I know it’s Thursday, and I usually try to just post on Saturdays. I try not to come here more than once a week and write because this is an outlet for me. I don’t want to get carried away, and use it up for random somethings. This is a place that I can come share books and feelings, and I don’t really know anyone that’s reading this, so it works for me. This is a place that I can come and sigh.
According to some scientific something out there; a sigh is an expression of resignation and frustration; the bodies act of pushing something out. So, I read all these books and I internalize my feelings about their meaning to me, then I get to come here and externalize what I read; I get to sigh. It’s nice. When you externalize things that you have internally reserved, you are giving those feelings a name. You force them out into the open, and they become some “thing” instead of just a thought or feeling. Did you know that the human brain is filled with about 100 billion neurons that are interconnected by trillions of synapses, and each synapse fires an electro chemical reaction, which can cause a thought to happen? It is actually way more complex than that, but I am not a neuroscientist and a lot of people reading this, simply don’t care. But, man, that is a lot of thoughts and feelings jumping around, and gawd, we are all just an amazing bunch of stardust. Anyhow, you have to externalize that shit and WRITE.IT.DOWN.
Most people that read this are probably curious about the blog post title, but if you have read this book already, then “you know”. I just finished reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life. LISTEN TO ME, you 50 or so people that come here each week, GO BUY THIS BOOK. And also, thank you, for taking the time to read this jumbled up mess every time I post, and for sending me emails, or random comments about books you are reading. I love to listen.
I had no damn clue who Jordan Peterson was until maybe August last year, and a friend of mine, sent me a YouTube link to listen to. You don’t really get many pivotal moments in your life, and I mean moments that literally change your mindset forever. I have had just a few in the last 3 years, and this video was one of them. I don’t know how I had never heard of Jordan Peterson; I just know that I have not stopped since I started. If you read my last post, then you already saw me gushing about him, so I won’t do that again. It is a rare and special thing, to listen to an intelligent man speak about anything, and do it with passion. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. But, I won’t go there not now, I will just tell you about the book, and how I really, really felt about it.
This whole book is woven with realistic issues, and dense ideas based on real science and research driven data. JP don’t play around with facts y’all, he just don’t. He will fact you hard on this stuff. Okay I really wanted to say that, so sorry. He didn’t just start writing this and pull the words out of his head, it is the real deal. You can actually go to peer reviewed science journals and look up data about serotonin in lobsters from research back in the 60’s. I mean; it is so damn interesting! This is not an easy read, by any means, and it takes real time and dedication to even get through it. But, it is meaty, meaningful, and it is valuable.
I want my kids to read this, I want all my friends to read this, hell everyone needs to read this. It certainly makes you reexamine your entire viewpoint on taking care of yourself anyhow, and everyone needs to practice self-care. EVERYONE. One thing I will say…..I don’t know about following the rules to a T. I am actually quite certain that I am not capable of it yet. But, I will try to get there one day, and I will try to be a better person to myself. I will try to be a better mother to my children, maybe reexamine my marriage, try to not feel so lost all the time, and just try to have a better life experience. JP says we need to find the problems in our life and start sorting them out, one by one, until you have made a dent. Then chose another, then another. Start with your room. CLEAN YOUR ROOM.
I am going to summarize the rules for you, but listen to me, this is my interpretation. You can read it, and maybe take something totally different from it. That is the beauty of all this stuff, you get to make of it what you will. I actually gave my physical book to a friend, that I think needed to read it just as much as I did. Now, whether she takes anything away from it other than a few insightful words and a Facebook post, that’s entirely up to her. I really really hope, that she gets more from it than that…..
Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. This is where the famous lobsters surface with Jordan. He uses Lobsters and some really great research to back it up. It is fantastic. Lobsters use serotonin the same way we do, when he loses, levels go down. He shrinks up and looks more like a snail. When he wins, levels go up and he stretches out and is confident! We kind of run on the same circuit. If your serotonin levels fall, you get depressed fall into an oppressive like state, slump over, which can possibly invite in predator personalities, then you get stuck in a sick loop. If you sit up straight, serotonin levels rise and you feel confident and great. So, work on your posture.
Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. This was one of the most meaningful chapters to me. I am terrible at self-care. I always put others first, I want to take care of others, even if it hurts me. But, it’s something I am working out. Jordan says you need to treat yourself with the same respect as you would someone you love. If you get stuck in a pattern of mistakes, your life will just continue to get worse for you and everyone else around you. On your good days everyone will be happy, on your bad days everyone will be miserable too. Our actions echo with others in a way that we cannot imagine. If you are someone that people like to be around and you are not taking care of yourself, people will sense that, and they will be reactive.
Rule 3: Choose your friends carefully. You are in no means obligated to befriend people who make your life worse. Actually, you are obligated by yourself, to not associate with those people, simply by following rule 2. This may hurt you worse than them, it will hurt you worse than them. I cannot say much about this because this is a rule I struggle with personally.
Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. Do not compare your life to others lives, or you own past lives. Social Media is a good example, you are only seeing a slice of their lives, not the whole thing. It is a waste of time to strive to be like others, when the person you could be if you would only take care of you, could be so much better. I want to be a better version of me.
Rule 5: Don't let children do things that make you dislike them. Listen, this is most important if you are a parent or are thinking of becoming one. I wanted to read this chapter out loud to the whole damn room I was in! People, lets RAISE strong, intelligent, respectful kids. Let us set boundaries, be their parents and not their friends. Love and nurture them, but also teach them how to be respectful little people, so that other people will enjoy having them around. Kids that people don’t want around, don’t have friends, then they become isolated, that isolation leads to dark things like depression and all sorts of things that we don’t want to talk about. Kids need a good moral footprint to follow in. Just keep trying. I am trying.
Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. Life is tragic, but instead of cursing the tragedy that is life, we are charged to try and transform into something meaningful. Start by stopping doing the something that you are doing, that is wrong. I think that this is probably the hardest rule to follow folks. I cannot elaborate on this. You will have to read and take what you will. I will say that I am struggling here. If you say you aren’t, you are a liar.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Despite the fact that we’re all emotionally wounded by life, emotionally unstable, we will find things that can make it worthwhile. Things will happen to let you know you are in the right place, which will be midway between the chaos and the order in life. If you stay firmly in order, you cannot grow. YOU CANNOT GROW! If you stay in chaos, then you will stay lost and miserable, you are damned. You have to do some sacrificing to stay firmly in between the two. I try to ride the fence, but damn I have to say that I am human, and addicted to chaos sometimes. Still keep trying.
Rule 8: Tell the truth—or, at least, don't lie. No explanation needed.
Rule 9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. Learn to be a listener. I can relate here more than any of the other rules. I love to listen. People will tell you things, interesting, crazy, wonderful things, if you will only listen. People that know so much more than me, talk to me about things that are way out of my atmosphere, but I listen and I get to be a part of that. I am so thankful for this, but sometimes it interferes with rule 2…. masochistic. Rule 10: Be Precise in Your Speech. Words take chaos and transform it into an actual thing. I talked about this a little bit at the top, you know, synapses and neurons. When you talk about this thing, and name it, then you can now do something about it. I think the unknown is far more terrible than the known. I would rather know, and deal with the pain, than never have the knowledge of the thing. If you can’t speak something into existence, then it will continue to terrify you and make you weaker. This is one reason I love Jordan Peterson. He is a huge advocate for free speech, and bringing the unspeakable into light and life.
Rule 11: Don’t bother children when they are skateboarding. I think this whole rule is a metaphor for just letting boys be boys. Also making something look beautiful, and calling it beautiful and inviting people to this beautiful thing. Then simply because something doesn’t fit into the norm of that beauty, you regulate what can and cannot happen, in said place of beauty. Or it could have just been that I don’t get this rule at all, because I was really tired when I read it, and maybe it’s just about skateboards and stuff. Be sure and email me and clear that up.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. Did you know that petting animals results in a decrease in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol? It also results in the release of serotonin, which makes you feel good. Anyhow, this chapter is about tragedy and pain. When pain strikes, you must open your eyes wider and find some small opportunity for redemption. Search for short term things to fix your brokenness. Don’t plan in years, plan in weeks. Or if it’s a really bad day, just plan in hours. I plan in hours sometimes, sometimes even minutes. Try to have the best damn hour or minute you can, one at a time. About the cat, if you are having a crappy day, where you are planning minutes instead of days, and you see a cat, reach down and pet it. Don’t let your evil shine through and hiss at it, just pet it. Then pop it in a cage and bring it promptly to my house!