This is a ripoff of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life.

These rules work for me. Reverse or ignore this advice as appropriate for your own circumstances.

1. Cultivate an indomitable will.

Article Ⅰ. I am an American fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life, I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article Ⅱ. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article Ⅲ. If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article Ⅳ. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article Ⅴ. Should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies.

Article Ⅵ. I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

―United States Army Code of Conduct

"What does Article Ⅱ 'the means to resist' mean?" the platoon sergeant asked.

Lsusr raised his hand.

"Go ahead Lsusr," the platoon sergeant said.

"If I still have an e-tool, I have a means to resist," Lsusr said.

There was a thoughtful pause.

"I appreciate the tenacity. However, under the Code of Conduct, you are not REQUIRED to beat the poor guy to death with you e-tool. Though it is certainly an option to consider," the platoon sergeant said.

―Lsusr is the father of Lsusr

Willpower gives you options. The simplest way to build willpower is via savage trials of pure effort. Physical willpower transfers easily to intellectual willpower.

2. Do everything that frightens you.

The obvious exceptions to this rule could fill a book. The non-obvious exceptions could fill a library. I find it a useful heuristic anyway.

3. Do not criticize, condemn or complain.

  • Do not criticize privately someone who expresses zir opinions publicly.
  • Do not condemn in words someone else's actions.
  • Do not complain, ever.

Speak in positive declarations. Never make excuses.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Citizenship in a Republic by Theodore Roosevelt

4. Remove toxic people from your life.

People who criticize, condemn and complain are toxic. So is anyone who angers frequently, anyone who regularly indulges in wishful thinking and anyone who cannot be relied upon.

This rule applies to meatspace. You should not stop publishing your art online just because someone hurt your feelings.

5. Ignore anything that won't matter ten years from now.

Ignore news and advertising. Watch little TV. Play few videogames.

The things that matter aren't necessarily the ones people would call "important." Having coffee with a friend matters. You won't feel later like that was a waste of time.

Life is Short by Paul Graham

6. Create more information than you consume.

There are many exceptions to this rule. Kids need to read lots of books. You should write more as an adult to compensate.

Spend no more time reading blogs than you do writing them.

7. Assume other people are sheep.

This works better the more exceptionally nonconformist you are.

8. Assume all people act inefficiently.

This works best if you are exceptionally capable. If you are among stupidest 85% of people then reverse this advice.

9. Do things the hard, cheap, unpopular way.

Often there are two ways of doing something:

  • One option is popular, expensive (in dollars) and easy (in effort).
  • One option is unpopular, cheap (in dollars) and hard (in effort).

When you encounter a choice like this, take the hard option. Lift barbells. Start a company. Configure your computer so you can operate it without a mouse. Give Zen a shot (and then quit if you don't observe benefits within 15 minutes).

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

― Bill Gates

10. Be prepared.

"Be prepared for what?"

"Why, for any old thing," said Lord Baden-Powell.

11. Steal like an artist.

Copy what you like.

12. Tell as much truth as you can get away with.

Express your feelings. Confide in your friends. If your gonzo ideas are beyond the pale then download tor and publish them on a free WordPress account under an alias.

Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie

―Rule #8 of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:00 AM

Not sure if there is interest in discussing these. If so, I'm quite curious about #6. What is the reason for this and do other people have strong feelings about it?

I strongly disagree. It seems to assume that everything is read as often as it's written which is not true. The best writing is written once and read millions or billions of times. Maybe it should be write 1/100th or 1/1000th of what you read. (But even this assumes that what you're writing is worthwhile, which for lots of people I think is not true).

There are details to Rule #6 I didn't include in the original post.

  • It is measured in time spent. The idea is to spend at least one hour writing for every hour you spend reading. Reading your own work counts as "editing" and goes in the "writing" column.
  • Looking up answers to specific queries for a predetermined productive purpose counts as "creating".
  • Rule #6 is more important the smarter and more independent-minded you are. It applies to less than half the population.

Reading makes you smarter. But is also a passive conformist activity. Being smarter is advantageous. Being a passive conformist is disadvantageous.


Consuming media created by others is a passive activity. You are not doing anything. I value doing over thinking. See Rule #3.

Except for some books in math and the hard sciences, there's no test of how well you've read a book, and that's why merely reading books doesn't quite feel like work.

How to Do What You Love by Paul Graham


Consuming media created by others is a conformist activity. You are running someone else's thoughts through your brain.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Albert Einstein

If you want to be Albert Einstein you can't just read his work. You have to copy. You have to steal. See Rule #11.

The utility of writing

You can have the best of both worlds by doing things and writing about your experiences. Writing isn't just the process of dumping preconceived thoughts into a keyboard. Writing creates ideas and forces them to be coherent. This creates value independent of whether anyone reads what you write.

If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything, though? Why not just sit and think? Well, there precisely is Montaigne's great discovery. Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them.

In the things you write in school you are, in theory, merely explaining yourself to the reader. In a real essay you're writing for yourself. You're thinking out loud.

But not quite. Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well.

The Age of the Essay by Paul Graham

Creating art distills information. It is true that you do not get raw data from writing. But you do not get raw data from reading either. You get raw data from doing things.

Consuming media created by others is a passive activity

I think I just fundamentally disagree with this. Reading can be passive, but it can be active as well. Reading doesn't just mean "looking at words".

You are running someone else's thoughts through your brain.

I don't really accept that this is what reading is like. I read your post, but I didn't mindlessly accept what you had to say.

What are your thoughts concerning my recommendation to speak in positive declarations?

I strongly disagree with that too. If someone says "x is true" when x is not true, then saying "x is not true" does have value. Assuming you're talking to a reasonable person

I think the subtext of you asking that is you are saying that I am not "refuting the central point". (I also disagree with that, but ymmv)

If you simply disagree with all that is said against you, then you cannot lose a debate, which is the archetypal way to learn from a debate. Therefore, your arguments should be made of parts, which can be attacked by a commenter.