The 12 Rules that Can Change Your Life

It’s human nature to explore their purpose and meaning in life. Some find solace in religion, while others seek stability through material gains and worldly pleasures.

And still, man’s quest is yet to be fulfilled. 

Jordan Peterson, a renowned clinical psychologist and a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, is among the few human beings who searched for the deeper meaning in life.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is based on Peterson’s years of research.

Peterson believes that a specific structure is key to leading a life with purpose.

His book sheds the theory that rules are meant to be broken, and gives the way to live a meaningful life. 

Let’s find out what these rules are and what they say. 

Fix your posture 

Jordan compares humans with lobsters.

Lobsters battle for dominance. When two lobsters fight, the loser ends up with low serotonin levels, and their brain size changes too.

The winner’s body secretes more chemicals, has better posture, greater confidence, and fights longer. 

Similarly, humans who perceive their social status better have better well-being, are full of strong self-esteem and are filled with happiness and health. 

Care for yourself the way you care for others

According to Peterson, humans are generally self-loathing in nature.

We think we’re not worthy of getting help. So, even though we care for our pets when they get sick, we fail to care for ourselves. 

This belief stems from the thought that others are innocent and deserving of all the care in the world. 

Surround yourself with people who want your best

The people you spend time with make up your personality. That’s why being around people who want to see you succeed is vital. These people will stop you from going down the drain or engaging in harmful activities.

In comparison, selfish people will have you around because they want to use you as a life buoy without taking responsibility for their actions. 

Improve your own game instead of playing others’

It’s understandable to feel inferior in terms of looks, wealth, status, or relationships. But you must remember that success isn’t a straight arrow.

Others’ success has nothing to do with your own because everyone has a different goal to achieve.

By following this rule, you will rid yourself of the inferiority complex and become a master at your game. 

Teach your children to abide by society’s rules

Children learn what they’re taught. And since no child is born with the knowledge of how the world operates, you may find them doing things that are not permitted. 

It’s your responsibility to teach your kids the norms of the world.

Set healthy boundaries.

Many parents are even afraid to discipline their kids, thinking it hinders creativity, but healthy boundaries improve it. 

Use timely rewards like praise or a pat when your child does something right. And always use a mix of positive and negative emotions to educate your child. 

Get your own house in order before criticizing others

Setbacks and suffering can make people react in harmful ways. It might make you feel revengeful for every last person on Earth who you think did you harm. But it doesn’t help your situation. Because what’s done is done.

What you can do is make peace with what happened and make a positive difference. 

For example, a victim of sexual abuse doesn’t have to become a bully. Instead, they can become the voice of the other victims. 

The key lies in trusting your judgment instead of looking for what others are doing or what they want you to do. 

Focus on a higher purpose, not instant gratification

Living a meaningful life is not about getting something in return the minute you invest in a task. That’s the main difference between animals and humans. We’re taught the concept of delayed gratification. So, we understand that hardships today will deliver fruitful results tomorrow. 

And if that means saving our hard-earned money for rainy days instead of spending every cent, so be it. 

Find your personal truth and live it

Humans lie all the time to others. We lie about what we want. We lie when we want to avoid pain. We lie to feel competent. 

The trouble comes when you start lying to yourself. When you make yourself believe that you’re someone that you’re not or what you can do, but in reality, you have no idea how to do it.

It can be a job that gives money but no happiness or a drinking habit that seems rewarding but isn’t.

You may get stuck in a life-lie because you’ve fixated on an outcome. Or you may stick with a lie to escape from confronting past mistakes. 

Finding your personal truth is about accepting that life isn’t ideal but that it’s nothing if you’re not honest with yourself. 

Learn to be a good listener

We are much too intent on giving advice than hearing out perspectives. But you must understand that listening to what others have to say without judgment is a form of therapy for them.

It helps people think and gain clarity on their views. As a listener, you can help other people to think.

You don’t have to say anything; just lending a good listening ear is enough. 

Define your problem precisely to make it manageable

It’s easier to pretend that a problem doesn’t exist or that it has an easy solution than it is to confront the associated pain and deeper meaning.

If left unaddressed, these problems can build up to become a catastrophic failure. But once you pinpoint the issue specifically, it becomes more manageable. 

Accept that inequality exists

We live in a world that constantly focuses on gender equality. But the reality is that it goes against our biological nature and can backfire.

It’s similar to female animals who play different roles, but no one calls it gender inequality. So, feeling the need to equalize men’s and women’s struggles is baseless.

Peterson advocates that people should have the social freedom to choose what they want instead of a 50-50 split in every profession. 

For example, if given the freedom, if women want to pursue nursing and men wish to design bridges, then why not?

The sooner you accept that inequality is a life fact, the better.

Take time to appreciate the good things in life

This rule stems from a personal loss Peterson suffered in the shape of his daughter, who was plagued with years of chronic pain due to a rare juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. 

Peterson believes that our pains make our joys and triumphs meaningful.

Without pain, there is no joy. And when you learn to enjoy the good things, it becomes easier to understand that these make life worth living. 


These 12 rules can be the gold standard for leading a healthy and happy life. So, start following these rules today to leave chaos behind.