Jordan B. Peterson: 12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson Talks About 12 Rules for Life on The James Altucher Show

Episode 312: A Solution to Suffering

“You have the ideal life,” I said. “You think about things. And people pay attention. And you get paid for it.” I was talking to Jordan B. Peterson. His YouTube channel has tens of millions of views. He’s a clinical psychologist, professor and author of “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” and now a guest on this podcast.

People stop him on the street. They say “Thank you.” They say, “You’ve changed my life.”

“What did you say that helped their life?” I asked.

But I already knew the answer…

Because it’s true for me too.

He told them what they were ready to hear. That’s it. And they acted. Sometimes people thank me. And I tell them “You did it.” Then we take a picture and I feel happy.

I asked Jordan about his “12 rules for life.”

“I tried to lay out the phenomenal logical landscape of humanity in this book,” Jordan said.

I interrupted.

“What’s phenomenal logical?”

“It’s life as experienced. Ya know, you think, ‘What’s reality?’ Well, there’s material reality, but that isn’t the reality you live. You live a reality that’s full of emotions and motivations and personal experiences. That’s your reality.”

I stayed silent. I was collecting.

“But what’s the structure of that reality? What’s the fundamental structure of the human-lived reality?” he said. “Part of it is suffering because we’re finite and limited. But it’s suffering that’s tainted with malevolence because some of that suffering is unnecessary. You cause it, society causes it. It doesn’t have to happen. That’s the world we live in. It’s hard and it’s cruel.”

Then he said this “You’re stuck with that. That’s the bottom line. So how are you going to deal with it?”

I think that’s the basis of how we live. The answer to that question “how are you going to deal with it?” With losing money, hating your job, getting fired. That’s the act. The response is life.

He gave me a lot of steps (for dealing with cruelty and suffering). I’ll give you some in a minute. But you should also listen to him on the podcast because he gives so much more in that one hour than I could ever collect on this page.

STEP 1 – Get in touch with your dissatisfaction.

STEP 2 – Take stock of your life (what can you do differently? What are the small steps? Don’t actually take them (yet). Just start by learning what you don’t like and what you do like in your life right now). Do that for a week.

Those steps continue. But he also said this:

“You have to choose your pathway of suffering. That’s one way of thinking about it. You can choose the suffering that’s associated with deceit, arrogance, resentment, bitterness or you can choose the suffering that’s associated with truth. The suffering that’s associated with truth transcends. It starts to make things better. Deceit makes life worse. And truth makes it better. ”

I needed examples. Dozens of them.

I just kept throwing life problems at Jordan to see what he’d say. He told me how he solves conflicts with his wife. And how he managed his depression. He told me his thoughts on “the grind of life.”

Because it’s everyday. And it’s hard.

But there are things we can do to make ourselves more okay with our chaos and the chatter between our ears. We can follow rules (like Jordan’s) or make our own.

I’m doing both.

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  • Thimo Finkbeiner

    I´m a big fan of Peterson. His lectures have changed me and my life in the last one and a half year. As has your and Claudias book, “The Power Of No”. And I´m sure they will change my life in the future, also.

    Take care

  • Rebecca Whitworth

    Fantastic interview Bro!

  • Elin Ritchie

    Ok james. Joe Rogan has nothing on you. I’m so mad cause I’m addicted to listening to your show and I can’t get anything done. Not really though I’m an ER doc w patients to see. Keep up the good work!! Elin

  • John of Words

    Phenomenological: Relating to the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being. :-)

  • AnnHoy

    I enjoyed this podcast. A discussion of practical solutions on how to deal with the suffering that life brings and how to become the person you could be.

  • l tyson

    That’s silly. That really is

  • Paula

    I simply cannot get anything done cause all I do is chase down Peterson wisdom! ,:-) But it’s his time to shine, and we’re all shining with him. Odysseus has come home, chased out his wife’s suitors (SJW’s!!!) who thought he was never coming back. He’s put his house in order. There’s a fire in the hearth, and we, the Knights of the Round Table and their stalwart maidens, have been invited for a feast. Eat hardy (low carb and high fat!) and raise your glasses! There’s more than an end to suffering, there’s joy. Here’s to JBP, and all our futures.

  • Wasder Wandel

    It’s Carl Panzram, not Panzeran.

  • Maria Pilat

    And how do you know this? :D

    • he is being sarcastic

      • Maria Pilat

        Well, I really hope so! (Thanks for pointing it!)

        • Holly Gray

          I dont get it either…

  • Lesley

    JP is a patient man. Too many interruptions mid-sentence

  • Tomáš David

    Wow, very very good with asking Dr. Peterson about realistic examples – exactly what I lacked in any other interviews! GREAT JOB

  • Spot the two points in the last 20-odd minutes of the show when you, the dysfluent, breathy host, actually manage to ask an original question – then, terrified of the resulting moment’s silence, keep talking instead of letting Peterson answer.

    This is merely the second episode of yours I’ve listened to, and I’d say the spoken word is not your forte. You can barely talk, and you certainly can’t listen.

    • Linda Mathews

      Dear Mr Perfect — good idea — let’s not do anything until we are perfect at it.

  • kgubbas

    it’s not a solution to suffering. it’s an antidote to chaos.

  • Christopher Knuffke

    Phenomenological = from “phenomenology”, a philosophy from the 20th century. . .

  • carlo esquivel

    Hey James, did you follow the eggs-and-bacon-breakfast advice?