Rules for life

These ten rules from the Immaculate Heart College Art Department are incredibly good advice for just about everything you do in life:
6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the
people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things. 8. Don't try to create and analyse at the same time. They're different processes.
9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.
Link to image, Link to text (via Kottke)

Update: Karen sez, "These were compiled by students of Sister Corita Kent."



  1. CERTHAS, I think what they mean by work is any kind of activity that helps us develop, not simply performing a job to earn money. That is, instead of sitting idle in our free time, to try and do something, anything, take a walk at the least. Active versus passive, that sort of thing. Of course, at the end of the day we should mind the balance.

    Like any Rules For Life’ they’re more like guidelines, inspirations. A bit convoluted for my taste, but I really do like the Work one. And I’m as lazy as they come.

  2. “There is no win and no fail. There is only make.”
    “The only rule is work.”

    Must work and make, not wake and bake!

  3. Help!! I’ve pulled everything out, but can’t fit it back in! Also, how do you get blood out of carpeting?

  4. With due respect, these strike me as mostly insipid or obvious. Still, I’m glad whoever wrote them out limited themselves to making a single sign, rather than writing an entire kitschy self-help book called “Who moved the parachute for my chicken soup from Venus?” (that will no doubt come later).

    The one that disturbs me the most is: “Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them.”

    That’s not _my_ understanding of what it means to be self-disciplined. Personally, I think the world could use a little less blind obedience and a few more people learning to think for themselves. But that’s just me …

  5. I’ve been giving Rule 7 to my students for years. See here:

    Really important: Rule 7 doesn’t say that the only thing you can do is work. (That’s there no fun.) Rather: the only necessary thing is work.

    There’s a book somewhere about Corita Kent with a photo of the wall on which these rules were written (by faculty and students, anyone who wanted to contribute, I think).

  6. This was actually written by the great composer John Cage. I’ve been using them in my classroom for years.

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