Jordan Peterson suspended from Twitter over 'up yours, woke moralists' comment

Everyone's favourite controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has been skirting around the headlines lately.

He was suspended from Twitter for dead-naming Elliot Page, has been criticised for making a "condescending" appeal to Muslim fans, and became a meme when he raged against the "woke".

But it was in 2018 when Peterson really got people talking when his book 12 Rules for Life came out, offering - you guessed it - 12 rules for how to live a better life.

It was criticised for advocating a fairly right-wing approach to life and he's under renewed criticism now because of his various gaffes but is it all fair? Is there more to Peterson than the shouty crank he portrays himself as? Thinking about it, I realised there was only one, or 12 ways to find out...

So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and live each and every one of his 12 rules for a day, to see if I'd finish the day a better person.

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Jordan Peterson quits Twitter after being roasted for insulting model EPA

This is how I got on:

Rule one: Stand up straight with your shoulders straight

This is some 'fake it until you make it' energy that is more a psychology tip than a way to avoid future visits to the chiropractor. It basically means if you look confident and assured you will start to feel more alpha and that will be great.

Working at a desk doesn't give me ample opportunities to stand up, and I'd rather lose all scraps of confidence than have a standing desk, but as I walk about outside in my lunch break I make sure to keep an eye on my stance.

Suddenly, I am scouted by three people to be a model. I am offered a pay-rise at work and have multiple marriage proposals.

Or... my posture feels a bit better.

Rule two: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

This is a call to be nice to yourself and if I was going to do that I'd stop writing this now and go and find a spa, but alas the grind continues!

Rule three: Befriend people who want the best for you

Thanks, Jordan, but this one seems pretty obvious. Nevertheless, I do a quick mental appraisal of my friends and conclude they probably have my back. I don't have time to make any new friends today but I'm pretty sure I'll be discerning with whoever next crosses my path.

Rule four: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today

I'm all for not comparing myself to others - it's good advice. But I'm not comparing myself to yesterday me either! She was deeply hungover if you want to know the truth.

Rule five: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

It is at this point when I reach my biggest roadblock to following Peterson's 12 rules to the letter - I don't have any children to dislike, or indeed like.

I don't even know anyone with children. So, instead, I picture a child dribbling food down their top and then I picture me mentally saying: "Be careful with that."

It's all a bit of an odd way to spend an afternoon, but them's the rules for life.

Rule six: Set your house in order before you criticise the world

Difficult to not criticise the world as a journalist... tricky one indeed. Kinda in the job description. I think the more tactful way of putting it is 'hold power to account'.

Anyway, I take a literal interpretation to the tip and put some laundry away before mouthing off about the Tory leadership contest. My life feels better than ever.

Rule seven: Pursue what is meaningful not what is expedient

This is all about living for purpose and working on long-term meaningful goals rather than hedonistically going from one dopamine hit to the next.

It seems hard to tick this one off the list in a day, but at least thinking about it makes me pause my habitual procrastination scroll through TikTok and get back to work.

Rule eight: Tell the truth. Or at least don't lie

To other people and ourselves... Again, I'm not in the business of deceit so this tip doesn't feel hugely transformative. But I guess we all tell a fair few white lies in our time, so as I set off about my day I pray no-one asks me if I think their outfit looks good.

Rule nine: Assume the person you are listening to knows something you don't

This is all about being a good listener and having basic conversation skills. I don't think I go about life assuming I know absolutely everything in the world so again, this one seems like a no-brainer.

But thanks for the advice, Jordan.

Rule 10: Be precise in your speech

Peterson argues that it is wrong to ignore problems in the hope that they'll go away and says that if you drill down to find what's bothering you it can pay dividends. As a journalist, I've always been a fan of good communication, even if it is just with the inner psyche.

So I precisely say "thank you" when I leave the supermarket, precisely communicate with myself when I can't work out what I want for lunch, and make a precise effort to make fewer typos in texts to friends.

I think Peterson would be proud?

Rule 11: Do not bother children while they are skateboarding

I think this means live and let live and don't intervene in potentially dangerous situations; let nature take its course instead. But in a literal minded moment, I search skateparks near me, ready to do absolutely nothing.

However, a quick internet search reveals that the nearest one would be, to be precise, a schlep. And travelling to watch children playing seems just shy of creepy. Nature, or Google has taken its course and so I propose:

Rule 11.5. Do not bother going to watch children skateboarding if it means having to get on more than one bus.

Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one in the street

This basically means it is good enjoy the small things in life and thank goodness there is symbolism to this tip because I live in a fairly busy part of London - not cat central - and I hate animals. Still, I make an effort to look out for some as I go about my day, hand ready to pet at any moment.

I don't see any cats so the spiritual enlightenment that must surely erupt at the point of flesh and fur contact is lost on me but at least I enjoy some other small pleasures: some decent weather, a nice stroll, and not bumping into any cats.


So a day has gone by, I've lived the life Jordan wants me to, and what has changed?

Not a great deal. I've revised my basic life skills (listening to others, not lying) but failed to encounter any cats or children on wheels so how much of a shot have I really given Peterson's tips?

Perhaps there is more work to be done but I think that will have to remain a mystery. After all, I'm meant to be pursuing things that are meaningful not expedient.

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