What is 12 Rules For Life About?
12 Rules for Life provides twelve profound and practical principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today.
The book's central idea is that "suffering is built into the structure of being" and although it can be unbearable, people have a choice either to withdraw, which is a "suicidal gesture", or to face and transcend it. Living in a world of chaos and order, everyone has "darkness" that can "turn them into the monsters they're capable of being" to satisfy their dark impulses in the right situations. The book advances the idea that people are born with an instinct for ethics and meaning, and should take responsibility to search for meaning above their own interests. (12 Rules For Life Summary)
39 Top Quotes From 12 Rules For Life
1. [Favorite Quote]: "Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You"
2. “When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”
3. “You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act."
4. "Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World"
5. "If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.”
6. "Tell The Truth - or, At Least, Don't Lie"
7. “To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell.”
8. "Pursue What Is Meaningful (Not What Is Expedient)"
9. "Attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them"
10. "Assume The Person You Are Listening To Might Know Something You Don't"
11. “Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles"
12. "You must determine where you are going in your life, because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. "
13. “Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.”
14. “Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge"
15. "Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to someone else today,"
16. "You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. "
17. "Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping"
18. "People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results."
19. "The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go"
20. "Listen to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom"
21. “The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future.”
22. “It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself”
23. “Always place your becoming above your current being.”
24. “If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth"
25. “Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better."
26. “Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. "
27. "Order can become excessive, and that’s not good, but chaos can swamp us, so we drown— and that is also not good. We need to stay on the straight and narrow path.”
28. “What you aim at determines what you see.”
29. “if you cannot understand why someone did something, look at the consequences—and infer the motivation.”
30. “If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character.”
31. “You are by no means only what you already know. You are also all that which you could know, if you only would. Thus, you should never sacrifice what you could be for what you are."
32. "You must be cautious, because making your life better means adopting a lot of responsibility, and that takes more effort and care than living stupidly in pain and remaining arrogant, deceitful and resentful."
33. “Dreams shed light on the dim places where reason itself has yet to voyage.”
34. "You have to articulate your own principles, so that you can defend yourself against others’ taking inappropriate advantage of you, and so that you are secure and safe while you work and play. "
35. “It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with people whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve.”
36. “It is necessary to be strong in the face of death, because death is intrinsic to life. "
37. "Life is short, and you don’t have time to figure everything out on your own. The wisdom of the past was hard-earned, and your dead ancestors may have something useful to tell you"
38. “If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself. "
39. "Without rules we quickly become slaves to our passions—and there’s nothing freeing about that.”
― Quotes from the book 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson
Who is the Author of 12 Rules For Life?
Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, self-help writer, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormal, social, and personality psychology, with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.