I used to think this quote came from John Cage’s 10 Rules for Students and Teachers. However, I learned from Brain Pickings that they really came from Sister Corita Kent. I had this list of 10 Rules on the bulletin board above my desk for over five years and from it I learned some of the best approaches to being creative I have ever read. The rules are:
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.
I always found the first rule to be one of the best. It encouraged me to accept my current situation until I could trust it no more. I learned and grew a lot that way. I found opportunities and I rose above challenges. Trust became the barometer for change—not my own internal tidal waves of interpretation and expectation. I learned that creativity is an internal perspective that can be applied no matter where I have landed. All I have to do is try.