12+ Questions for Life

Here is something I’ve wanted to do after my first read of 12 Rules for Life but never got around to do:

I wanted to write down every significant question that Jordan Peterson asks in this book and answer it truthfully. While I just finished my reread of 12 Rules for Life and haven’t started answering those questions yet, I’m sure they can help you out in evaluating whatever life can put in front of you at any moment.

I’ve taken the liberty of categorizing all of these questions and taking out a few duplicates or the ones that were too similar to others. I’ve also kept the ones together that were in one paragraph or sentence.

FUTURE

These questions get you thinking about your future life. Sometimes they are more about the immediate future (e.g. tomorrow), sometimes they ask you to think about a worthy purpose to pursue.

“What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly?”
“What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful so that I could shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences?”
“What should I be doing, when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body?”

“What would your life look like, if it were better?”
“What would Life Itself look like?”
“What does ‘better’ even mean?”

“What could I do, that I would do, to make Life a little better?”

“What would be the largest, most effective—most pleasing—of all possible sacrifices?”
“How good might the best possible future be, if the most effective sacrifice could be made?”

“What shall I do tomorrow?”
“What shall I do next year?”
“What shall I do with my life?”

RELATIONSHIPS

These questions get you thinking about your friendships, kids, family, significant others and friends in general.

“How do I know that I am not myself merely pretending to be responsible, while pointlessly ‘helping’ you so that I don’t have to do something truly difficult—and genuinely possible?”

“Are you so sure the person crying out to be saved has not decided a thousand times to accept his lot of pointless and worsening suffering, simply because it is easier than shouldering any true responsibility?”

“Are you enabling a delusion?”

“Is it possible that your contempt would be more salutary than your pity?”

“When do you dislike your parents, your spouse, or your children, and why?”
“What might be done about that?”
“What do you need and want from your friends and your business partners?”

“Have you said what you need to say to your friends and family members?”
“Have you made peace with your brother?”
“Are you treating your spouse and your children with dignity and respect?”

“How much can you sacrifice to your partner before generosity turns to resentment?”

“What shall I do with my wife?”
“What shall I do with my daughter?”
“What shall I do with my parents?”
“What shall I do with my son?”
“What shall I do with the stranger?”
“What shall I do with a fallen soul?”
“How shall I educate my people?”
“What shall I do with a torn nation?”
“What shall I do with a lying man?”

YOU

Those questions can help you to assemble a more complete picture of who you are, what you want and how you could negotiate with yourself.

“Who are you?”

“How hard can you force yourself to work and sustain your desire to work?”

“What is it that you actually love?”

“What is it that you genuinely want?”

“What do you find valuable or pleasurable?”

“How much leisure, enjoyment, and reward do you require, so that you feel like more than a beast of burden?”

“How must you treat yourself, so you won’t kick over the traces and smash up your corral?”

“Do you ask yourself what you want?”
“Do you negotiate fairly with yourself?”
“Or are you a tyrant, with yourself as slave?”

“What are you putting up with, or pretending to like, from duty or obligation?”

“What do you do to avoid conflict, necessary though it may be?”
“What are you inclined to lie about, assuming that the truth might be intolerable?”
“What do you fake?”

“Could you compare your specific personal tomorrow with your specific personal yesterday?”
“Could you use your own judgment, and ask yourself what that better tomorrow might be?”

“Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you?”
“Are you working hard on your career, or even your job, or are you letting bitterness and resentment hold you back and drag you down?”
“Do you have habits that are destroying your health and well-being?”
“Are you truly shouldering your responsibilities?”
“Are there things that you could do, that you know you could do, that would make things around you better?”
“Have you cleaned up your life?”

“Can I repair the damage done by my past failures, now?”

“What have I done wrong, and what can I do now to set things at least a little bit more right?”

“What is it, that we most truly are?”
“What is it that we could most truly become, knowing who we most truly are?”

“What is wrong, exactly?”
“What do I want, exactly?”

TAKING ACTION

Whenever you feel stuck or without purpose those questions can help to get you start if you are humble enough to aim low.

“Is there one thing that exists in disarray in your life or your situation that you could, and would, set straight?”
“Could you, and would you, fix that one thing that announces itself humbly in need of repair?”
“Could you do it now?”
“What bit of chaos might I eradicate at home, on my desk, in my kitchen, tonight, so that the stage could be set for a better play?”
“What snakes might I banish from my closet—and my mind?”

“What could I do, that I would do, that would accomplish that, and what small thing would I like as a reward?”

“What is it that is bothering me?”
“Is that something I could fix?”
“Would I actually be willing to fix it?”

“What should I do today? – How could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse?”

CODA

Jordan Peterson laid out a few really important answers to what he considers some of the most pressing questions we can face in our lives. How will you answer these questions yourself?

“What shall I do to strengthen my spirit?”
“What shall I do to ennoble my body?”
“What shall I do with the most difficult of questions?”
“What shall I do with the poor man’s plight?”
“What shall I do when the great crowd beckons?”
“What shall I do with my newfound pen of light?”
“How shall I deal with the enlightened one?”
“What shall I do when I despise what I have?”
“What shall I do when my enemy succeeds?”
“What shall I do when I’m tired and impatient?”
“What shall I do with the fact of aging?”
“What shall I do with my infant’s death?”
“What shall I do in the next dire moment?”
“What shall I say to a faithless brother?”
“What shall I do with the world?”


I hope you’ve liked this blog post and got something out of these questions. If you want to share your answers with me, you can do that on social media and tag me @itsmewaldi, I very much look forward to reading what you thought of!