My Take on “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson

I find Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life” quite intriguing, as it delves into personal growth and life’s challenges. While it’s gained a lot of popularity, I think it’s important to look at it from a critical perspective, acknowledging its strengths and weaknesses based on my own reflections.

What I Appreciate:

  1. Psychological Applications: I really appreciate how Peterson uses psychological principles in practical ways. For instance, the rule about standing up straight is a great example of how physical posture can impact our mental state.
  2. Self-Compassion Focus: I resonate with the book’s emphasis on treating oneself kindly. It’s a crucial aspect of building self-esteem and growing as a person. Even though some stories, like the one about transplant recipients, might come off as a bit harsh, they do make a strong point about the importance of self-care.
  3. Choosing the Right Friends: I agree with Peterson on the importance of having friends who are honest, ambitious, and possess integrity. These relationships are so important for our own development.
  4. Personal Progress Matters: The idea of comparing myself to who I was yesterday, not to someone else today, really hits home for me. It’s a healthier way to look at personal growth.
  5. Meaningful Goals: I like how Peterson advises focusing on goals that truly matter to us personally, not just what looks good to others.
  6. The Value of Honesty: His emphasis on honesty and living authentically, even when it’s tough, is something I find very important.
  7. Learning from Others: The advice to listen and learn from others, assuming they know something you don’t, is a great approach to staying open-minded.
  8. Clear Communication: I think clear communication is key, and Peterson’s advice on this is spot-on for avoiding misunderstandings.

Where I See Shortcomings:

  1. Specific Advice: Some rules, like the ones about skateboarding kids and petting a cat, don’t seem universally applicable to me.
  2. Child-Centric Views: As someone without kids, I find his focus on children’s behavior and parenting advice a bit irrelevant to my life.
  3. Metaphors Can Be Tricky: I feel that metaphors, while powerful, can sometimes lead to misinterpretation or even a tendency towards perfectionism.
  4. Emotion-Based Definitions: Defining what’s meaningful based on personal emotions might not work for everyone, given our diverse backgrounds and biases.
  5. Inner Authenticity Issues: I’m skeptical about the idea of using an inner sense to gauge truthfulness, considering how easy it is to deceive ourselves.
  6. Misinterpreting Dominance: The rule about listening to learn can be misunderstood as accepting harmful advice, which is something to be cautious about.

In Summary:

I see “12 Rules for Life” as a mix of really insightful advice and points that need a bit more scrutiny. I believe in approaching such books with a critical eye, taking what resonates with me and being aware of their potential biases and limitations. After all, personal growth is about our own unique journey, and no single book can offer a one-size-fits-all solution.