Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is a pretty popular book. I’ve read it. I get it. To a point. That point is probably a function of my own biases, beliefs, and perspective. I’m not real big on “rules” and it’s not because “rules are made to be broken” or other such nonsense. It’s because rules don’t tend to be flexible and allow reasonable exceptions. It’s also because some people take advantage of rules and that causes a reasonably good rule to be altered to become a fairly bad rule for the majority of those who didn’t take advantage of the rule.

Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. I’m not sure why I would do this. I know that body language can affect a person. I think maybe a good study on how posture affects attitude would be worthwhile.

Rule 2: Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping. I don’t really like helping other individuals. Usually they don’t take my advise because “it’s too hard to do that” or some other excuse.It’s their bed. They need to get their ass out of it.

Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you. I want to make friends with people I find to be interesting. Why would I ever want to spend time with someone whose attitude towards me was condescending?

Rule 4 Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. Why compare yourself with anyone? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of modeling my behavior after someone that I admire or I feel might be a good mentor. But, there’s nothing in that statement about comparisons.

Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. Anyone who thinks I have some sort of absolute control over my children doesn’t know them very well. Also, there have been times when I not only did not like the things that they did, I wasn’t very fond of them as human beings. Sad, but true. Fortunately, we can all change.

Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. My house? Perfect order? That’s something that’s never going to happen. When I see feces on the ground, I think “Oh look, there’s some feces on the ground.” I don’t, however, go looking for it.

Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). All-in-all I think it’s a good statement. However, I think I’ll form my own opinion about what is meaningful and what is expedient. And, you should as well.

Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie. I agree with the understanding that sometimes it requires me to be a bit more quick witted than I actually am. When that happens I may come out with some statements that can appear, at best, to be totally ambiguous and vague.

Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t. I don’t think you have to assume. I’m absolutely, without any hesitation whatsoever, certain that everyone I’ve listened to in the past knows things I do not. The only question is whether they are meaningful to me or the world at-large.

Rule 10 Be precise in your speech. I couldn’t have said it better myself. But don’t expect everyone to understand what you are saying.

Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding. I only watch skaters from a distance. If that bothers them why are they skate-boarding in public?

Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. This is a good way to catch a bad case of rabies.