I was listening to Chris Evan’s Radio 2 breakfast show the other day, idly humming along, making toast, when Evan introduced the Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B Peterson. Let’s just say, he has a very laconic delivery which is quite compelling, and I found his perspectives on life absolutely fascinating. So much so that afterwards I did a little more research into the book he’d just written, and was ostensibly promoting on the show. It’s called ’12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos’.
Only 12 rules, I thought?! Well, finally, someone has made the business of surviving in this messy world easy. One rile to master a month, great, sign me up! Of course you want to know immediately what they are, don’t you. And what’s clever is, Peterson gives them away, and I’ve listed them below, however it’s only in the book that you get the essays behind the one liners — the insight and the clarification. I think it’s worth a peruse. And in the video link I’ve included at the bottom of this post, you can hear him explain how it all came to be, as well as hear an extract from the chapter explaining rule three… I’d welcome your thoughts!
- 1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. (A chapter about lobsters, apparently?! Will have to read the book to understand that one.)
- 2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
- 3. Make friends with people who want the best for you. A chapter on “the importance of surrounding yourself with people that support you when you’re trying to do what’s right.”
- 4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday and not to who someone else is today.
- 5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. “A chapter about discipline, love and respect.”
- 6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world.
- 7. Pursue what is meaningful, and not what is expedient. [My favourite ‘rule’!]
- 8. Tell the truth. Or at least don’t lie. “If you tell the truth it puts you in alignment with reality, and you should be in alignment with reality because there’s a lot more of it, than you.”
- 9. Assume that the person you’re listening to might know something that you don’t. “And this is even true when dealing with people that don’t like you because they may offer you criticisms that are valid. And if you can fix that error, it’ll stop you running nose first into walls, and that’s generally a handy thing.”
- 10. Be precise in your speech. “BE exacting in the way you describe things and the way that you think because otherwise you live in the fog and then you won’t get out of life what you should, or what you need to sustain you so that you do not become bitter or resentful.”
- 11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
- 12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. “This is about orienting yourself towards life so that even when you’re in the middle of a crisis or a tragedy, you can find bits and pieces of life that are positive and sustaining.
And here he is…
What are the most valuable things people should know? His answer to that question on Quora, a interesting website for asking, and getting answers on many of life’s dilemmas, and the response to his reply ultimately inspired the writing of the 12 Rules.
An additional podcast that Chris Evan’s recorded with Jordan B Peterson after his show.
And you can buy the book here.