12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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Based on Peterson's observations from the fields of psychology, mythology, religion, and personal tales, the book presents 12 guidelines for leading a meaningful life.ir

Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist from Canada, wrote a self-help book titled 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

It was released in 2018 and quickly became a bestseller in many nations. Based on Peterson's observations from the fields of psychology, mythology, religion, and personal tales, the book presents 12 guidelines for leading a meaningful life.

Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back

The goal of this guideline is to have a confident demeanor and outlook. Peterson contends that, like lobsters, people are hierarchical creatures that struggle for power and supremacy. According to him, maintaining a straight posture and keeping your shoulders back conveys to both you and others that you are capable, powerful, and deserving of respect.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls your mood, drive, and social behavior. Slouching and cowering, on the other hand, might make you feel uneasy, apprehensive, and depressed.

Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

This principle encourages you to treat yourself with the same level of care that you would provide to a loved one. Peterson notes that many people treat themselves more harshly and carelessly than they treat other people. He claims that this is so that we don't feel deserving of happiness and health since we are conscious of our own shortcomings and misdeeds.

He says that in order to overcome this self-hatred, we should acknowledge our inherent worth as human beings and take steps to improve our well-being, such as eating healthfully, getting enough sleep, exercising frequently, and working toward our objectives.

Rule 3: Befriend people who want the best for you

This guideline focuses on avoiding toxic friendships and making smart friend choices. According to Peterson, if you allow some people to bring you down to their level, they will be resentful, spiteful, and destructive.

He advises you to surround yourself with people who encourage you to grow, challenge you, and support you. In addition, he counsels being truthful with both yourself and your friends and not being afraid to sever ties with people who hurt you or hold you back.

Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today

In accordance with this guideline, you should evaluate your development and achievements in light of your own standards rather than those of other people. Since there will always be someone who is smarter, richer, more handsome, or more successful than you, Peterson contends that comparing yourself to others is pointless and frustrating.

This, according to him, might cause you to feel bitter, resentful, and envious, all of which can ruin your life. By establishing reasonable goals and acknowledging your successes, he advises that you should focus your attention on gradually bettering yourself. He also reminds you that you should value your individuality and potential and that everyone has talents and shortcomings of their own.

Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

This guideline focuses on how to discipline and love your kids. According to Peterson, many parents are too forgiving and permissive with their kids out of fear of being strict or authoritarian. According to him, this can lead to children who are entitled, spoilt, and disruptive and who lack self-control, respect, and responsibility.

He counsels parents to establish limits and guidelines for their kids and to apply them consistently. He also highlights the need for parents to criticize their children when they behave badly and to praise them when they behave well.

Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world

Before blaming people or society for your troubles, follow this rule and take responsibility for your life. According to Peterson, a lot of individuals are unhappy and unsatisfied with their lives and often vent their resentment and frustration on things outside of themselves, such as politics, the economy, or culture.

According to him, this may result in a victim mentality, a feeling of entitlement, and a desire for vengeance. Before attempting to alter the world, he exhorts people to first critically evaluate their own behaviors and attitudes and work to correct any internal issues.

Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Choosing long-term objectives over transient pleasures is the guiding principle of this guideline. Peterson contends that the lure of rapid gratification, whether it be through sex, drink, drugs, gambling, or other vices, often draws individuals in.

According to him, while they could bring about a brief sense of relaxation or exhilaration, these things can also be detrimental to your relationships, health, and chances for the future.

Instead, he suggests that people should focus on meaningful pursuits like realizing their potential, making a difference in the world, or discovering a higher purpose. According to him, doing so can bring long-lasting fulfillment, joy, and meaning.

Rule 8: Tell the truth – or at least don’t lie

Keeping your word to both yourself and others is a requirement of this guideline. Since lying may undermine trust, credibility, and integrity, Peterson claims that it is one of the most harmful behaviors a person can have. He asserts that lying can cause you to lose touch with who you are and what you stand for, as well as distort your perspective of reality.

Even if it is difficult, hurtful, or inconvenient, he tells individuals to tell the truth or at the very least, not lie. In addition to enhancing your relationships and communication, he claims that doing this can help you keep your sense of worth, respect, and dignity.

Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

In order to follow this rule, you must listen to people with humility and curiosity. According to Peterson, a lot of people become haughty and narrow-minded when conversing with others because they believe they already know everything or have no room for further education. According to him, doing so can make kids socially isolated and keep them from learning new things or developing new viewpoints.

He advises individuals to strive to comprehend the point of view of others, even if they disagree with them, and to listen with the assumption that the person speaking may know something they don't. You may broaden your horizons, gain knowledge from others, and promote respect, he claims.

Rule 10: Be precise in your speech

The goal of this rule is to help you communicate effectively. Because they are worried about being incorrect, criticized, or misunderstood, Peterson claims that many people speak in a generalized and imprecise manner.

He claims that this might cloud your thoughts and feelings, cause conflict, and cause misunderstandings. He advises people to utilize clear language and terms that accurately reflect their intentions and reality. He claims that doing this will improve your ability to communicate, allow you to resolve issues, and spare you needless misery.

Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding

Let kids test their boundaries and make mistakes so they can grow from them, according to this rule. He contends that today's culture of overprotection and safety stifles children's imagination, bravery, and resilience. Peterson condemns this trend.

To develop their talents, confidence, and character, he contends that kids must take on risks and difficult situations, like skateboarding. He cautions against doing their kids a favor by interfering with their activities or protecting them from repercussions. This will prevent them from learning important lessons and having meaningful experiences.

Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

The purpose of this rule is to teach people to appreciate life's little pleasures and wonders. Peterson acknowledges that tragedy and suffering are a part of life and that these things might occasionally make life feel insurmountable or pointless.

He asserts that in such circumstances, it is crucial to seek out sources of grace, thankfulness, and optimism, such as patting a cat when you see one on the street. According to him, these little acts can uplift you by serving as a reminder of life's sweetness and mystique while also assisting you in managing your suffering.

These are Jordan B. Peterson's 12 guiding principles for living. They should serve as suggestions for leading a better life rather than being dogmatic or rigid. They are based on his vast study, his professional experience as a psychologist, and his own personal opinions on literature, philosophy, and religion.

They are not without controversy or criticism, but millions of readers all around the world have found them to be beneficial, motivating, and instructive, and this has made them popular.


The book started as a list of 12 sayings in response to a question on the website Quora: “What are the most valuable things everyone should know?”.

The book suggests that life’s meaning has to do with developing one's character in the face of suffering, not primarily with happiness.

The first rule is “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.” This rule suggests that standing up straight with one’s shoulders back can go a long way toward helping someone change the way they feel and are regarded in society.

Chaos is defined as unpredictable, unexplored territory, and Order as stable, familiar territory. Neither too much chaos is good (it can be overwhelming) nor too much order (it can become tyrannical); the ideal is a balance between them.

The title signifies the book's central theme of achieving a meaningful and purposeful life through a set of guiding principles.

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