Updated: Aug 7, 2021
This article is about three of the rules Jordan Peterson talked about in his book “Twelve Rules For Life”. We’ll only be talking about rules one, two, and four which are the ones most related to making yourself powerful. These are all rules that can help you feel more powerful and make you a happier person for the rest of your life. There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that is “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I believe this is true for where you stand in the many social hierarchies we have in society. You can feel as though you are the leader, or you can feel powerless. I hope you can use these rules to help yourself feel powerful and worthy in your eyes and others’ eyes regardless of circumstances.
The first rule is to stand up straight with your shoulders back. Hierarchies have been around for longer than trees have. Your mind can convince you that either you are low or high on a hierarchy. Feeling high or low on a hierarchy can determine how confident you feel and how many positive or negative thoughts and feelings you have. If you feel low on a hierarchy, usually you will scrunch up. Whereas people who feel high on a hierarchy will stretch out. Your mind can affect your body but the reverse is also true. If you stand up straight and stretch out consciously with your body, you are able to manipulate your brain into thinking you are higher in the hierarchy, therefore, making you more confident and more likely to feel positive emotions.
The second rule is, treat yourself like someone you are responsible for taking care of. Studies show that we usually take more care in making sure our dog gets the correct medication than we would with ourselves. We are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves so why don’t we? Let’s say you don’t like someone because of something they did, well you know everything you did. You know that you are a creature with endless flaws that not only is capable of doing horrible things but also does them! This rule is saying that despite all your flaws, and despite your mortality and fragility, you have something to offer because you’re an individual. Jordan Peterson takes it a step further to say that you have a moral responsibility to take care of yourself because of what you have to offer. And if you don’t you make the world a dimmer place.
The fourth rule is to compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. Focusing on how other people are doing is not helpful because they all have their own struggles and hardships they need to get through. And while you can try to get their successes, you don’t want to get their hardships as well. Also, you don’t have a lot of the details that you would have when you compare yourself to yourself, yesterday. The thing you should focus on is what you want to do to make your own life an increment better than yesterday. And those increments will keep compounding over time and you can keep growing and growing on yourself. Trying to get to an ideal life is just going to crush you because you’re never going to get to an ideal life. But you shouldn’t throw the ideal away because then you don’t have anything to strive to get to. So instead, break it up into steps. And have goals set where you’ll have to push yourself a little bit to get there, but it doesn’t seem impossible. Then you can start making progress and know what you have to do in order to get better.
In this article we talked about standing up straight with your shoulders back, treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping, and compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. Making yourself powerful starts with feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin and all of these strategies can help you feel more confident and happy with who you are. I would recommend watching the talk Jordan Peterson did on his book which provides lots of valuable insights. Make sure to check out my other posts to learn about the rest of the Twelve Rules for Life.