12 Rules for Life
Jordan Peterson
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Chapter 1

With limited resources like food, shelter and space to satisfy an exponentially increasing set of basic needs, there is a constant struggle among and between humans and animals. In the midst of these conflicts, humans have developed mechanisms that are essential in assuring that costly outcomes do not arise. The struggle among humans engenders the concept of dominance hierarchy. Unfortunately, the hierarchy always favors those who sit at the top. To those who are below or at the bottom, their response is much costlier as it is dependent upon their need to survive. In being so costly, their responses can be extremely advantageous in surviving or escaping difficult circumstances. These responses consequently have an effect on the individuals’ overall psyche.  Peterson sums up this concept in stating that, "To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order……It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”


The human mind plays an integral role in whether an individual will  face success or failure, especially during extremely difficult moments. Putting the mind in the best frame is essential in any battle. Confronting challenges with a positive attitude and accepting them with an equipped toolkit generally results in success. Physical action and simply being prepared influences the brain. For example, having the mindset of a winner can signal the brain to execute behaviors of a winner. Acting timidly has an equivalent effect on the brain. Thus, the takeaway from this is that physical action and approach to a situation affects the functionality of the brain.

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