Hey party people! It’s Mark Manson, and today I want to talk about Dr. Jordan Peterson and his books, “12 Rules for Life” and “12 More Rules for Life.”
I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with him on his podcast and even got some F-bombs out of him. But what really stuck with me was the idea of creating our own rules for life—guiding principles and codes that help define us as individuals.
So, without further ado, let me share my rules for life.
Disclaimer: These are MY rules for life, not a prescription for everyone. Take them or leave them, but let’s dive in.
Rule #1: Radical Responsibility
The first rule is taking responsibility for everything in your own experience, even if it’s not your fault.
This concept comes from existentialism, specifically Jean-Paul Sartre. He believed that in every moment, we’re making choices and that this constant choosing can be a burden.
To avoid this responsibility, we often blame others or adopt their values. Sartre called this “living in bad faith,” when we avoid responsibility and live for others rather than ourselves.
On the other hand, living authentically means making conscious choices based on our own principles and values. This idea of personal responsibility is essential for self-improvement and emotional health.
It’s crucial to understand that responsibility doesn’t equate to fault. Bad things happen, but it’s our responsibility to deal with them and move forward.
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Rule #2: No Bad Emotions, Only Bad Reactions
The second rule is that there’s no such thing as a bad emotion—only bad reactions to emotions. Emotions are normal human functions, and what makes them good or bad is how we respond to them.
Emotional intelligence or emotional skill is essential in managing our emotions, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses.
Being open to experiencing emotions without judgment is the first step to emotional health. The second step is expressing these emotions in a healthy and non-damaging way.
A note: While it’s great that public figures are becoming more open about their emotions and mental health, we should avoid glorifying or judging them based on these emotions. Emotional vulnerability is essential, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re all just human.
Rule #3: Radical Growth
The third rule is that every action and decision you make should be motivated to improve lives, both yours and others’. It’s about having a value towards radical growth and always maintaining the intention of growth and improvement.
These three rules—radical responsibility, radical acceptance, and radical growth—are simple, straight to the point, and pretty much impossible to live up to.
But that’s the point: good rules for life should require constant effort. Otherwise they wouldn’t be for life, would they?