24 rules for life

The complete collection of 24 ethical principles based on biology, mythology, religion, literature and scientific research by Prof. Jordan Peterson.

If I had to name the author who has most influenced my personal growth path in the last 5 years, I would undoubtedly choose the Canadian clinical psychologist and university professor. Jordan Peterson.

In a West in an identity crisis and in an increasingly liquid society, Peterson reminds us of those values and those principles deep that have guided the human being for millennia. Values ​​that too often we take for granted or that, worse, we are ready to sacrifice in the name of "politically correct".

His countless lessons on Youtube and his river conversations as a guest on the most successful international podcasts have been seen and heard hundreds of millions of times, making him one of the most influential intellectuals in the West in just a few years.

It is therefore easy to get lost in the vast material shared by the former Harvard Professor over the past 5 years.

Fortunately, as of 2018, Prof. Peterson has published two books:

  1. 12 rules for life: an antidote to chaos .
  2. Beyond order: 12 more rules for life.

In these two texts are collected the 24 principles pivotal point of Peterson-Thought.

Having recently completed the reading of the second text ("Beyond Order"), I thought I'd share the complete list of 24 rules, accompanied by my brief comment.

It is a summary-reminder that I made for myself and which I hope will prove useful to you too ?

That is well understood, however ... synthesizing inevitably leads to simplification.

Each chapter of Peterson's two books is in fact a short treatise on theology, biology, philology e psychology put together.

Far be it from me to want to trivialize Peterson's words. If you ever get this impression in the next few minutes, it will be one more reason to read the extended version of these rules found in the original books.

Having clarified this point, let's start with the first sequence of 12 rules from Peterson's first book:

24 rules for life

1. Stand straight with your shoulders back

Keep one straight posture it's not just good "physiotherapy" advice.

To face life with your head held high and with a straight back means taking on your responsibilities. It means not being afraid to express your thoughts. It means having the courage to live fully, aware of the risks, but never paralyzed by them.

The posture Peterson refers to is a metaphysical posture, but pulling out the chest and straightening our shoulders is a physical gesture capable of triggering a new mental attitude.

It helps us to change the perception we have of ourselves, but it also helps the world to see us with new eyes.

2. Treat yourself as you do with those who rely on you

Sometimes we are our own worst executioners.

In fact, the paradox is that as human beings we are able to feel much more empathy for others (or even for animals), than we do for ourselves.

Sometimes we should just silence our over-critical selves and start taking care of ourselves like we would our best friend.

3. Choose friends who want the best for you

Do the people you hang out with make you a better person or a worse person?

It's not a difficult question and inside you already know the answer.

If your current social circles are fertile ground for destructive habits attitudes negative or, in general, they lead you to think, behave and live below your real potential, you have a responsibility to change relationships.

Your life is at stake.

4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday instead of comparing yourself to someone else

Constantly confronting ourselves with the filtered and edited life that millions of other people are posting on their own right now social channels inevitably leads us to try envy, performance anxiety e sense of inadequacy.

We cannot, however, compare page 100 of another person's "book of life" with page 1 (or 10) of our "book".

In general, the lives of two people, however similar, are never really comparable.

If we really want to confront someone, that someone should be who we were yesterday or last year.

Have we grown, matured and improved compared to him or her? This is the only true benchmark we should have.

5. Don't let your children do something that will please them less

It's easy to complain or blame our children for what we don't like about them. First because "they are only children", later because "adolescence is a difficult age".

It is undeniable that the parenting trade is one of the most difficult and, in the absence of general rehearsals, it is often learned on the skin of one's children.

But remember that you are the adult, not them.

If you can't stand their actions or attitudes, think about how much strangers who don't love them as much as you can. And what consequences this may have in their adult life.

Define clear rules.

The role of the parent is not to be the friend of their children, but to provide them with solid guidance and the tools to become mature, functioning and welcome adults within society.

Raising individuals you appreciate, respect and admire (as well as love, like any parent) is what in English we would call a win-win-win: for you as a parent, for society and above all for your own children.

6. Make sure your house is in perfect order before criticizing the rest of the world

"We are ruled by a bunch of incompetents!"
"My boss doesn't understand a club!"
"Europe's fault!"
"Capitalism is destroying the world!"

Reading certain comments on the news of the moment on social media, one often gets the impression that it is a country of 60 million individuals who wake up national team coaches on Mondays, virologists on Tuesdays, geo-politics experts on Wednesdays and Nobel laureates economists on Thursdays. .

And some more, some less, we are all guilty of this attitude.

In short, we are always ready to criticize (from the armchair at home) those who have government or decision-making responsibilities, but we have hardly shown in our small way that we have managed to make what is under our control work: from our physical form to our work, from our family to our bank account.

The right to criticize is earned through the sweat of results.

7. Look for what has meaning, not personal advantage

“What distinguishes a successful person? The ability to sacrifice "

On GetPersonalGrowth I've been talking to you for years about instant gratification and why the sacrifice of giving up what makes you satisfied today can make you happier tomorrow.

The central question then becomes this: what must we sacrifice to get rid of suffering?

According to Peterson, the answer lies in seeking what has an intrinsic meaning, what gives meaning to life even in the hardest moments, avoiding instead what is only fast, instantaneous or convenient.

Building a solid foundation costs a lot more effort, time and energy than burying the dust under the carpet or passing the hot potato on to someone else (sometimes the future yourself).

Yet it is the best way to ensure sustainable and lasting change and well-being over time.

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

"No lies are told" is a chant that has accompanied us since we were children. However, we are almost never explained why.

According to Peterson, in the lie we do not only hide one side of reality, but also a side of our personality.

We make a part of ourselves cloudy, renouncing to offer the world that unique and authentic contribution that we have to give.

In that lie, in that clumsy attempt to preserve the image we would like to project of ourselves, we miss the opportunity to build who we really are.

We not only fail to reveal ourselves to others but, more importantly, the opportunity to reveal ourselves to ourselves.

One little lie after another, we build a wall of lies that becomes a mask between us and the world.

Speaking the truth, to ourselves and to others, instead strengthens our character and the whole of society.

9. Always think that the person you talk to may know something you don't know

Life is said to be too short to learn only from one's mistakes; the wise also learn from those of others.

By listening to the stories and experiences of others, you can learn those lessons without paying the price of having to deal with the same problems and suffering. For once a shortcut worth taking ?

But be careful: active listening means turning your mind into a blank canvas.

Which does not mean throwing the critical spirit out the door. But use the words and experiences of others as windows to a new world, rather than as a mirror to confirm your truths, ideas or interpretations.

Listen without interrupting, without thinking about your response, and respecting the other person's experience and perspective.

And above all, don't hang on to what you know, instead use each interaction as a mutual exploration of still unknown territories. This is how you expand your boundaries (and your mind).

10. Speak accurately

As also happens in marital relationships, small things (annoying habits, home management, children or finances ...) tend to grow larger when they are not dealt with on the spot, turning small stones into mountains of misunderstandings and quarrels.

Avoiding these conversations prevents you from addressing the root causes of the problems. And guess what? Reality cannot be changed by ignoring it.

The remedy? Be as much as possible specific e sincere possible in giving a name to what is for you cause of annoyance or suffering and admit its existence. It is only when problems are brought to light that it is possible to solve them and move from chaos to order.

Think about what you say and then say what you think. Whether it is with others or, even more so, with yourself.

11. Leave the kids who skate alone

We live in a society in which the concept of parenting is increasingly the effort to avoid all kinds of children discomfort, danger o risk.

When a teenager is engaged in skateboarding, biking or other activities considered dangerous by the protective attitude of the parents, suggesting that they do something else is the most dangerous thing we can do. Because it does not prepare the future adult for the dangers of the world, to live independently and find their own way.

As I wrote years ago in the history of the butterfly:

"Through difficulties, nature makes us stronger and worthy to realize our dreams."

Leave the kids who skate alone: ​​they have to live their falls, their bruises and broken bones. They are often the only lessons they are willing to hear.

12. If you meet a cat on the street, stop and pet it

The last rule of Peterson's first book stems from his observation of a stray cat and from a parallel that he draws with our lives.

Navigating the seas of our existence is a bit like a stray cat's attempt to make it to the end of the day. There are various difficulties to overcome, that's for sure, but the real question is: what will you do to adapt to the rough seas?

In difficult times, it is important to recognize the anchors to cling to and the happy oases in which to refresh ourselves.

Whether it's a glow of light in the dark, or the sweetness of stroking a cat or dog, remember what really matters and grab every opportunity to make your life lighter and brighter.

Well, now let's see the other 12 ethical rules contained in the latest best-seller by Dr. Peterson: "Beyond order – 12 more rules for life".

As mentioned, the book, recently released, has not yet been translated into Spanish, so I cannot guarantee that the text of the rules will be the same as you will find in the official translation, but we have done our best to respect the words and the chosen meaning. by the Canadian clinical psychologist, always very attentive to the precision of language.

Let's go.

24 rules for life

13. Don't denigrate social institutions or creative achievements

The balance between order and chaos is one of the central themes of Peterson-Thought. The same two texts published in recent years represent one l'order (the white paper of the first 12 rules), the other the chaos (the new black book of the other 12 rules).

With this in mind, the Canadian psychologist applauds those highly creative individuals who are able to show society new paradigms: from artists, to disruptive entrepreneurs, from scientists to civil rights champions.

At the same time, however, Peterson warns against those who are ready to dismantle traditional social institutions too easily. However, these institutions exist for a reason and if they have survived for decades or even millennia it is because they are able to perform certain social functions very effectively.

Rule 13 can also be applied to the personal sphere.

In fact, it is important to continuously expose ourselves to new ideas, new projects, new experiences, new people.

But it is equally important to give structure to our days through healthy habits, a good organization of our time and, in general, those behaviors that our grandmother would recommend.

14. Imagine who you might be and then aim resolutely in that direction

Too often, absorbed by the daily grind, we stop imagining who we could become "when we grow up".

And this is how we arrive at the end of our days exhausted, but unable to remember what we have really achieved and in which direction we have moved.

In this chapter of the new book, Peterson points out that every human being is partly nature (DNA, genes, etc.) and partly culture (history, religion, mythology), there is a passage in particular that struck me:

“We learn to see the world and act as the heroes of the stories that are capable of capturing us. These stories bring out capabilities written deep in our DNA, abilities that could however remain dormant if not properly developed. We are therefore adventurers, lovers, leaders, artists e rebels waiting to be awakened, and the first step to realize this is to see the reflection of all we can be in the eyes of our heroes. "

Here, too often we forget the heroes who doze off inside us, surrendering to a mediocre life that is too often narrow.

We must go back to imagining who we can really become in our life and dedicate ourselves body and soul to making this image a reality.

15. Don't hide what you don't want in the fog

THEavoidance it is one of the most classic strategies that we implement as human beings in the face of a problem or fear (the famous procrastination that I have been talking about to my readers for years, falls into this area)

Sometimes we are so unconsciously troubled by a situation that we almost completely avoid identifying it.

Peterson's suggestion is to clear the fog at any cost and find out if any sharp rocks are actually hiding.

In some cases we will find that there is nothing and therefore we have nothing to fear.

In other cases, however, the sharp rocks are actually there waiting for us, but finally being able to see them allows us to avoid them.

In general, by the time we stop ignoring them and decide to name our problems, we are effectively empowering ourselves to solve them.

16. Remember that opportunity lurks where responsibilities have been neglected

The other day I was reading the story of a "millennial" (now overused adjective) who has become farmer.

This person enthusiastically talked about the challenges of working the land according to organic dictates and the satisfaction of a rediscovered contact with nature. Among other things, his farm was enjoying considerable success.

Here, faced with a runaway youth unemployment, which is unlikely to improve in the post-pandemic, this story reminded me of Dr. Peterson:

"Where people have stopped taking responsibility, great opportunities are hidden."

In other words, if we are willing to take on, with dedication, commitments that other people are dodging or roughly facing right now, we can build a career and a life full of satisfaction.

17. Don't do what you hate

Linked to the previous rule, it is important to remember that taking on responsibilities that others tend to shun does not mean forcing ourselves to do things we hate.

As I often remind my readers, it is inevitable to have to deal with very pale and very hateful activities even on the path to our brightest dreams.

However, this does not mean that we must accept the idea of ​​dedicating our life to a career or, in general, to activities that we basically despise.

Be guided by your emotions in choosing your projects and then use your discipline to carry them out.

18. Abandon ideology

I opened this article by stating that Peterson was one of the authors who most influenced my personal growth path over the past 5 years.

This does not mean that I appreciate all his ideas or statements and, as has happened in the past, I do not exclude that in the future he may revise my position on the Canadian author.

At the same time, however, many of the criticisms that are often leveled at Peterson arise from ideological prejudices of a particular political party or interest group.

Listening to these people, one gets the impression that they are already repeating phrases, buzzwords and concepts prepackaged, as if, marrying a specific ideology, they had decided to delegate their freedom of thought and criticism.

And this is the danger of ideologies: finding an answer (the same and often wrong) to any problem in the world, which amounts to not really facing any problem.

Abandon ideology.

Do not take a prejudicial position without first delving into it on your own, reading with your eyes and listening with your ears.

19. Try as hard as you can on at least one thing and see what happens

Grapes must be crushed to make wine.
The seeds grow in the dark.
Diamonds are formed under enormous pressure.
The olives must be crushed to make the oil.

Nothing of value is created without an adequate dose of stress.

If you want to fulfill yourself in your life, start with committing yourself, but really committing yourself, on a project, goal, or habit, and see what happens.

You could trigger a virtuous cycle of change that will turn your life upside down.

20. Try to make a room in your home as beautiful as possible

According to Peterson the beauty it does not have a mere aesthetic function, but can represent a strong push to improve the world around us.

Specifically, this rule contained in the new book is linked to principle 6 already seen previously (“Make your house in perfect order before criticizing the rest of the world”).

If we are committed to keeping even a single room in our home as tidy as possible, and are satisfied and proud of how we have taken control of this small area of ​​our life, this will likely inspire us to introduce new changes, changes that may gradually touch. increasingly important spheres.

Order and beauty can therefore become real tools for personal improvement.

21. If the old memories still bother you, write them down carefully and in full

Whether we have been victims or perpetrators in our past, we cannot allow these memories to continue to haunt us.

Based on his own clinical experience, the Canadian psychologist suggests that to write (and describe) these memories in as much detail as possible.

The act of writing will help us to make sense of these memories, but also to deprive them of part of their emotional energy in the passage on paper.

In general, having the memories that disturb us in black and white is the first step in dealing with them.

22. Organize and work with dedication to keep the romance in your relationship

Years of romantic Hollywood movies have convinced us that our only one exists out there twin soul, the perfect partner who will give meaning to our life and with whom we will finally “live happily ever after”.

The reality, however, is a bit different.

In all likelihood, out of 7 billion individuals, there are far more soulmates than we would like to admit, and in all likelihood, there will always (or almost always) be a better partner than your current partner.

But the true love does not arise from the meeting of two people, but rather from their:

  • comparison.
  • clash.
  • comfort.
  • dialogue.
  • I stumble.
  • ...

In short, love is what we build with each other and Peterson invites his readers to nourish romanticism in a couple with commitment and constancy, whether it be through “dates”, gallant dinners or moments of complete attention.

23. Don't allow yourself to become resentful, false or arrogant

Sometimes, life, other people or society as a whole can hurt and break us in ways that are as unexpected as they are unfair.

What we become after these "traumas", however, is our choice.

If we decide to indulge in resentment we will make ourselves and the world a worse place.

24. Be grateful despite your suffering

Telling a person in pain to be grateful for life can seem like a "slap".

The message that Peterson wants to give with this 24th rule, however, is different and has nothing to do with naive gratitude in the face of misfortunes.

Just as we love our loved ones despite their defects (or perhaps because of them), we can love life despite the inevitable suffering.

In fact, it is precisely those sufferings that make moments of happiness, well-being and success even more special.

Our life is defined by the contrasts we live and dies in the flatness of an existence without difficulties.

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