12 Rules for Life Summary

12 Rules for Life summary
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Today’s article is about 12 Rules for Life Summary, a book by Jordan B. Peterson. This revolutionary book is about discipline, responsibility, freedom, and adventure.

Who Should Read 12 Rules for Life?

This summary should be read by a 27-year-old college student worrying because she hasn’t figured out life, the 48-year-old parent in a crisis. After all, he thinks he’s too old for this and anyone feeling lonely and depressed.

About Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian YouTuber, clinical psychologist, and psychology professor at the Canada’s University of Toronto. He grew up in northern Alberta, wastelands precisely. He received his doctorate and postgraduate studies in clinical psychology at McGill University before moving to Harvard University as a professor.

Peterson’s various television appearances with commentaries on personality, religion, and cultural Marxism made him famous. Most recently, in 2016, Peterson posted a series of YouTube videos criticizing new gender discrimination laws. Because of these videos, he received a lot of media attention, ranging from criticism to praise.

Politically, Peterson describes himself as a liberal and traditionalist British classic. He, therefore, advocates individual freedom and the maintenance of tradition but does not conform to a right-wing ideology.

Peterson saw the world in depth. He played a hammer role in a carbon-fiber stunt and explored a meteor crater in Arizona with astronauts. He also taught mythology to lawyers, doctors, and business people. In addition, he consulted with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and acted as an advisor to leading partners in major Canadian law firms.

12 Rules for Life summary
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson


12 Rules for Life is about discipline, responsibility, freedom, and adventure. Peterson divides the world’s wisdom into twelve comprehensive essays based on ancient tradition and groundbreaking scientific research. Peterson claims that happiness is a meaningless goal. Instead, we must seek meaning as an antidote to the chaos of our time. Peterson likens chaos and order to yin and yang. To keep our life in perfect balance, we have to deal with the inevitable mess in an orderly manner.

The best way to find order is to search for meaning. This search for purpose should not be in itself but as a defense against the suffering that exists in our existence. When you experience this pain, you can withdraw or face it. When we retreat, the darkness we all possess can be overcome. When we are faced with this, we can challenge those dark impulses and adjust our goals.

The book offers life advice through essays on abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion, and personal anecdotes. The publication has been translated into many languages ​​and has sold millions of copies since its publication in 2018.

Below Are The 12 Rules For Life:

Rule One

Stand Straight With Shoulders Back

Denial of a deep truth can lead to suffering. Denying your responsibility in the face of suffering can lead to a desperate victim mentality. This mindset is more and more common and is based on the hope that others will solve your problems. Taking this approach can help you avoid making sense of it. Some of the strongest people have overcome tremendous pain, suffering, and adversity. By taking responsibility for their suffering, they can find meaning. But in addition to the mentality, our attitude is decisive.

To learn how to defend yourself, Peterson uses the metaphor of hugging the lobster in you. Lobster shares a lot of the same neurological structures as humans. Like human brains, lobster brains have specialized areas in social hierarchies. Peterson explains that studies suggest that lobsters that lose their social status by losing fights stop producing serotonin. This cut out of serotonin can lead to depression in lobsters. The dominant lobsters also held strong positions while the other lobsters crawled together.

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The body and the mind are profoundly linked. So, prepare for success with the right body language. But, first, stand straight with your shoulders back for two important reasons:

  1. It exercises dominance and confidence.
  2. It also shows that you are taking responsibility.

Research has shown that physical stature, even a tiny amount of muscle movement, can affect your emotions. It is challenging to take responsibility for your actions when you fall or lie on the ground. Nevertheless, by standing upright, your shoulders back and feet shoulder-width apart, you exhibit confidence and a willingness to take meaningful action.

Rule Two

See Yourself As Someone You Have A Responsibility To Help

Peterson encourages people to congratulate themselves and those around them for their productive and conscientious actions. He also thanks patients for their genuine concern and kindheartedness for others. They can express their feelings because they are just who they are. When you are a patient, you only accept to be a patient. You are not trying to be Someone else.

Valuable lesson you can learn from the “patient” approach is getting to know that you deserve help and respecting yourself. You are just as important to others as you are to yourself; you have an important role to play in the future of the world. Therefore, you have a moral obligation to take care of yourself. You have to take good care of yourself, help out, and be a charitable. Behave like you do care about Someone you love and appreciate.

Decide where to negotiate about yourself so that you don’t get angry, get revenge, and be cruel. You need to have your own personal principles for two reasons:

So that you can shield yourself against others who mistreat you

So that you are safe when you work and play

When you take care of yourself, you can begin to make sense of your life. Never underestimate the potential or power of your direction and vision. They can turn obstacles into open roads and expanded opportunities.

Rule Three

Make Friends With The People That Wishes You Well Or Want The Best For You

Note that the type of friends you that you keep have a major impact on your total behavior. Their mannerisms and sayings will often have an effect on you. This means that they can also affect you negatively through toxic habits.

But if you mix yourself with people who support your ascension goal, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. Instead, they’ll encourage you when you’re doing good to yourself and others and carefully punish you when you don’t. This encouragement will strengthen your resolve.

People who don’t aim for the top do the opposite. Peterson points out that in high-performing group projects, leaders often spread the underperformance. Your goal is to bring the mediocre performance to the level of their colleagues. Nevertheless, research suggests that the opposite effect is a lot more common. The best performers are likely to be reduced to the level of the worst performers.

So, try to surround yourself with good people. Also, look beyond superficial characteristics like the sense of style or socioeconomic standing and find out who is aiding you make positive change. It takes strength and courage to stand next to such brilliant people because you can feel inferior. Have a little humility and courage to be able to grow as an individual.

Rule Four

Compare Yourself To The Person You Were Yesterday, Not Who Another Person Is Today

Find Your Essence.

Once an adult, you are unique. So be careful when comparing yourself to others. You have your own certain concerns – intimate, financial and psychological, etc. They are blended into the unique and bigger context of your existence.

Your career or your job may or may not work for you personally. If it does, it does it in a unique interaction with the other details of your life. When you have found your essence, you need to decide how often you want to spend on your career and how much time you want to spend on other aspects of your life. You also need to decide what to let go of and what to go for. These decisions require careful observation, education, reflection, and communication with others. By doing this, you are essentially scratching the surface of your beliefs. It will enable you make honest decisions without feeling overwhelmed by your challenges.

Don’t Compare Yourself To People.

We all have an inborn need to compare ourselves to others. Your brain always releases a hormone known as serotonin when you notice that you are greater or better than others. Once you have serotonin in your blood, you feel safe and in control of your life.

But your brain limits serotonin whenever someone intimidates your status in society and makes you seem useless. This is how you will start to doubt yourself and experience low self-esteem.

You’re now connected to billions of people online. This means that it doesn’t take long for your brain to notice how you interact with others. When you are exposed to so many better people, you’re more likely to lose hope. You stop acting and let your life end in chaos. The best manner to avoid this is to stop comparing yourself to Someone else today. Instead, start by comparing yourself to who you were yesterday.

Put Your Psychological House In Order.

Your psychological house is the most vital thing to monitor and improve. Comparing yourself today to what you were yesterday is what Peterson “represents” in your psychological house. You can see your progress and decide if you think you are progressing at the pace you want. You then need to decide where your psychological house is in need of renovation. Determine if these changes are a cosmetic measure or a structural defect. List those areas that need improvement and link them to solutions.

This improvement approach will help your internal critic become less obsessed with flaws and more focused on improvement. It’s also an integral part of Peterson’s sixth rule, “put your house in excellent condition before you condemn the world,” so it’s obviously important.

Rule Five

Don’t Let Your Kids Do Anything That Makes You Hate Them

Parents should treat their children in a way that they are prepared for the real world. For Peterson, that means putting the right rules in place to keep them performing well in society. If parents ignore it, their children risk being rejected by society in several painful ways. This may seem like a high-pressure challenge as our children are blank boards that will affect future generations. However, choosing what to write on those blank boards can be overwhelming.

Peterson first encourages readers to accept human’s innate aggressiveness. As a result, nearly everyone has been subjugated or bullied as a child. To overcome this aggression, the author believes that raising nice children should be your main concern. It doesn’t mean you have to be your child’s best friend. This would prevent you from applying the rules necessary to help your child become a better person.

Peterson provides the following examples of helpful rules:

  • Never use force unless you are in self-defence.
  • Show kindness and respect to others.

Peterson also recommends avoiding superficial rules, such as:

  • You must always go to bed before 7:00 p.m.
  • You should never wear the wrong socks.

In addition to setting rules that will guide children to a better future, parents must learn to assist their children overcome failure and pain. These happenings are inevitable and should be used for learning. Raise children that are passionate about changing the world. And create children who want to improve themselves so that they are better equipped to change the world.

Rule Six

Put Your House In Tip-Top Shape Before You Start Criticizing The World

Start small and think about your own situation before you complain about the world or your situation.

Think about these:

  • Did you make the best of your opportunities?
  • Are you working hard on your career? Or do you allow bitterness and resentment hold you back thereby reducing to ruins?
  • Have you made peace with your brother?
  • Do you treat your spouse and children with dignity and respect?
  • Do you have any habits that affect your health and well-being?

Have a little humility. If you cannot create peace in your home, you are not equipped to run a city. Let your soul guide you. Then see what happens in the days and weeks after your home is in other. When you’re at work, you’ll begin to say what you think. You start to tell your wife, husband, kids, or parents what you want and need.

When you know you have regrets, you will take steps to correct them. Your head will clear up when you stop filling it with lies that everything is fine. Your experience will improve as you stop fighting counterfeit acts that don’t solve the problems in your home.

Rule Seven

Go For What Makes Sense Not What Is Expedient

Peterson appropriately uses the term expedient to describe the change in activities that we know we should be doing instead for short-term satisfaction. We do it because life is full of suffering. But life is so much more than suffering. Thus, try to enjoy life as much as you can by aiming for something meaningful. The search for meaning will help you become a better and happier person and help you cope with suffering.

You can do this by seeking sacrifice rather than instant gratification. This sacrifice must be for the good of others and not for your own. For example, Peterson doesn’t see long hours to win promotion as a sacrifice because a positive outcome for yourself always drives your actions.

Peterson explains that these little positive effects will help you grow like a lotus flower. These flowers start at the bottom of a muddy lake and grow slowly. Finally, the lotus flowers burst beautifully in the sun. So when you sacrifice yourself for others, you can make your life much more fulfilling in the future.

Rule Eight

Tell The Truth Or, At Least Do Not Lie

You can make use of words to manipulate the world to deliver what you want. This includes lying to others but also lying to yourself. But this approach is driven by a poorly conceived desire that does not consider its negative effects.

Be attentive to what you do and say. In this case, you can learn to feel a state of inner division and weakness when you behave badly and speak badly. It is an embodied feeling, not a thought. But if you blindly and deliberately aim everything towards one goal, you will never know if another goal would be better.

If you continue to live by the truth, you must accept and deal with the conflict created by this way of being. By doing this, you will continue to grow and become more responsible, both small and large. You will come closer to your more meaningfully formulated goals and become even more intelligent as you discover and correct your inevitable mistakes.

Rule Nine

Assume The Person You Are Listening To Knows Something You Don’t Know

Listen Instead Of Judging.

A person listening can reflect the crowd. He can do it without speaking. He lets the speaker listen to himself. Freud recommended this.

Freud let his patients lie on a sofa, gazing at the ceiling, let their thoughts wander, and say whatever came in. This is his method of free association. Freudian psychoanalysts have used this method to avoid transferring their prejudices and opinions into the patient’s inner landscape.

Instead, if you listen without skipping over, people will usually tell you whatever they think – with a bit of deceit. People describe the most unique, absurd, and exciting details. As a result, a few of your conversations get boring.

What You Know Now Is Not Enough.

If your life isn’t perfect, what you known now is enough. You remain threatened by disease, self-deception, misfortune, evil, betrayal, corruption, pain, and limitation. You are subjected to all of these factors because you are just too ignorant to protect yourself. If you knew enough, you may perhaps be healthier and more honest. It would bother you less. You can spot malice and evil, resist and even win. You would not betray a friend or act inappropriately and fraudulently in business, politics, or love.

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Your current knowledge has not made you perfect, nor has it protected you. It is therefore not sufficient. For this reason, the priestess of the oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece spoke a lot about Socrates. Socrates always sought the truth. She described him as the wisest man in life because he knew what he knew was nothing. So let’s assume that the person you are listening to knows something that you are ignorant of.

Rule Ten

Be Precise In Your Speech

When we have a issue, we are often tempted to hide it or hope that the problem will go away on its own. It’s easier to hold the peace and avoid the fear, hopelessness, and sadness surrounding your issues. It’s easier to pretend the issue doesn’t exist than admit it exists and accept the pain.

But this is not an effective solution. So, if you want to achieve anything, you have to be clear and specific about your goals. Unclear goals can lead to unclear actions, which can then lead to unclear results. If you have a vague concern, you will struggle with it until you define it and explicitly flesh it out. Once you identify the problem, you will probably find that you were much more afraid than you should have been. You now have a specific goal to achieve. And with the specificity, you can start challenging the chaos.

Rule Eleven

Never Disturb Children When They Are Skating

Peterson believes parenting affects how children react to danger in the future. For example, parents often encourage their children to do something safer than skateboarding or climbing. The author believes that children who are deterred from these activities will have difficulty dealing with the risks in the adult world.

Peterson also discussed gender equality in this chapter. He acknowledges that there’s a growing desire for equality in modern society. He emphasizes the difference between opportunities and equality of results. If gender equality means equal opportunities, rights, and treatment, that’s good. However, similar opportunities must not be at the expense of equal results. According to 12 Rules for Life, the concept of ​​literal, complete equality is not supported by biology. It can be counterproductive because it forces people against their nature.

Rule Twelve

Pet A Cat When You See One In The Street

Peterson admits that focusing on the ugly parts of life is easy. However, some examples of suffering can be absolutely overwhelming. As an example, he cites his daughter’s lifelong struggle with severe arthritis. The easy way out in these crises is to get nihilistic or negative about anything. Unfortunately, the reality is that this approach can often be worse than the first ailment.

To counteract potential nihilism, pay attention to the love and beauty around you. This can be a sunset, flowers, or just petting a cat. Think about those moments when you can increase their impact. Life is too short to suffer.


12 Rules for Life explains the modern world as chaotic. We are constantly looking for happiness without having the foundation to be happy. Peterson understands this foundation comes from meaning. This meaning should come from within and not from others. Once you have your home in order, you can start making a positive impact on the lives of others.

To lead a meaningful life, Peterson offers 12 rules for life:

  1. Stand straight with your shoulders back
  2. Treat yourself like you are someone in need of help
  3. Make friends with people who want what’s best for you
  4. Compare or measure yourself to what you were yesterday, not like someone else today
  5. Don’t let your kids do anything that makes you hate them
  6. Put your house in order before criticizing the world
  7. Chase what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8. Tell the truth – or at least didn’t lie
  9. Suppose the person you are listening to knows something that you don’t know
  10. Be precise in your speech
  1. Do not disturb the children while they skateboard
  2. Pet a cat when you meet one on the street

We’re just scratching the surface here. If you don’t already have the original book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson,” order it here now on Amazon to learn the juicy details.

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