12 Rules for Life - Deepstash

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Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back

Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back

Lobsters and humans share neurochemical systems that regulate status, reflecting evolutionarily ancient hierarchies. Just as lobsters puff themselves up to appear larger and avoid attack, standing up straight projects confidence and deters threats in humans.

Shoulders back displays the pride of accomplishment. It announces your readiness to take on challenges life will inevitably present. status matters, so mind your posture.


363 reads

Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping

Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping

Imagine a loved one struggling through life's challenges. You would advise and comfort them, not harshly judge. Apply that compassion to yourself. Don't degrade your own being.

Pay attention to emotional, physical and mental health. Eat right, exercise, sleep well, reduce stress. Treat yourself as someone worthy of care, patience and support.

Raise your standards and demand excellence to aim higher, but retain humility and self-love even when you fall short. You deserve your own compassion.


283 reads

Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You

Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You

  • Associate with those aiming up who challenge you and themselves.
  • Avoid friendships of convenience or mere proximity.
  • Do not sacrifice progress for comfort.
  • Help others shoulder burdens without fostering dependency.
  • Share wisdom and advice reciprocally to elevate all.
  • Align with colleagues pursuing purpose and meaning, not just wealth and status.
  • Seek friends and romantic partners who lead by example to live nobly.
  • Let the best in others inspire your own ascent.


265 reads

Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else Is Today

Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else Is Today

Envy poisons you against peers and your own potential. Avoid resentment by focusing inward, not outward. Disregard relative status. 

Judge yourself against prior versions to measure progress. Let others inspire rather than intimidate. Compete for internal excellence over external validation.

Incremental gains compound to allow radical improvement over time. Refine your trajectory.


260 reads

Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them

Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them

  • You know your unruly children need discipline, yet avoid enforcing rules.
  • But undisciplined children become unlikeable adults lacking self-control.
  • Demand good behavior young to avoid future resentment.
  • Parental guidance establishes order, justice and security for all.
  • Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Enact necessary "tough love." Otherwise both child and society suffer long-term. Lead children toward inner discipline to govern themselves, not tyrannical laws.


250 reads

Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World

Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World

Hypocrisy undermines valid protest. Correct your own faults before condemning others. How can you protest racism yet demean family?

  • Attend to personal problems plaguing relationships, career, or health before critiquing society.
  • Beyond credibility, it gives meaning to improve yourself rather than idly demanding others change.

Small daily steps compound to allow tackling larger injustices. Would your criticism withstand scrutiny if directed at you? If not, look inward and refine your own character first.


207 reads

Pursue What is Meaningful (Not What is Expedient)

Pursue What is Meaningful (Not What is Expedient)

Temptation lurks to take the easy, convenient path. But pursuing meaning over expediency has deeper, longer-lasting rewards. Listen to your conscience.

  • Ignore short-term gains for hollow victories. Protect time for family, friends and spiritual growth.
  • Postpone pointless pleasures to study, work and improve. Sacrifice and discipline extract meaning from chaos.
  • Staying on the straight, narrow path fortifies resolve. Seek purpose, wisdom and truth.
  • These eternal values lend life significance, not transient pleasures. Delayed gratification brings substance to existence.


200 reads

Tell the Truth - or, at Least, Don't Lie

Tell the Truth - or, at Least, Don't Lie

Lies propogate untruth for fleeting gain. But falsehoods pile up, requiring more deceit to sustain the facade.

  • Truth strengthens while lies decay.
  • Admit ignorance when appropriate.
  • Deliver difficult news humanely. Discuss errors to address them.
  • Tell yourself the truth rather than rationalizations.
  • Embrace reality, although harsh, over comforting delusions. Speak precisely, intentionally and empathetically.

Mastering honesty makes relationships reliable and garners trust. Veracity breeds virtues. Integrity is your armor.


192 reads

Assume That the Person You Are Listening to Might Know Something You Don't

Assume That the Person You Are Listening to Might Know Something You Don't

Arrogance blinds you to wisdom. Remain open to learning, especially from adversaries. Set aside ego and assumptions to comprehend foreign perspectives.

  • Listening expands understanding and forges progress.
  • The wise know their knowledge pales against the vast unknown.
  • Each interaction offers a novel lesson.
  • Ditch defensive reflex reactions.
  • Let ideas challenge you.
  • Change your mind fearlessly when appropriate.
  • Never stop learning.


187 reads

Be Precise in Your Speech

Be Precise in Your Speech

Careless misuse of speech breeds avoidable conflict. Select words advisedly.

  • Master definitions to employ terms accurately.
  • Clarify intent to avoid misunderstanding.
  • Mean what you say to build trust.
  • Avoid exaggerations and lies.
  • Rely on literal meanings when possible.
  • Minimize abstractions and generalizations open to subjective interpretation.
  • Say no more than necessary.
  • Brevity demonstrates respect for listeners’ time.


172 reads

Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding

Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding

Overprotective parenting hinders skill development. Allow children space to learn through experience. Support reasonable, supervised risks to build competence. Let them ride skateboards, climb trees and explore within safe boundaries. Experience forges ability.

Don't hover anxiously. Allow them independence appropriate to age and temperament. Guide children to challenge themselves wisely.

Advice helps; control backfires. Enable children to gain confidence through facing fears and overcoming tribulations.


164 reads

Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

Spontaneous delight brightens your day and others'. Notice and appreciate small pleasures when they arise.

A child's laughter, a lover's affection, a cat crossing your path - these unplanned moments of joy revive the spirit. Set worthwhile goals, but don't ignore opportunities for happiness along the way.

  • Embrace serendipity. Seize the day. Remain open to the abundant flashes of beauty amidst routine.
  • Let randomness introduce adventure. Get lost occasionally to find yourself. Appreciate life's simple blessings.


183 reads



Theme park manager


In his bestselling self-help book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson draws on science, history, mythology, and his clinical experience to impart timeless wisdom on how to live a meaningful life. He provides 12 profound yet practical guidelines to help readers tackle life's everyday challenges as well as existential questions on suffering and meaning. Peterson's 12 rules aim to embolden individuals to take personal responsibility and live with truth, courage, humility and ethical purpose. rules such as "stand up straight with your should

Curious about different takes? Check out our 12 Rules for Life Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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