Dr Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He is also the best-selling author of 12 Rules for Life, which is based on a dozen of these rules.
Published on Quora in response to the question: What are the most valuable things everyone should know?
Note: This is often spoken of as ‘42 Rules’ even though there are only 40 rules.
- Tell the truth.
- Do not do things that you hate.
- Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act.
- Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
- If you have to choose, be the one who does things, instead of the one who is seen to do things.
- Pay attention.
- Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you need to know. Listen to them hard enough so that they will share it with you.
- Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationships.
- Be careful who you share good news with.
- Be careful who you share bad news with.
- Make at least one thing better every single place you go.
- Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that.
- Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or resentful.
- Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible.
- Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
- Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.
- If old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely.
- Maintain your connections with people.
- Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or artistic achievement.
- Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping.
- Ask someone to do you a small favour, so that he or she can ask you to do one in the future.
- Make friends with people who want the best for you.
- Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued, and be very careful about rescuing someone who does.
- Nothing well done is insignificant.
- Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
- Dress like the person you want to be.
- Be precise in your speech.
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
- Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way — and don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things.
- Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
- Do not transform your wife into a maid.
- Do not hide unwanted things in the fog.
- Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.
- Read something written by someone great.
- Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
- Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
- Don’t let bullies get away with it.
- Write a letter to the government if you see something that needs fixing — and propose a solution.
- Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know.
- Be grateful in spite of your suffering.
Reddit background comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/75akn0/dr_jordan_petersons_42_rules_for_life_the_origins/
That’s a relatively long list. My opinion is that if you write too many on a list then you water down your focus. I think there is power in fewer.
Neuroscience tells us that we can only remember a handful of things in our short-term memory – it used to be 7 plus or minus 2 things. Now, it’s believed to be 5 plus or minus 2 things. That may or may not be a good basis for a powerful list.
Also, the secret to writing a short list is to first write a long one – then prune it back until you are left with the ones that strike a chord, fire your joy and make you dance.