I no longer have the patience to wallow through verbosity and storytelling to try to make sense of some of life’s principles. However, I would recommend this book to someone who is confused in life and is having trouble making sense out of a seemingly chaotic life. That said I selected 6 of Peterson’s rules with a brief commentary on them.
Rule 3. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
Try to make friends with humans who have integrity, are trustworthy, dependable, competent, friendly, and motivate you to be even better than you are. Beware of humans with good intentions who seem to want the best for you but have their own faulty views of what is best to have in life or have their own axe to grind.
Rule 4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
This just means continue to improve yourself with research, reading, thinking, and doing on your road to the achievement of short and long duration goals. Comparing yourself to others is fraught with error or danger since very often you, your circumstances, and abilities are very different than those of others and comparisons are often pointless.
Rule 6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
Your house will never be in perfect order in the long duration so if you lead a relatively happy and orderly life feel free to criticize the world and especially make suggestions on how to improve it but don’t be too dogmatic about your criticism.
A good place to start the critique is with yourself. Can you honestly say? If most humans lived the way that I live my life, then the world would be a better place to live in.
If more humans lived the way that you live your life, perhaps in unhappiness and desperation, then your critique of the world would not be that relevant.
Rule 8. Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie
To maintain integrity and trustworthiness, being honest, moral, dependable, and competent is essential, especially if you are interested in maintaining a good reputation in society and hope someday to assume leadership positions. Most relationships crash and burn when dishonesty is detected or it becomes a very dysfunctional relationship with much misery, uncertainty, and lack of security if the relationship stupidly continues without trust.
Trust is the human bond which makes long duration relationships possible and without trust relationships eventually become very unstable, chaotic, and end.
Rule 9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
This is just a fact of life that even if you think that you know a lot, other humans will occasionally surprise you with useful knowledge that you never realized existed. Be a good listener but remember that it is OK to interrupt to change the subject or even end the conversation if it is boringly focusing on relatively trivial information.
Emotional intelligence is gotten by interacting with all kinds of humans, learning how to converse with them in discussion mode, and learning how to extract important information without sounding like an interrogator.
Rule 10. Be precise in your speech.
Speak efficiently is another way of putting it or be brief and to the point is another. I have spent a lifetime trying to define words logically since being precise is not a virtue of the English language with so many vaguely defined words and a confusing bonanza of multiple meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and dubious analogies.
Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything which makes you dislike them.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).
Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
If these other 6 rules of life which I skipped peaked your interest then buy and read his book. It seems he may even have a sense of humor which you might enjoy.
Frankly there is much more to life that is important than these 12 principles but he is a typical psychologist whose mind is not very analytical and logical but bases most of his views on mostly subjective information which he has read about in his career and personal subjective experiences and values.
If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4300 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.
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