Rule 1 / Stand up straight with your shoulders back

From Peterson’s research, both scientifically and psychologically, he concludes that the most enjoyable way to live is by deliberately expressing confidence in ourselves, not only through our posture but in our attitude towards life. Peterson takes much of his inspiration from the world of nature.

Peterson also writes about the chemical activity in our brains, particularly serotonin which is a key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. (Antidepressants increase serotonin). Peterson writes, by having an attitude of confidence, we “encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence’ (pg.28).

However, Peterson overlooks the fact that most people don’t lack instruction. There’s plenty of advertising promoting a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude. What we lack is discipline. Teachers, police, politicians and others who desire to change behaviour think that education will fix the problem. But knowing the right thing to do doesn’t mean we do it. Is it possible to cultivate the confident attitude that Peterson exhorts us to have without God’s help?

From a Christian perspective, having a confident attitude is exactly what God wants for us, too. Yet, God has given us more clarity about how to obtain this confidence. The Bible teaches us that we’re made in God’s image. This alone gives us the confidence to know we are people of worth and value. As we progress through the Bible we see the damage caused by moving away from God’s directives but God never stops pursuing his people. Moses gives laws to teach people how to live under God’s blessings. In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us the attitudes that will attract God’s blessings (Matthew 5:3-10). Furthermore, God sent his Spirit so we could be empowered to live with purpose and confidence. God’s intention is for us to feel good about ourselves so we can have a confident attitude and enjoy our lives.

Go to Goodreads for reviews of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life.