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

As confusing as the title of this rule may be, it is one of the most impactful in the book. Peterson has explored the level of suffering in the world in depth and its effect on mankind. This rule stresses the importance of vulnerability and its contribution to human nature. The use of cats in this chapter is critical, although it may seem silly. Peterson equates petting a cat to paying attention to the little things in life that may appear unreasonable but still play an essential role in defining the course of our lives. People realize that there are many instances when they get to love other people because of their limitations. One of the best ways in which individuals can win admiration and compassion from others is to be meek and avoid any unnecessary use of force or influence. When a crisis occurs, individuals need the support of other people. Most importantly, being humble and reasonable in times of threat is likely to help mitigate the challenges.


Love for other people can usually be unconditional. However, there are instances in which the presence of love stems from certain conditions that occurs uniquely between two individuals that find each other mutually special and meaningful. There is natural tendency for some humans to endear a particular people, while others dislike them. People all have unique strengths and varying levels of limitations. It is important to note that these limitations are not always out of individual weaknesses. There are natural factors that predispose individuals to problems and the support from othersis invaluable. Although respecting some of these limitations is important, Peterson concludes that remaining vulnerability can improve one’s experience.

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