12 Rules for Life
Jordan Peterson
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Chapter 4

Internal self-criticism is immensely useful in the development of a person. “No matter how good you are at something, or how you rank your accomplishments, there is someone out there who makes you look incompetent.” The gist of this states that a person may be perfect in their own eyes, but that is not until another person identifies their flaws. Even when people are satisfied with their accomplishments, they must remain curious and recognize the aspects that need improvement. However, individuals cannot always be expected to be true to themselves all the time, and this very human characteristic usually deceives an individual into believing that they are perfect, especially when they are overpraised. Looking into the future, people must first acknowledge that there is always room for self-improvement, and then seek ways to improve.


Paying attention to the present environment while aiming at the future is a perfect recipe for success in all spheres of life. Listening to the physical and psychological environment is critical in attaining higher standards while contentment or complacency is the enemy of success since: “what you aim at determines what you see”. It is important to note that most people have an internal critic. However, some people dismiss this soft, laid-back voice that speaks to them about the direction that they need to take. Some of these people forget that“where you start might not be as important as the direction you are heading” and they need to seek the best ways to approach the future. Self-criticism is the tool that leads to the refinement of character and development of personality.

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