I found Jordan Peterson on the internet (YouTube to be precise) years ago when I was (I still am) on the journey of trying to understand how to navigate life and how to deal with its many trials and tribulations. I was instantly drawn to the guy. I guess what I liked about him was his ability to articulate things I’ve always known, but didn’t know how to articulate, or even things I didn't know that I knew (phew, that's a mind bender!).
After entering the rabbit-hole of lectures he posted online about various topics, I observed that his philosophy is not one of hopelessness. In fact, he recognizes that certain realities are dark and vile, and he confronts those realities with extreme reasoning and scholarly craftsmanship-- epic I must say. If you will actually listen, you'll observe that his messages arouse something very deep inside of you.
Something seemingly as simple as, "Take responsibility" appears to you as what it truly is: a noble and heroic act. His insights on the many aspects of life and your significance in it has super profound effect that awakens the urge to find a greater purpose in the suffering that we call life.
You can imagine my excitement when he released his book "12 Rules for Life". I wanted to get my hands on a copy ASAP. Getting that book itself was crazy long trip. I remember wanting the book but not being able to order it myself (I was super early in my career, so buying whatever I wanted whenever I wanted wasn't a privilege I had at the time). News spread about me wanting this book and finally my loving sister bought me a copy for my birthday (woohoo!). Unfortunately, she lived in another country, and getting that book to me was a gargantuous hurdle. Long story short, that book is with a friend of hers, who till this day, has been unable to deliver to me. Lol.
At this point, my desire to read this book only increased. And so, I did what I could've done from the start; I found a resource online that had the audiobook version of the book 😄 I heard (and sometimes read along) the entire book, and I must say, gained a ton of valuable insights.
Now enough of the backstory about Dr. Peterson. Below are a few points I had jotted down while going through the book:
There is chaos in the world: at the individual level, at the family level, at a larger corporate level and even at the cosmic level. It is the natural state of everything. It requires effort + energy to set and keep things in order.
It exerts confidence and dominance and it also shows that you accept responsibility. Fix your posture to get others to treat you better, which will make you feel better and stand tall, thus kicking off a virtuous cycle.
Take care of yourself the way you would take care of someone else. This includes: rewarding yourself for completing arduous tasks, getting to know yourself as you would a friend, and always keeping the promises you make to yourself.
You are only as successful as your surroundings. To be successful, you must stop hanging around with people who support your bad habits and, instead, surround yourself with those who have your best interest at heart. “People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results.”
Peterson goes on:
You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. Quite the opposite. You should choose people who want things to be better, not worse. It’s a good thing, not a selfish thing, to choose people who are good for you. It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with people whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve.
Since you only ever see a small portion of another’s publicly presented life, it doesn’t help to obsess over anything but your own success.
Put your house in order before you start philosophizing about how we should put the whole world in order.
Life is suffering.There is basically no way around it. Noone ever said life was fair or that we were born to live a happy life. Everyone will endure suffering. Jordan explains that life isn’t supposed to be happy, fair or fun, but its supposed to be MEANINGFUL.
This means that you will suffer. But your suffering should be worth the life that you live and the life that you’re leaving behind. Do what is meaningful, not what is fun or easy just in the moment.
Always keep an open ear to learn a viewpoint you hadn’t considered. The best conversations make both parties wiser, so placing value on the listening process can be most beneficial.
Social progress and personal development will only happen if people are willing to take a deep look at themselves and realise that while they might know many things, in comparison to the vast sea of human knowledge in the world, any one person knows practically nothing. Basically, it means to be humble.
If two or more people are having a debate or discussion on a certain topic, precision in speech becomes bevry important because without it it becomes impossible to understand what is exactly being discussed.
If there is a problem, being able to clearly define it is the first step to solving it.
If you decide to pick this book up or have already read it, I'd love to hear your story of how to ended up reading the book and what you've gained after going through it!