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  • Julianna Sweeney

12 Rules For Life | Jordan B. Peterson

All my life, I've had pitiful posture - even at the piano, which in the respectable music world is quite scandalous.

When I was younger I would get scolded by my mom to stand up straight. "If you keep that up, you're gonna hurt when you get older" she'd say. Then I'd proceed to do on of those moves where you stand up straight to prove you can while they're looking and then go back to your unhealthy ways the moment they turn away.

I never cared much to understand the importance of standing up straight until I physically began to feel the effects of my scoliosis, and emotionally began to feel the equivalence of my posture and my confidence. I've been doing a lot of work the past few years to correct these issues by strengthening up my back and core muscles and actively partaking in activities that build up my confidence. It's something I still struggle with.

You're probably wondering what the heck any of this has to do with a book recommendation...

The foundational rules for creating a joyful and fulfilling life lie in the simplest truths. They may not be what we want to hear at the time (the truth rarely is), but they have been tried and true for generations. Some of the ones that come to my mind right away are "don't eat too many sweets, you'll get a belly ache" (and sure enough...), or "If you lie, you'll get into more trouble" (and then you get caught... I think we've all been there), and of course "Stand up straight or you're gonna grow a hunchback!"

Jordan B. Peterson's First 12 Rules For Life:

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back

  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

  3. Befriend people who want the best for you

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

  5. Don't let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

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

  7. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient

  8. Tell the truth - or at least, don't lie

  9. Always assume that the person you're listening to knows something that you don't

  10. Be precise in your speech

  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding

  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street


  • “When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”

  • “You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.”

  • “And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.”

  • “It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you're going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

  • “Intolerance of others’ views (no matter how ignorant or incoherent they may be) is not simply wrong; in a world where there is no right or wrong, it is worse: it is a sign you are embarrassingly unsophisticated or, possibly, dangerous.”

  • “To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell.”

  • “Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities. Strengthen the individual. Start with yourself. Take care with yourself. Define who you are. Refine your personality. Choose your destination and articulate your Being. As the great nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche so brilliantly noted, “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.”

  • “Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”

  • “You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with (and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse).”

  • "You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued."

  • “The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go, and it allows you to prevail against adversity.”

  • “The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future.”

  • “Nietzsche said that a man’s worth was determined by how much truth he could tolerate”

  • “Always place your becoming above your current being.”

  • “Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better."

  • “So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.”

  • “If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. In Paradise, everyone speaks the truth. That is what makes it Paradise. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.”

It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself.

I was hesitant when I first began to read this book - I mean the first rule called me out for Pete's sake! But I can say without a doubt that this book has changed my life, Peterson has changed my life.

My one suggestion is that you may want to listen to the audible - Peterson is a clinical psychologist and was a professor for a long part of his career so his writing is intricate, (plus, he narrates the audible and he's got a great Canadian accent). I hope this book leaves as big an impact on your life as it did mine. Here's to a fantastic week ahead!

Sending love always,


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