In life, there is a constant struggle between order and chaos. As human beings, we crave order and meaning in our lives to help us deal with the chaos and uncertainty we face on a day-to-day basis.
In order to help us better deal with the realities of the world we live in, Jordan Peterson (Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto) gives us his 12 Rules For Life.
Rule 1: Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back.
If you walk around with a straight back and your shoulders back, other people will view that as a signal of confidence. People conveying confidence get treated differently than people who convey weakness (slouched posture, shoulders slumped forward).
Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
Look at your life and ask yourself some simple questions, starting with this one: “What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly?”. Then, make a promise to do those things for yourself, no matter what.
Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you.
One of the best things you can do to help yourself is to make friends with people who want the best for you. You cannot choose your family, but you can and should choose your friends. Surround yourself with people who support you and want to see you succeed.
Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
There is a constant stream of people posting only the best of their lives to their social media accounts, leaving us all with the distinct impression that it’s hard or impossible to measure up.
Compare yourself to something that you have direct control over – where you are today compared to where you were yesterday.
If you do not like what you see, make some changes. Today. Not tomorrow.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
You love your children, and if you are being honest, there are things that they do you dislike. If their actions have that kind of effect on you, imagine the effect they will have on people who don’t love them like you do.
Rule 6: Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World.
When things go wrong in your life, take 100% accountability for the results. It is easy to blame your circumstances or other people for the bad things that happen to you.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
When we focus only on doing what is expedient in the moment, we transfer bad outcomes to our future selves, or even worse, other people. When we pursue what is meaningful, we often find ourselves doing the exact opposite – giving up something today so that something better might be attained in the future.
It requires courage and sacrifice to pursue what is meaningful over what is expedient.
Rule 8: Tell the truth. Or, at least, do not lie.
Why not lie and distort the truth to smooth things over with people, to avoid conflict or hurting people’s feelings? Because when we do, things fall apart.
Instead, try telling the truth. Be the person you want to be.
Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you do not.
Instead of walking around trying to show everybody how much you know, walk around in a continual search for things you don’t.
The only thing that’s sure to happen when you follow this rule is that you will learn something valuable.
Rule 10: Be precise in your speech.
Being precise helps you in many ways. First, it ensures that you are properly understood.
Second, being precise about defining problems you are facing turns chaos into something you can deal with. We focus on the solution rather than the problem.
Third, being precise in what you want out of life is the best way to ensure that you get it.
Once you are precise about what you want, you can go out and get it, correct course when you are not making progress, and ultimately end up at your destination.
Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
Parents these days seem to have become over-protective, because we want to protect our children from danger.
We need our children to push their boundaries to see what they are made of. It is the only way to grow.
We might also consider taking on this advice for ourselves, too.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
We need to learn to appreciate the small things in life when they come our way. Life is tough, and much of it consists of figuring out how to get through the suffering. If you are paying attention, even on your worst days, you just might find some magic.
Then, even if it’s only for a few seconds, you’ll understand that moments like those make everything else worth it.
What do you think has Peterson got it right?