Whether or not you know Dr. Jordan Peterson and his work, seeing him speak in person is something I would recommend to anyone. Hearing one of the greatest modern philosophers of our generation talk about his ideals and explain his points in the flesh brought me an all new perspective on Dr. Peterson.
I was able to see Dr. Peterson speak in St. Louis on October 3rd as part of his “12 Rules For Life” Tour, where he broke down the points in his book of the same name. I’m not going to get too in depth explaining his book, but his twelve rules and a basic explanation are as follows:
Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back
The way you carry yourself has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. If you stand up straight and through body language command more respect, you will feel more respected.
Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
This applies to helping yourself and to helping others. Many people are more likely to give advice, than take their own advice. Know that you are not only someone worth being helped, but you are also someone capable of helping others.
Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you
I feel this is Dr. Peterson’s take on “The Golden Rule”. Not only should you surround yourself with people who genuinely want you to succeed, you should also be someone who wants to see others succeed. Together you will lift each other up.
Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
Your goals are not necessarily the same as your peers, meaning there’s no use in comparing yourself to those around you. Focus on how you can improve and what you can do to achieve your personal goals, and you’ll be too busy working on yourself to worry about what your neighbor is doing.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your children what is and isn’t acceptable. Teach your children how to behave at home, so when they are not home they know how to behave. Society will be a lot less forgiving than you are.
Rule 6: Put your house in order
Look at yourself and your actions before wondering “why me?”. Figure out what you are doing wrong, and how to fix things, instead of pointing fingers at everyone else. Learn how your actions got you to where you’re at, identify any poor actions, and improve on them.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient
Take the high road, not the easy one. Doing good for the world is what gives your life meaning. Do the things you know are right, even if they aren’t easy.
Rule 8: Tell the truth
This one isn’t the obvious “Don’t Tell Lies” rule it appears to be. Be introspective. Look into your life and identify the lies you tell yourself. Correct the lies that don’t fall in line with your beliefs.
Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
Even if you don’t agree with what someone has to say, treat everyone as if they have taken time and carefully researched what they are talking about. Genuinely listen to them and summarize what they say before replying. Make sure you fully understand another person before constructing your response.
Rule 10: Be precise with your speech
Being precise with what you say eliminates confusion for others and will help you identify and find solutions for problems all around you. Identify exactly what the problem is, exactly how you need to fix it, and exactly why you need to fix it. Be specific when something is bothering you and address it when it is bothering you.
Rule 11: Leave children alone when they are skateboarding
Let your children push the envelope – that is how they learn and how they grow. Don’t be a “helicopter parent.” How will your kids know how to solve problems as an adult, if you are the one solving their problems for them as a child?
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
Find the good in each day. Love people regardless of their flaws. Suffering is a natural part of human life – embrace it. Show others that it is okay to fail, as long as you are constantly learning from your failures.