Monday, February 12, 2018

Peterson's 12 RULES FOR LIFE

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Somewhat controversial psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s new book, 12 Rules for Life has hit instant best-seller status on Amazon, where 91% of the over 600 reviews have rated it at five stars, the highest rating. The controversies have centered on his advice for rearing young men, but his prescriptions that apply to mature women and men seem rock solid. Here are the 12 rules and some comments.

Rule 1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
Not only is this healthful, but it aids in establishing your prominence in the human pecking order and in marking out your “territory,” a characteristic of all animals. Looking good is leverage; being attractive gives you “pull.”

Rule 2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
Consider the behavior of medical patients: a third don’t fill the prescriptions their doctors gave them; half of those who do get their pills take them incorrectly. “People are better at filling and properly administering prescription medication to their pets than to themselves.” Don’t be that way. Take loving care of yourself, determining goals, and choosing your means.

Rule 3. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
I’ve quoted the jest, “it is hard to fly like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys” and noted some maintain we resemble the five people with whom we interact the most. We are part of this menagerie mainly by our own choice. We should carefully select out companions. Many “friends” are actually saboteurs, raising obstacles rather than helping. Some don’t want you to rise higher than they are.

Rule 4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
Of the hundreds of millions in America now, you are not likely to be the top in any category. So, what? Aim for continual improvement, comparing yourself against yesterday’s you, achieving some little advancement. This is feasible and helpful. One percent improvement per day gets you twice as good in 72 days, the miracle of compound interest!

Rule 5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
What to allow your kids to do? Make your praise and blame be incentives to make them the kind of people you will continue to like, which is also going to make others like them; their paths through life will be smoother, if not smooth.

Rule 6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
This advice holds especially for those tempted to take drastic action to try to change the world. On a smaller scale, though, one is urged to heed the plank in one’s eye before acting to remove the dust particle in someone else’s. Such humility should breed moderation.

Rule 7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).
Why are you on Earth? Your “why” should help determine what you do and how you do it. Align your actions with your goals. Your “shortcuts” should not go against them. Else, your life will make less sense.

Rule 8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.
I had to fire one of our nurses recently. She had lied about a material aspect of my wife’s care. One cannot trust, nor be trusted, without truth.

Rule 9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
Hard to believe, but others have insights we lack. We must not merely appear to listen, but must really listen, if we are to gain from their knowledge.

Rule 10. Be precise in your speech.
“Know thyself,” Socrates urged. To do so, we need clear, precise thought. Careful observation improves precision. Careful conversation helps hone our thought. The effort to make what we say to be precisely correct helps speaker and listeners gain in understanding.

Rule 11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
Children need to master a certain amount of “dangerous” situations. We can go overboard in protecting them. To protect can be to weaken. When we reach maturity, we understand “old age is not for sissies.”

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

This puzzling advice is offered to keep the “cat people” reading, despite its real subject: dogs. Actually, its real subject is the way we segregate ourselves into groups, psychologically and physically, sometimes on the most whimsical of pretexts. Be aware of the tendency to affiliate irrationally.


P.S. An ezine for women I write for occasionally has found this topic too controversial for its readership.

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