#164 Jordan Peterson ’12 Rules For Life’ Part 1
This episode of the Good Life Guys Show/Podcast is the first of a three-part series inspired by a talk that Stephen attended in-person, and Yasin watched on YouTube, by the great Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. The talk revolved around Peterson’s new book, 12 Rules For Life.
12 Rules For Life #Rule 1 – Stand Up Straight!
Of the 12 Rules For Life, the first is a call to improve your posture. Sounds reductive, sounds too simple to be truly effective. But Peterson clearly thinks it is of utmost importance. And as he explains it with the help of studies on lobsters and anecdotes it quickly becomes less ludicrous.
Striking a balance between being fair and being firm with ourselves can be difficult, and it is certainly a lifelong project.
It is crucial to be highly mindful of how we treat ourselves as we go through life, trying to be the best we can be. We must constantly be aware of how we are communicating with ourselves. Are we treating ourselves optimally? Are we being kind but also appropriately tough with ourselves?
Self-correction is important. It is all too easy to slump into unconscious ruts and get lost in dreamworlds (or nightmare-worlds) of lazy habit.
Managing our serotonin levels is a basic and very effective act of self-love. Studies on lobsters show that the amounts of serotonin in their brains correlates closely with their place in the social hierarchy – even to the extent that when an individual lobsters serotonin levels are raised artificially with antidepressants it quickly demonstrates more assertive, confident behavior and rises up the hierarchy.
Human brains and nervous systems operate in the same way – humans with higher serotonin tend to be more successful, and therefore higher in the social hierarchy. And it operates in an upward cycle – rise in serotonin = rise in hierarchy position, rise in hierarchy position = rise in serotonin levels….. and on and on.
Roughly speaking, serotonin equals happiness and success. An effective way to increase your serotonin is to simply hold yourself with grace and dignity – stand up straight and tall, move through the world with your chest open and head held high. Your mother was correct when she told you not to slouch!
The words of other people can have a big effect your serotonin levels and thus place in the hierarchy. This is why it is so important to be mindful and discerning about what information you choose to give credence to and what information you choose to put up a shield to and not take onboard. With this in mind, it is also wise to make sure that you are spending time with people who have your best interests at heart. Sometimes people who appear to be our friends actually do not have our best interests at heart. Perhaps your ‘friend’ feels jealous or threatened by your efforts to better yourself, and perhaps their words are secretly designed to bring you down. Protect yourself from people like this, and their subtle, serotonin-depleting poisonous word darts.
Up Your Friendship Game
The 12 Rules For Life proposes that having great relationships with people who are succeeding in their own lives will massively improve your own life. And we have a big part to play in how successful our friends and family become. How much we encourage our friends, how passionately we push them, how honest we are with them – all of these things play a huge part in what our closest friends and family become in their own lives.
It is important to be a great friend to others – so they can flourish. And if they flourish, you flourish. And if you flourish, they flourish, and on and on!
But it’s not all about self-protection and bigging yourself up. It is also very important for you to examine your life, and figure out how your own actions, behaviors, and choices have gotten you bad results. Being extremely real with yourself, even when this involves recognizing painful truths, is crucial. But always do it from a place of love. Being a best friend – to yourself or someone else – involves telling it like it is. But when this is done from a place of love – “hate the sin, love the sinner” – criticism can be very strengthening.
So keep your serotonin levels nice and high by holding yourself with aplomb and by dealing with yourself and others excellently!
I’ve been unable to find an Amazon link to 12 Rules For Life, but the book that precedes it, Maps of Meaning is a groundbreaking, world-shifting book that makes for a fine replacement.
If you liked this episode, you’ll definitely like this one.
And you can check out Jordan Peterson’s website here.