12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos was published in 2018 by Canadian clinical psychologist and psychology professor Jordan Peterson. The book provides life advice through essays on abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion, and personal anecdotes.
The book is broken up into 12 parts/"rules" for life:
1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
This physical posture says to the world "I am confident and a force to be recond with". Consciously being aware of this posture will eventually make it second nature, and people will respond to you better and take you more seriously in the world. The world doesn't reward the meek.
2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
We often take care of our family members, friends and pets better than we take care of ourselves. Don't be so hard on yourself, and treat yourself the same way as you would someone you love dearly.
3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
Rid yourself of toxic friends, and remember you are the average of the five people you hangout with the most. So if you hang out with five drug addicts, the odds are you will become a drug addict. Hangout with five people who are driven, motivated and have a desire for growth, and you will most likely be like that as well.
4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
Comparison to another persons haves results in envy. Peterson suggests rather than compare yourself to another person, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, and each day try to improve yourself (just a little bit) from the person you were the day before. As Roosevelt said "comparison is the theif of joy".
5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
Raise your children in a manner where they will be liked by others, don't let them do things that make you dislike them, you can imagine if you don't like them, then other people (children and adults) will dislike them. It is the role of the parent to ready them (children) for positive interactions with the outside world, and a large part of that is social interactions with other people. If they are raised in a manner where they think they can get away with doing unlikable things, then this will make it difficult for them to be liked later on in life.
6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
Our world is abundent with suffering and malevolence, so why spend our time and energy trying to criticise or fix another person. Instead concentrate on fixing ourselves first, as that is a life time journey.
7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie
Don't corrupt your own perceptions, if you lie they you are really lying to yourself, then you cannot trust your own perceptions, and then nothing you pursue will be pure.
9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't
This is a mark of recognition of ones own ignorance, what is more important? What you do know or what you don't know? There is a lot that we don't know, and often what we don't know is more important that what we already know. Listen to others and you may learn something new.
10. Be precise in your speech
11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
Do not shelter your children. The world is a hard place which is touched with betrayal and malevolence, this is a metaphor to allow your children to expose themselves to some level of risk, to prepare them to thrive in a world where they can't be sheltered from.
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
What to do when you don't know what to do? When life has hit a road hump, how do you cope with that? The necessity of narrowing your time frame to the adversity and taking the time to appreciate the small things that cross your path.
Conclusion: I found this book helpful and see it as a good starting point for people who are lacking to find or develop any definition in their character. These 12 rules can be a starting block for greater self development as we know personal growth is a long life journey and this book is a good start.