12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson: Summary, Notes, and Lessons - Nat Eliason - Deepstash

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12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson: Summary, Notes, and Lessons - Nat Eliason

nateliason.com

Ideologies ≠ Ideologues

Ideologies: ideas that, disguised as science or philosophy, claim to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it.

Ideologues: people who pretend they know how to “make the world a better place” before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within...

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Virtue ≠ Virtue Signaling

Jordan Peterson observed that virtues aim for balance and to avoid the extremes of the vices. Cultivating judgment about the difference between virtue and vice is the beginning of wisdom.

Modern relativism asserts judging how to live is impossible, because good and virtue are relativ...

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Order and Chaos

Order is where the people around you act according to the established social norms, remaining predictable and cooperative. Society is simultaneously structure and oppression.

Chaos is where the unexpected happens. 

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Balancing Freedom And Social Groups

One can transcend blind adherence to social norm, while avoiding the pitfalls of its opposite extreme, nihilism. It is possible to find sufficient meaning in individual consciousness and experience.

We can be freed from social impositions without devolving into anarchy through individual...

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Rule 01: Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back

We evolved and always will be in a dominance hierarchy. The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the hierarchy is therefore ancient and fundamental, modulating our emotions, thoughts and actions. That’s why people size each other up. Presenting present yourself as defeate...

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  • Establish a routine. Uncertainty and erratic sleeping and eating habits can interfere with the brain’s functioning. Stable and reliable habits lose their complexity and gain predictability.
  • Attend to your  posture, don’t droop or hunch. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly a...

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Rule 02: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping

Chaos, order and consciousness, the process that mediates between the first two, are fundamental parts of experience. Our eternal subjugation to the first two makes us doubt the validity of existence, leading into despair and failure on proper self-caring. Proper understanding of consciousness al...

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  • Ride on the edge between order and chaos. Make life so engrossing you don’t notice the passage of time.
  • Make competent those under your care rather than protecting them.
  • Do not avoid challenges, else life becomes dull.
  • We are aware of our vulne...

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Rule 03: Befriend Those Who Want the Best For You

We have an unconscious propensity to let ourselves be influenced negatively thus the importance to avoid those who behave in a detrimental way.

Aspiring upward reveals the inadequacy of the present and that’s a challenge for those who are fine with it. It requires strength to ...

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  • Assume first that you are doing the easiest thing, and not the most difficult.
  • Do not deny someone’s responsibility for it exempts them of all agency and power. Things don’t happen on their own, all involved have personal responsibility, including the victims.
  • ...

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Rule 04: Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not Who Someone Else Is Today

Most people are not the best at anything. Adopting a wide external frame of perspective to judging oneself is counterproductive and leads to unwarranted self-criticism.

Life is not a single game but a composite of them: Personal, professional, romantic, family, physical life. Recogni...

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Rule 05: Do Not Let Your Children do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them

Rewarding desirable behavior is a good way to guide people’s behavior but it’s a lengthy process and requires people to behave desirably by themselves before it can be applied.

When it comes to children, proactivity is necessary. Maturing presents an ever closing window for parental influen...

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  • Do not protect your children completely from fear and pain, try instead to maximize and make their learning efficient.
  • Time out can be an effective form of punishment, particularly if the misbehaving child is welcome as soon as he controls his temper. Not every child is...

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  • Have a goal.
  • Ask yourself what you do to avoid conflict and what you lie about.
  • Understand that we live within a framework that always defines the present as lacking and the future as better, and that this is necessary to propel us...

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Rule 06: Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World

The world is in a much bigger frame than your own life, if you cannot keep your own house in order it may mean you’re lacking in the skills to perceive and address problems appropriately.

Things fall apart because we have not paid sufficient attention. Sometimes there are unpredictab...

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  • Stop doing what you know to be wrong. Today. Don’t waste time questioning how you know that what you’re doing is wrong, if you are certain that it is.
  • Don’t try to reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience. 

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Rule 07: Pursue What Is Meaningful (Not What Is Expedient)

What is expedient works only for the moment. It’s immediate, impulsive and limited. What is meaningful, by contrast, is the organization of what’s expedient towards a goal.

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  • Delay gratification and sacrifice. That’s a basic requirement of success.
  • Dissatisfaction with life comes from holding on to things that stop you from changing. However hard it may be, let go of them or make your peace with the life you have.
  • Aim up. Pay ...

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Carl Jung, psychoanalyst

“No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”

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Rule 08: Tell the Truth, or at least Don’t Lie

To lie is to use language to bend the world into delivering what one thinks is necessary. Only a hopeless philosophy insists that reality can be improved through falsification.

To accept the truth means to sacrifice—and if you have rejected the truth for a long time, then you’ve r...

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Rule 09: Assume Others Might Know Something You Don’t

If you listen without premature judgment, people will generally tell you their every thought and that’s “truth” in a sense. Because although someone’s memory is not an objective description of the past, it is informative and thus a tool to guide the future.

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Rule 010: Be Precise in Your Speech

When you don’t communicate properly you invite chaos, and it tends to accumulate leading to resentment.

Specify your destination, and chart your course. Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are. Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward, forthrightly. 

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Carl Rogers

“The great majority of us cannot listen; we find ourselves compelled to evaluate, because listening is too dangerous. The first requirement is courage, and we do not always have.”

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Rule 011: Do Not Overprotect Your Children

Children often do things that are dangerous and we shouldn’t always intervene because by placing themselves in danger they learn how to be competent and that is a way to safety.

We’re hard-wired to enjoy risk to some extent, it’s a natural mechanism that prepares us to face the world...

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Rule 012: Be Present

Set aside some time to talk and think about your problems and how it should be managed every day. Don’t think about it otherwise or you risk exhausting yourself on a single issue.

Be present in the now and leave the thinking about problems for the time you reserved for that.

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  • Consider that any hierarchy creates winners and losers. The winners are more likely to justify the hierarchy and the losers to criticize it.
  • Understand that hierarchy is inescapable. The pursuit of goals lends life meaning and the collective pursuit of goals produces hi...

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