Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan Peterson’s best-seller, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is an easy-to-digest book for everyone from all walks of life. It is brilliant in that it is a general guideline to hack life. This equates to something like a Nash Equilibrium strategy in which you play by the optimal strategy taking into account other people’s actions.
If you are a practical person and just want a set of guidelines to live by, this is your book. It does not complicate you too much with crazy theoretical details. This is simply a very practical book on how to orient yourself in this world in the best way possible.
So forget about just focusing on Darwinism, survival of the fittest, and climbing the dominance hierarchy. If you apply these rules to your everyday life, you will AUTOMATICALLY rise up the dominant hierarchy and be worshiped by males and selected by males. These rules are simply traits and characteristics of being a BOSS.
Jordan Peterson writes in a clear and concise manner. There is absolutely no fluff or anything written that is unnecessary or superfluous. For more theoretical concepts behind the ideas that drive these 12 rules, you should definitely read Maps of Meaning first. Please see our detailed review here.
Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back
This is the first rule because it is the one that most people are stuck on. Before you can go out and conquer the unknown and share that knowledge with the world, you have to stand up straight to even be courageous enough to make the first step out. In other words, be a confident and competent person first and foremost.
Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
Jordan Peterson says here that we are much more likely to fill a prescription for our pets than for ourselves. This is because we are most ashamed of ourselves and our fallacies. Most people cannot even begin to admit to themselves that they need help. So this rule means, learning to take responsibility for yourself. It is the first step in being able to tackle the unknown.
Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you
This is a very self-explanatory rule. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and your goals in life. If someone is always negative and doesn’t want the best of you, there is no reason to keep them around in your life.
Rule 4: Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today
This is a rule we always tend to break because it is so easy to get into the game of comparing ourselves. Social media platforms make it so easy these days to constantly be comparing yourself with other people’s achievements. This is a second-rate game like the game Cain was playing with God. The real game is with yourself. You need to be asking yourself how you can conquer the unknown and share that with the community.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
If your children do things that make you hate them, you have already failed as a parent. Also, if you dislike your kids, it will show and will influence their brain and social development. Since you are much bigger and stronger than your kids, your aggression can really get out of control if you end up hating your kids over something. And this never leads to good things for your kid. Instead, they need discipline and authority, not a tyrannical mother or father.
Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
This is a very dark chapter in the book about mass shootings and serial killers. Jordan Peterson says here that the path that many mass shooters take is that the world is full of suffering and there’s no point or meaning to life other than to suffer. So I might as well kill innocent people to show how unjust and arbitrary the world is. Peterson warns us that before you blame misfortunes on the state of being or randomness, maybe it is your own problem. So clean your room and set yourself up straight first, before you go around blaming the world for your problems.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
This rule has to do with hedonism and the pursuit of happiness, which is a short-term pleasure. But every time you take short-term pleasures, you are essentially robbing the future. With alcohol and drugs, you expediently create fun experiences, only to have a hangover the next day. There is no such thing as free happiness and pleasure. It all comes at a cost. Instead, pursue what is meaningful in your life, because at least that has a purpose and you are driven to wake up every day.
Rule 8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
This is a big rule that many people violate. It also includes telling the truth to yourself. You need to tell the truth because nobody really gets away with lying. If you lie about things, you pay for them with your conscience. And if you lie to yourself and avoid your problems, you are just digging a hole for yourself that gets deeper and deeper. People are smart and can even sense when you are lying to yourself and acting out of character.
Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
Many people fall into this egocentric view of themselves where everything in their world is right and things that don’t fit into their belief system is wrong. The truth is we don’t know what the objective truth is because there is so much unknown in the world and universe. Don’t be a tyrant to yourself and your belief system. Maybe what someone has to say has some merit, so don’t be so proud or stubborn to immediately dismiss it.
Rule 10: Be precise in your speech
If you are not precise in your speech, then you are just a set of potential possibilities. Precise speech gives others a precise reference point. Imprecise speech leaves too much for interpretation, which can end up disastrous in the world.
Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding
This rule says, don’t stop children from being children! They are experimenting and doing risky things because it is part of the process of growing up and becoming adults. If you prevent them from having a best friend or stop them from being competent, they will grow up weak and our society will crumble.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
This is more of a personal chapter in Jordan Peterson’s life and his dealing with his daughter’s illness. In general, orient yourself towards the greatest good in the world and stand up straight while doing it.