set Your House In Order Before You Criticize The World

12 rules for life book summary
  • Before blaming someone or something else for your own issues you need to take a pause.
  • Take a step back, and review if you have truly done everything in your power to solve the problem.
  • Ask yourself, “have you taken advantage of every opportunity, or are you just pointing fingers because it’s the much easier solution”? Check it out!
  • This calls for a deep examination of oneself in order to stop behaviors that you know are wrong or destructive.
  • Make it a habit to say only things that make you strong and do only things that you speak of with honor.

Rule Number 7 – Pursue What Is Meaningful, Not What Is Expedient

12 rules for life book summary
  • This rule goes very deep in real life. And this is a must-follow rule in order to have a real meaningful and successful life.
  • The rule calls for discovering your own meaning of life by doing good and living a life dedicated to the long term happiness.
  • To pursue what is meaningful, you must also be aware of the things you should not be doing.
  • It also follows the need to give up short term gratifications that would end up with only bad results.
  • The expedient, the immediate gratification, works only for a short period but achieving those long term goals is what will ultimately give your life more meaning and more happiness.
  • You must think deep, discover your true self, and your true happiness and work towards achieving it.

Rule Number 8 – Tell The Truth Or At-least, Don’t Lie

12 rules for life book summary
  • Lying is definitely a bad habit. But lying to your own self is the worst crime you can do in your life.
  • It doesn’t matter how many lies you tell yourself, but deep down, you are quite aware that those things are inconsistent with your true beliefs.
  • As a result, you feel constantly unsettled, restless, and out of balance.
  • Develop your personal truth instead and act in accordance with it.
  • Trust me it is not easy, but it will ultimately reduce anxiety, increase happiness, and make you feel a lot better about yourself.

Rule Number 9 – Assume That The Person You’re Listening To Might Know Something You Don’t

  • People often talk, as it helps them to think. Actually, in order to process their own thoughts, even feelings, and emotions, people need to verbalize them first.
  • So when you listen to someone, especially in a serious conversation, think of your job as helping the other person think.
  • Sometimes, you might say nothing. Other times, you might need to help them reach their own conclusion and sometimes you need to be the voice of common sense and disagree with the person.
  • Whatever the case, your job is to listen – genuinely listen to the other person with complete attention.
  • Then summarize the other person’s message.
  • Taking this approach will inevitably force you to pay close attention to what they’re saying and try to understand it.
  • You don’t need to formulate your own answer. This may take away your attention.

Rule Number 10 – Be Precise In Your Speech

  • Stress and anxious feelings typically come from the unknown or unclear. Lack of clarity about anything will make you anxious and restless about it.
  • It makes you feel not in control and completely out of mind as you don’t really know what the exact problem is.
  • The answer to any such vague problem is – Be Specific. Because specificity turns that chaos around.
  • Whenever you have a problem, when you’re specific about it, you can figure out a solution much faster.
  • You must check these specific questions.
    • What is bothering you?
    • Why it is bothering you?
    • What can you do about it?
  • You can simply solve any problem in your life with precision and specificity.
  • So be clear and specific.

Rule Number 11 – Do Not Bother Children When They’re Skateboarding

  • This is a tough one to explain, and to your surprise, it has very little to do with skateboarding.
  • Peterson basically argues that the relatively modern concept of gender equality is incorrect; in the sense that there is no need for complete equality in every behavior, at all times, in all situations.
  • Men and women are not the same. They are quite different biologically, have different qualities, different instincts and we should not deny this difference at all.
  • Respecting all the genders in society is very important that comes under ethics.
  • But ignoring the innate differences and creating policies that force people against their nature might have unintended and serious consequences down the road.
  • So the author argues that it is incorrect to try to make girls “tougher” or boys more “sensitive”, especially if that goes against their own natural tendencies.
  • In other words, let boys be boys and girls be girls. It is certainly a somewhat controversial chapter of the book and has inspired quite the debate online.

Rule Number 12 – Pet The Cat When You Encounter One On The Street

12 rules for life book summary
  • This is much similar to popular sayings such as “Stop and smell the roses” or “Enjoy the small things in life” and it is simply that.
  • Life is tough. Bad things happen many times and there is suffering all around. We cannot deny it.
  • You could get lost in the sea of negativity world offers or accept the situation for what it is and let it go.
  • Of course, the second alternative is clearly a more productive way of living. You should let go of things and situations that you can’t control.
  • Learn to accept life for what it is and make sure to enjoy the little pleasures life offers you every day.
  • A kid playing in a puddle of water, the smell of freshly baked bread, a good view, a gettogether with your loved ones, and of course, petting a random cat on the street if you encounter one.

You may check out this book on Amazon as well.

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