Monday, October 15, 2018

12 Rules for Life #12 Pat a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

Set aside some time to talk and to think about the illness or other crisis and how it should be managed every day. Do not talk or think about it otherwise. If you do not limit its effect, you will become exhausted, and everything will spiral into the ground. This is not helpful. Conserve your strength. You’re in a war, not a battle, and a war is composed of many battles. You must stay functional through all of them. When worries associated with the crisis arise at other times, remind yourself that you will think them through, during the scheduled period
(Jordan Peterson)

This final rule is mainly autobiographical and Peterson tells us about tragedy and pain. When tragic things are in front of us and we’re powerless, we must keep our eyes open for those little things that make life worthwhile. The title of this chapter inspired from the author’s experience of observing a local stray cat and watching it adapt to its surroundings in a harsh environment. “

When you feel that your life is crewed up there is a way to make it easier to handle until you make it back on your feet. That is to shorten your “temporal horizon.” Stop thinking about what’s going to happen in the next months. Think about what and how you can improve today’s day or maybe just the next hours. Shrink the time frame until you can eventually handle the rest of it and this is how you adjust to devastation. It’s very important to not give up even in the worst situations, even if you’re at a place you’d rather not be, always try to look for what’s meaningful and worthwhile. “When you are going for a walk and your head is spinning a cat will show up and if you pay attention to it then you will get a reminder for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of Being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it,” wrote Peterson, “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.”

Keep Your Eyes on What’s Meaningful and Worthwhile.

12 Rules for Life #11 Don't Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

If you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of
(Jordan Peterson)

This rule is essentially about masculinity (you might not agree with me). Peterson tells us that when children do all kinds of this crazy stuff on skateboards and handrails (or in Malaysia, play in the rain or at the playground or outside the house yard), we should let them be. Of course, it might be dangerous but it’s important for them to develop masculinity, competence, take risk and face danger. Normally, a lot of rebellious behavior in school is called “toxic masculinity” but Peterson believes that the benefits are bigger than the probably problematic situations.

When people are untrammeled and feel encouraged, they prefer to live in the edge. By living this way, they can be confident in their experience and confront chaos that helps them develop and grow. They’re made for that reason, to enjoy risk (some of them more than others). Besides, if they are overprotected, they will fail when something dangerous or unexpected will suddenly occur, which inevitably will happen sometime – eventually. So why not let them develop toughness? 

Let them Play... Dangerously

12 Rules for Life #10 Be Precise In Your Speech (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

To be precise in your speech does two things...
it specifies your goal and it reduces uncertainty.
(Jordan Peterson)

According to Peterson, there is an undivided connection between communication and reality. Language takes what’s unknown from chaos and gives it a name making it into a thing. Once that thing is addressed with a name then you can control it. A simple example would be the feeling of touch. Imagine that you see a pot in front of you for the first time. Without touching it you don’t know what’s wrong with it. Once you touch it you feel it’s too hot to hold it for too long. So, you give it a “name” – a hot pot. Now you can do something about it and use a pair of heatproof gloves to do your job.

On the other hand, the unnameable is terrifying, at least much more than the nameable. As an example, the movie The Ring didn’t describe and name the evil at all. Objectively speaking, in this movie the scary scenes are very few in number in comparison with other horror thrillers. It’s all about the unnameable. If you can’t name something then that makes it more terrifying to you. It also makes you feel weaker against it if you don’t actually know what it is. That’s why, according to Peterson, precise speech is important. I can bring things out of the realm of unspeakable. Words are not to be underestimated as they have a creative power. Don’t create more mark and darkness by imprecise speech!

Be Precise… Exercise, Practice… then Speak

12 Rules for Life #9 Assume that the Person You are Listening to Might Know Something You Don't (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

“The great majority of us could not listen; we would find ourselves compelled to evaluate because listening would seem too dangerous. So the first requirement is courage, and we do not always have it.”
(Carl Rogers)

When people argue about something, they often fall in the trap of trying to win over that argument and miss the true point of a good conversation. That is to come-out-wiser-than-you mentality when into it. First of all, winning over an argument does not necessarily mean that your thinking was smarter. If you happen to be more verbally fluent than the others, chances are against him even though he might be wiser than you, because as long as he cannot express his opinions with ease he can’t win because you don’t give him fair chances to win. And as mentioned before: “It’s not about winning.”

The best thing to do is to take a good advantage of what someone is trying to tell you. Give him or her a chance to fully explain and make you understand what he or she is exactly thinking. Who knows maybe, in the end, you could find his or her ideas or suggestions better than some of yours and prevent you from facing future problems. “If you listen, instead, without premature judgment, people will generally tell you everything they are thinking—and with very little deceit. People will tell you the most amazing, absurd, interesting things.” Peterson even says to “listen to your enemies.” Surely, they will lie about you, but also be sure that they will be frank about things that your friends might not see or don’t dare to tell you. Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.

BeyoncĂ© sang, “Listen!

Friday, October 12, 2018

12 Rules for Life #8 Tell the Truth - Or, At Least, Don't Lie (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. In Paradise, everyone speaks the truth. That is what makes it Paradise. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.”

To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into Being. Truth builds edifices that can stand a thousand years. Truth feeds and clothes the poor, and makes nations wealthy and safe. Truth reduces the terrible complexity of a man to the simplicity of his word, so that he can become a partner rather than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly past, and makes the best use of the future's possibilities. Truth is the ultimate, inexhaustible natural resource. It's the light in the darkness. See the truth. Tell the truth.”
(Jordan Peterson)

One of the hardest things to do sometimes is telling the truth. Truth can be harsh and there are also times difficult to sense it. However, it’s very easy for us to know when we are lying. Consequent, when we don’t know the truth or we find it hard to tell it, then the next best option we have it to simply not to lie. Truth is very important in our lives as it is associated with meaning, according to Peterson. Only truth can bring you out of trouble, maybe not immediately sometimes, but in the long run, you’ll have everyone’s trust. There will be cases that you won’t know what to do but remember this: Start by just telling the truth! It will make it easier to face any situation.

On the other hand, lying makes you weak. Most of the times, the moment you lie you start immediately feeling strange, weak and insecure. The others can sense it too and start doubting you. Even if they happen to not be able to prove you wrong, you still are not satisfied because you know you’re lying and you’re fake. Lying is “the antithesis of meaning and reality.” The only thing you could achieve by lying is only get away from a situation, but only temporarily. As Peterson says: “It was the great and the small lies of the Nazi and Communist states that produced the deaths of millions of people.”

Tell The Truth – Or At Least, Don’t Lie

12 Rules for Life #7 Pursue What Is Meaningful, Not What Is Expedient (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

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. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found.”
(Jordan Peterson)

Meaning is about the way you protect yourself from “all the suffering that life entails.” All people get emotionally wounded by life so they have to find something to make the pain worthwhile. According to Peterson, meaning is like an instinct or a form of vision that lets you know whether you are in the right place or not. The right place is somewhere in between chaos and order. If you stay safe within order all the time and facing only things you understand, you won’t be able to develop further and won’t grow. On the other hand, if you stay within chaos then you’ll get lost. The best choice is to leave your safe point and try to risk for anything that’s worthwhile, without losing your path to chaos. “We require routine and tradition. That’s order. Order can become excessive, and that’s not good, but chaos can swamp us, so we drown— and that is also not good,” writes Peterson, so, “We need to stay on the straight and narrow path.”

Expediency [synonyms for convenience] is what people do to get themselves out of trouble here and now, but the drawback of this is that “they sacrifice the future for the present.” That means that expediency is only good for temporarily escaping your problems. In order to countermeasure this – aim high. Stop doing whatever will make you avoid your problems temporarily and try to see around. Understand what things you can improve and improve them. You’ll eventually gain knowledge and more experience but be cautious not to fall in the trap of becoming arrogant and remain humble (I have to admit that is as hard as keeping the balance between chaos and order but both are worthy to keep in mind).

Peterson also mentions the importance of being aware of our weaknesses. These may be our secret resentments, cowardice, hatred and other failings. Learn to be lenient when you accuse others because “all people conceal evil impulses.”

Pursue Meaning.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

12 Rules for Life #6 Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies. Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience. Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city?”
(Jordan Peterson)

Wherever we look, we see many abnormalities and a lot of things to complain about said Peterson. It’s true that life is tragic – for most people at least – and surely there is malevolence. However, if we dwell on it too long, it is of no benefit at all since we become more and more resentful. Cursing and criticizing all the time is pointless and we should start taking more meaningful actions.

First of all, we have to correct ourselves. Being busy with criticizing the society all the time makes you neglect yourself and you ignore that you may be similar to what you are despising. So, take a good care of yourself first, stop doing anything that you know to be wrong and start doing and saying only things that make you proud. The first step is to bring peace to your (own) household and after that, you can criticize the government and country (in Malaysia) and attempt to contribute to change the society you are living in for the best. This reminds me of Mother Teresa's words, “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”

Bring Peace to Your House First

12 Rules for Life #5 Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

“Modern parents are simply paralyzed by the fear that they will no longer be liked or even loved by their children if they chastise them for any reason. They want their children’s friendship above all and are willing to sacrifice respect to get it. This is not good. A child will have many friends, but only two parents – if that – and parents are more, not less, than friends.”

“If a child has not been taught to behave properly by the age of four, it will forever be difficult for him or her to make friends”
(Jordan B. Peterson)

This is Peterson’s advice for parents, not mine. He said that parents are human beings too, meaning that they are not perfect and they can easily make mistakes which can affect their kids. Parents are not always as nice as they think. People often will take revenge on someone who messes them up, even on their own children, because it happens unconsciously. You might think, “Oh this is impossible, I’d never do anything to hurt my kid,” but all people have a “subconscious proclivity for tyranny” deeply rooted within them and that tyranny is more likely to be shown against someone who is much less powerful than you, for example, your children. So hunger, stress, fatigue or even a bad day at work are more than enough to make you lose your temper and become unreasonable over your children.

Peterson states some principles on the disciplinary procedure. #1 Parents should limit the rules, and #2 Use the least possible force to enforce them. They also #3 Need to understand how much they should be harsh, vengeful, arrogant, resentful or angry each time in front of their kids. Parents are somewhat of “proxies for the real world” who will teach and prepare their children to be socially desirable for the world outside [You can learn more about this Rule #5 in this YouTube video, CLICK HERE]

Children Absolutely Need Guidance from Parents so They can Thrive.

Monday, October 8, 2018

12 Rules for Life #4 Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not Who Someone Else Is Today (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

“What you aim at determines what you see.”

We only see what we aim at. The rest of the world (and that’s most of it) is hidden.”
(Jordan Peterson)

People always have the tendency to compare themselves to other persons who seem or happen to be more successful and have a better life. Even if you see or believe that someone you know is living a better life than yours, the comparison is meaningless and unhelpful especially when you are a grown up. Besides, you never know what different problems he or she is facing or whether he or she is very happy or not, since you only see a “slice of his life.”

What’s really beneficial, is to focus on yourself, on your life and its surroundings. Seek what’s bothering you in order to change or improve it and honestly think whether or not you are able to do something about it. If it’s not something within your power, then leave it alone and focus on something else with lower demands. Moreover, you can’t always change your life for the better in just a couple of days. Some things require some time and effort. Take one step every time and live by the thought that you are in a better condition/shape than yesterday and that you’ll eventually reach higher and higher – better and better – at least much better than you were yesterday!

Don’t Compare (with Others) but Compare (with Yourself Yesterday).

12 Rules for Life #3 Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself?
(Jordan Peterson)

Almost every person has two kinds of families, says Peterson: #1 The one that he is born with; and #2 The one that he chooses by himself – friends. The selection of these important people is not to be taken lightly as they often have an impact on our lives. It is your obligation to keep away people who are making your life worse or hurting you. It is your right to decide who should be close to you and who shouldn’t. Peterson affirmed, “There are no ethical dilemmas about that.” If you have a friendship that you wouldn’t recommend to someone, then why are you still keeping it? End it, NOW!

So why many people are not making good choices? That’s because “surrounding yourself with good and healthy people is harder than the opposite.” Being good and healthy requires strength, daring and the determination to choose the difficult but right paths. Willing to take a risk. Consequently, standing up near such a person you have to be a strong, daring and determined person, ready to accept some harsh criticism from time to time which would benefit you. Good friends will do these things to you.

On the other hand, being around bad and unhealthy people is much easier to choose. Being on the bottom is much more convenient than being on top. Bad people will make you adopt laziness, easy unhealthy lifestyle, self-pity, tolerating being hurt or even hurting others for your benefit. So choose your friends wisely.

It’s Your Choice.

12 Rules for Life #2 Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

“We deserve some respect. 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. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may, therefore, have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being…
(Jordan B. Peterson)

Peterson states the fact how most people have self-contempt and there are many times that they don’t even realize it. In fact, on most occasions, people take care of their family, friends and even their pets but neglects their own self. Of course, helping those you love and care about and take some responsibilities on behalf of them is very good, but we must realize that we must do the same thing for ourselves – for our own good too. Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, points out that ‘to ‘love one’s neighbor as thyself’ one must have some degree of self-love and self-care attached.” This may be something simple such as having self-respect and considering ourselves an important person with potentials, rights, and desires.

Besides, the more we look after ourselves the healthier and powerful we’ll be to support the ones we care. On the contrary, if we neglect ourselves then we’ll make a pattern of bad mistakes. Thus, our life will get worse not only for us but for the people around us too. A person’s actions echo sometimes in ways that cannot be imagined. An example may be Stalin's mother whose mistakes created ripple effects that affected millions of people (read Chapter 2 to know more).

Hey, Treat Yourself Good.

12 Rules for Life #1 Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

"To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality [it means acting to please God, in the ancient language]"
(Jordan B. Peterson)

Some people have bad posture and that is much more meaningful than you may have thought it would be. Peterson takes the behavior of lobsters as an example. Lobsters can change their behavior according to their serotonin/octopamine levels (Simply put, or maybe too simplistic, serotonin is a happy-hormone and octopamine function as "mobilizing the body and nervous system for action"). Lobsters fight all the time. When a lobster wins, its serotonin levels go up in contrast with octopamine levels. On the other hand, low serotonin/high octopamine lobsters are characterized as losers and are very likely to vanish at the first hint of challenge that would bring them trouble.

A similar effect applies to people. Peterson writes, "This is also true of lower ranking human beings. Low serotonin means decreased confidence, means closed in body language, means you're not gonna stand up straight with your shoulders back. Low serotonin means less happiness, more pain, more anxiety, more illness, a shorter lifespan. High spots in the dominance hierarchy and high serotonin levels are characterized by the opposite." As soon as we meet someone, we size him up to see where they fit in the social hierarchy. When serotonin levels fall, depression appears and also a tendency to form a hump (bend, bow) as you walk become visible to others. Instinctively, they are very likely to think low of you, making you one of the easiest targets if they decide to take advantage of someone. Acting like a loser will make people think of you as a loser. Fixing your posture may be very simple, but "very important at the same time to help you get started back up again."

So, stand up straight with your shoulders back and dare to express your thoughts and desires. You have at least the same right as others, if not bigger sometimes.

Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

12 Rules for Life #0 Introduction: The Important of Personal Change (Summary)

This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!

If you fulfill your obligations everyday you don’t need to worry about the future.”
(Jordan Peterson)

According to Jordan Peterson, society's present ill(ness) can be cured by firstly healing the individuals that it's made of. "Clean your room," is Peterson's famous advice. In fact, if someone can't even manage to deal with a simple everyday task in his life, then how is he supposed to dictate to others to fix the whole society? Personal change may seem difficult for some people to apply but it's surely possible.

Changing yourself will lead you to become and feel better than you were yesterday. You may think that these 12 Rules will not really have an impact on your life but according to the author: "Small changes can have disproportionately large positive results." Moving towards goodness will constantly increase the value of your life and "find its way out of dead ends and take it out of hell in a much shorter time than you could expect." Life is hard. For some people, it might be tragic, full of suffering and malice. But although we can't fix everything in the world, we can fix things that are within our power to do so and this is more than enough to make us live a much better life.

You Can Change… Start Small

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