Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 42 Rules for Life

By | November 16, 2022

[November 16, 2022]  Dr. Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist with a vast international following.  Many years ago, on Quora.com, he wrote in the Q&A section 42 things that he sees as basic rules for life.  I’ve listed them here.  Today, you can find this list everywhere, but on Quora, for some reason, they were deleted by Quora (or that is the explanation I received).

Many will say that you can see my articles reflect Dr. Peterson’s ideas, and that is true.  I have been influenced by him and others in psychology that focus on individual responsibility.  These “rules” were eventually incorporated into his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, 2018.

Here are Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 42 Rules for Life:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Do not do things that you hate.
  3. Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act.
  4. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
  5. If you have to choose, be the one who does things instead of the one who is seen to do things.
  6. Pay attention.
  7. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you need to know.
  8. Listen to them hard enough so that they will share it with you.
  9. Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationships.
  10. Be careful who you share good news with.
  11. Be careful who you share bad news with.
  12. Make at least one thing better every single place you go.
  13. Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that.
  14. Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or resentful.
  15. Try to make one room in your house as beautiful as possible.
  16. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
  17. Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.
  18. If old memories still make you cry, write them down carefully and completely.
  19. Maintain your connections with people.
  20. Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or artistic achievement.
  21. Treat yourself as if you were someone that you are responsible for helping.
  22. Ask someone to do you a small favor, so that he or she can ask you to do one in the future.
  23. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
  24. Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued,
  25. And be very careful about rescuing someone who does.
  26. Nothing well done is insignificant.
  27. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
  28. Dress like the person you want to be.
  29. Be precise in your speech.
  30. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
  31. Don’t avoid something frightening if it stands in your way — and don’t do unnecessarily dangerous things.
  32. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
  33. Do not transform your wife into a maid.
  34. Do not hide unwanted things in the fog.
  35. Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.
  36. Read something written by someone great.
  37. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
  38. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
  39. Don’t let bullies get away with it.
  40. Write a letter to the government if you see something that needs fixing — and propose a solution.
  41. Remember that what you do not yet know is more important than what you already know.
  42. Be grateful in spite of your suffering.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

27 thoughts on “Dr. Jordan Peterson’s 42 Rules for Life

  1. Winston

    Gen. Satterfield has been influenced greatly by Dr. Peterson. You can tell as he acknowledges Dr. Peterson in Gen. S’s newest book, “55 Rules for a Good Life.” And, yes, there are similarities but also great differences in their rules. I suggest that if you have not yet got a copy of this new book, you best get a copy now. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving in advance.

  2. Satan

    Great set of rules. I like the 55 rules from Gen. Satterfield. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    1. Obama Cash

      Great rules. I like Gen. Satterfield’s 55 rules for a better life much greater…..

      1. Billy Kenningston

        Welcome Obama Cash. Wow, says a lot. He entered the Presidency nearly broke and now he’s a multi-millionaire. Hmmmmmm.

  3. Dead Pool Guy

    Haven’t seen this before and thanks to Gen. Satterfield for digging up this list of 42 ‘rules’ for a proper life. I can see the influence Dr. Peterson has on Gen. Satterfield and some similarities. I do like, however, how Gen. S lays out his “55 Rules for a Good Life.” Not just any life, but a ‘good’ life.

  4. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    2. Do not do things that you hate. Classic psychologist and very much spot on comment. What I see (or don’t see) is that Gen. Satterfield broached this rule. In reading Gen. Satterfield, this “rule” is not there. And, I wonder why. Maybe Gen. S can explain.

    1. Deplorable John

      If I had to take a guess it would be because Gen. Satterfield is more socially oriented rather than individually oriented. I’m not psychologist but that’s my thinking.

  5. rjsmithers

    I always read this leadership website every single day that I can. I also try to comment and make that comment worthwhile. In this case, I believe Gen. Satterfield has added greatly to this list of 42 – there is some overlap but also different and modified – like #1 “Don’t Lie” while Gen. S. says “Do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” Something to think about.

  6. Nick Lighthouse

    If you read this list and are not impressed, then you need to get a life. This is great stuff and Gen. Satterfield’s book “55 Rules for a Good Life” takes dr. Peterson to a new level.

  7. Julia

    These should be on Gen. Satterfield’s list. At least I recommend he writes about them:
    Do not try to rescue someone who does not want to be rescued,
    And be very careful about rescuing someone who does.

      1. Tony Cappalo

        Of course, and let’s all pay close attention to all these “rules” just like Gen. Satterfield has his own “rules” to go by. Note the overlap that exists. And the differences.

  8. Max Foster

    Cheers! Everyone needs to know that General Satterfield is my favourite man of the hour. The man in the arena. The man who you can have in your foxhole and know that the battle will go for you. He has your back. He will share is last cup of coffee with you. He keeps his word. And, you just have to adopt basic responsibility and tell the truth and then you will have the adventure of your life.

  9. Emma Archambeau

    Wonderful list of important rules for life but, remember this well, there are many more. What are they? I believe Gen. Satterfield has gone a long way to telling us more.

      1. mainer

        Gen. Satterfield is da man! His 55 rules are great. Read them. You can also find that list here among his many articles and, I think, out does Dr. Peterson by expanding on the basic 42 rules. I love Gen. Satterfield’s book, so get your copy of “55 Rules for a Good Life” and get it now.

  10. Frontier Man

    Dr. Peterson is a great man and yes, I do see his ideas influencing your work.

    1. osmodsann

      Yes, indeed and we all can thank dr. p for his persuasiveness and tenacity too.


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