I’ve decided that starting this week I am going to do a 12 part blog post series about the Jordan Peterson book ” 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”. Each week I will go through the book and give a very brief description of the chapter and then what I took from it and how I have or intend to implement its lesson in my life. I have learned an incredible amount from Dr. Peterson and think that most people would be able to do the same thing if they could overlook the untrue things they probably have heard about him. I have said many times, and will continue to say, that I fully believe Jordan Peterson is and will be regarded as one of the most important and influential thinkers of our time.
The first chapter of Dr. Peterson’s book is “Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back” a fairly simple but important piece of advice. It’s in this chapter that the highly critiqued comparison is made between humans and lobsters. Something I did not have a hard time understanding, we are compared both on the levels of the insane likeness of the serotonin systems in humans and lobsters but also in the hierarchical social structures we maintain.
I not only found this chapter entertaining but also very helpful. Being a person who has struggled with weight and battled depression a large portion of my life I immediately began to draw commonalities between my own behavior through school and the behavior exhibited by a defeated lobster. Not ever completely confident in myself I looked at the ground when I walked and did not exude confidence regularly. I have gotten slightly better about this as an adult but probably not as good as I should be. After having read this chapter I immediately implemented it in my life.
Any time throughout my day if I find myself looking at my feet when I walk or slumped over while talking to someone I stand up straight and press my shoulders back. I lead with my chest and think about the things I know I’m good at. I saw the difference right away. I by no means work in a hostile work environment but the amount of negative interactions I had at work decreased. Even being outspoken as I am, I felt even MORE comfortable sharing my opinion without over concern for feelings or perception of who I am. It reminded me of a piece of advice I’ve given many times, you set the standard for how people will treat you.
Whether it’s relationships or friendships, if you allow people to treat you like shit and take advantage of you, that’s exactly what they will do. If you walk around with a sense of confidence that does not seep into arrogance, people will have less to say about what you are doing or why you’re doing it. No matter what, act like you’ve been there before. After having implemented this successfully I adapted it to my own style, I now do my absolute best to put out into the world the type of respect I feel I deserve. That’s all I really want in this world, respect. Respect for me, for my family, for my life, for my loves, for my feelings, for my decisions. This book is an incredible tool in my journey to control and mastery of my life, and this is a valuable first lesson.