My own 12 Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life, which are as follows:

Rule 1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back


Rule 2 Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping


Rule 3 Make friends with people who want the best for you


Rule 4 Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today


Rule 5 Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them


Rule 6 Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world


Rule 7 Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)


Rule 8 Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie


Rule 9 Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t


Rule 10 Be precise in your speech


Rule 11 Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding


Rule 12 Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Here are my rules:

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. This is quote is attributed to Howard H. Aiken, and so by voluntarily taking his idea, I’m falsifying it, but it’s accurate anyway.

Related to the above quote, no one cares about your ideas. Rather, you have to signal competence and then people will be more inclined to care about your ideas. I expound on this in my writing guides.

Competence is everything, followed by conscientiousness. In the video above (around the 12 minute mark), Jordan Peterson talks about how ‘dominance hierarchies’ are actually hierarchies of competence and how smart, hard-working people tend to rise to the top of almost all societies. A person with a 3-sigma IQ (>145) is more likely to succeed than even someone born wealthy[1]. If your IQ is average, unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this beyond trying to be more conscientious.

Whatever idea you have, there is likely someone who did it earlier and better.

Write down everything you are grateful for. Sounds trite but it works.

The truth won’t set you free but it will at least help make things seem more logically consistent.

Financial independence is not about making more but about spending less.

Keep capital on the sidelines to be deployed when new opportunities arise.

Don’t spend too much time on Netflix, social media, or watching TV. Do something that achieves an actual tangible result and or in some way improves your knowledge and understanding of the world. This means reading, watching documentaries, taking an online course, etc.

Tune out the news. 95% of it is noise, immaterial, and a distraction.

If necessary, make your own rules. The individual can make a difference. Jordan Peterson became famous and wealthy seemingly overnight as a consequence of challenging the C-16 bill, in the process tapping into a much larger anti-PC sentiment that was percolating under the surface but needed someone as smart and articulate as Jordan Peterson to break it open.

It’s almost impossible to have the ‘full story’ and or have a ‘correct opinion’ about any issue. Well-worn media narratives are often wrong. Decades later despite many studies, the debate over unemployment v. minimum wages is still not resolved and likely never will be. The difference between accounting for inflation versus ignoring it can result in wildly divergent outcomes. Even people who are held up as experts occasionally get it wrong, especially if their ideological biases preclude any possibly of objectivity; for example, Paul Krugman predicting recession if Trump won, and then in 2013, wrongly predicting recession due to the government shutdown. [2]

[1] But the problem is, quantifying wealth is less objective than IQ. Someone born into a large rich family may inherit less wealth than a single child born into a small but very rich household and hence inherit all of the wealth. The Rockefeller, Walton, and Kennedy heirs aren’t famous for being towering intellects but none of them seem to be suffering. It’s obvious that wealth beyond a certain threshold is enough to overcome 3-sigma worth of IQ points.

[2] Krugman in 2012-2013 repeatedly warned that the GOP-controlled House ‘obstruction’ and budget cuts would push the US economy into recession (in his words ‘holding the economy hostage’)…the stock market is up 30% since then and GDP and other data remains strong, so he was hugely wrong there. In 2010 he also wrongly predicted the dissolution of the Euro and Eurozone. He incorrectly predicted deflation (although inflation is low, there was no deflation except for a brief period between 2008-2009). He underestimated Trump (although so did 99% of pundits). And after Trump won he wrote, “…we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened” LOL with the S&P up 10% for the year and GDP growth other metrics strong, the Krugster was wrong about that, too.