Your professional life cannot be divorced from your overall being. At the end of the day, your thoughts and actions influence every aspect of your life, be it personal or professional.
Moreover, as an entrepreneur, you have the power as well as the responsibility to guide others. So, winning at life becomes equally important as winning at your ventures.
Since time immemorial, people have been sharing learnings from their lives. You and I, we find ourselves turning to them. Sometimes through books, other times through other mediums.
In recent times, a name that has become popular for some solid life advice is Jordan Peterson.
If you’ve headed to bookstores or YouTube for life lessons in the last few years, chances are you already know Jordan Peterson. If you don’t have, here’s a little about him.
Who is Jordan Peterson?
Dr. Jordan B Peterson is a renowned Canadian clinical psychologist, psychology professor, and author. His insights on life have found a huge following over the past few years.
One of his books, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has been among the number one bestsellers of 2018. Peterson’s talks on YouTube and podcasts enjoy an immense following as well.
The recently published sequel to this book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, is yet another example of his work gaining popularity.
Through his books and talks, Peterson gives profound life advice rooted in ancient wisdom, psychology, mythology, and personal experiences. His ideas surrounding the meaning of life aim to help people sort out their life and improve the world starting from themselves.
His immense popularity can be credited to the powerful resonance and simplicity of his ideas among the masses. Not to mention, his views invite some criticism, too.
Read on for some of the practical and wise life lessons by Jordan Peterson.
Fix your posture to enhance your well-being
The first part of his book, 12 Rules for Life, “stand up straight with your shoulders back,” highlights the importance of confident posture.
Our brains are wired to try to fit into the social hierarchy. When others approve of us, our brain releases serotonin and we feel better about ourselves. Conversely, when others treat us negatively, serotonin lowers and we start seeing ourselves as inferior in the world.
Peterson suggests standing up straight with your shoulders back makes others assume you’re confident. Hence, they treat you better and more serotonin is released in your brain.
Serotonin is a key hormone behind our feelings of well-being and happiness. Fixing your posture helps you hack this chemical, eventually making you confident. In addition, it is important to fix your erratic eating and sleeping habits since it interfere with the brain’s serotonin release function.
Be mindful of your posture and habits. Avoid drooping or hunching. Build good habits. These actions encourage the flow of serotonin and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of it.
Take responsibility for helping yourself
We are often our worst critics. Moreover, we find it easier to take care of others than ourselves.
Addressing these two phenomena, Peterson outlines the second rule for life, which is to “treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping.”
Most of us tend to believe that we are not worthy of help. This mindset leads to self-sabotaging behaviors such as beating ourselves up on failures or ignoring our health. The key to overcoming such a mindset is to take the responsibility to help oneself as one does for the people they love.
According to Peterson, the way to do this is firstly by writing down your principles and sticking by them. Secondly, you should reward yourself for sticking to your principles. Last but not the least, instead of beating yourself upon failing, be kind to yourself and try to do better next time.
The crux of this rule for life is being kind to ourselves. Respecting ourselves. Taking care of our health so that we can do better in life for ourselves and others.
Choose friends who want the best for you
The company we keep is crucial to shaping our life outcomes. Peterson’s third rule for life stresses the importance of befriending the people who are good for us.
Surrounding yourself with people who want to see your life improved means they will pull you up. They show you the right way when you’re going wrong.
But, the people who are not good for you will not only pull you down but also encourage bad behavior.
You may not find it easier to surround yourself with unhealthy people, but the price you’ll have to pay because of it can be huge. Going out with healthy people will certainly bring growth to your life.
Compare yourself to yesterday’s you, not to today’s someone else
One of the most pertinent lessons by Jordan Peterson is his rule “compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today.”
Constantly comparing ourselves to others is a grim reality of present times. We always find someone who is more accomplished than us. So, we end up feeling incompetent every time.
The realization that someone’s always going to be doing better than us is the first step to putting a stop to our pointless comparisons with others. What really matters is how much have we grown in comparison to what we were in the past.
Peterson advises finding something to improve upon a little each day. In the long term, it will create a massive change in your life.
“Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.”
If you’re not growing, you’re not winning
In continuation with the above lesson, Peterson also stresses the significance of growing. We tend to mistake success for growth.
Your outside achievements regarding bank balance, physical appearance, or social influence mean nothing if you don’t have inner fulfillment.
He emphasizes that true success comes when we are growing mentally and spiritually along with our material achievements. So, commit to your growth to win at life.
Pursue what’s meaningful, not what is beneficial
Peterson gives another vital lesson to make your life meaningful by asking you to delay gratification.
Seeking things that give us immediate pleasure tends to strip us of purposeful life in the long run. On the contrary, not giving in to temptations adds meaning to life and makes us happier.
To find meaning in life, we need to pay attention to the world and its sufferings. Pondering it will lead us to find solutions to make a better future for ourselves and others. Further, meaning comes by doing something each day to change the world for the better.
Before criticizing the world, focus on improving yourself
We all are guilty of blaming external situations for our problems, at some point in our lives, if not always. It is a harsh truth that we find it easier to criticize than fix things on our end.
Jordan Peterson brings attention to this human tendency and advises you to take the responsibility to set your life in order before you criticize the world. You need to first find the root of all the problems and do everything you can to fix them.
You need to be aware of your actions that are leading to larger problems in the world. For example, if you’re bothered about corruption, find out how you’re contributing to it, and stop doing that. If your health is bad, start making amends in your lifestyle.
Rather than wasting time by questioning things, you should focus on improving your actions.
Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie
Morality has always been at the center stage of human existence. Peterson sheds light on the same in his advice – tell the truth and avoid lying.
We usually lie to avoid short-term pain, but in the long run, it comes to bite us back with much greater force. Lies make us avoid hard truths. How truthful we’re today will also impact our future growth.
To avoid lying to others or ourselves, we need to start having difficult conversations.
Listen to others, you will learn something
Time and again, wise people emphasize the power of listening. Peterson seconds this wisdom in his rule for life “assume the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.”
Listening and being understood are vital human needs. When we listen to others, not only do they feel understood, but they also introduce us to new ideas. Listening also helps to build trust. On the contrary, talking doesn’t help us learn anything new.
To truly learn by listening, it is a good idea to summarize the conversation back to the speaker. This makes sure you’ve understood them fully and clarifies your thinking as well.
Be precise with your speech to avoid chaos
Along with being a good listener, it is important to speak precisely. Why is it important?
Jordan believes precision helps to remove anxiety. When someone is not saying exactly what they are thinking or feeling, it increases the fear of the unknown. When the thing becomes known, our brain doesn’t race and thus, anxieties lessen.
So, if something bothers you, become attentive to your thoughts and get precise in speaking it out. It will help you confront the chaos and bring more order to your life.
“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”
Learn to write
In one of his answers to a question on Quora, Peterson considers writing to be a necessary skill for the 21st century. It is so because writing facilities recall memory and help you organize your thoughts.
To write well, you need to think, read, do research, filter information, and organize it. Moreover, when you can write well, you are equipped to speak, even publicly.
The whole process helps to organize your brain, clarifies your ideas.
Don’t do what you hate
In his recently launched book, Beyond Order, Peterson asks readers to stop wasting time on things they don’t like to do, especially in their careers. He believes life is too short to spend it on things that don’t give us fulfillment.
If you don’t enjoy your work, you won’t be able to give your best. This lesson applies to other areas of life too.
There may be times when you have to overcome challenges. Still, you better avoid making deliberate choices that you’ll end up hating.
Don’t blindly follow ideas
“Abandon ideology” is a nother nugget of wisdom from Peterson’s new book. He says that all ideas should be respected but recommends staying away from strictly following ideologies.
Blind following often leads us to an imaginary world where we start treating people on the other side as enemies.
So, instead of accepting or rejecting an idea, it is better to respect them and develop humility. Moreover, we should commit ourselves to important things in life that will lead us to inner fulfillment.
Risks make you resilient
“Leave children alone when they are skateboarding” is a rather interesting rule for life given by Peterson. Through this rule, he throws light on the human tendency to enjoy some element of danger and learn from it.
We have been living in unprecedented comfort compared to our ancestors, which is making us weak. The whole idea of this rule is to let our children (as well as ourselves) get exposed to some risks. This helps to build resilience.
Focus on the little things when things are bad
Suffering is an inevitable part of life, Jordan believes. His rule for life, “pet a cat when you encounter one on the street,” is all about finding little things to feel good about.
Often, life throws us challenges that exhaust us. Dealing with crises all at once is not going to be helpful. Instead, we should slow down and focus on what’s in front of us. Take things little by little and try to do things that brighten up your day. For example, petting a cat.
That’s the end of some exceptional life lessons from Jordan Peterson.
Which ones connect the most with you?
Share the article with someone who might be in need of some wise words.