the only rule is work

In the print lab at City College, I spied, half hidden under a clock, a copy of Corita Kent's "Artful Rules for Work and Life," developed for the Art Department of Immaculate Heart College, where she taught for over twenty years.


Her "rules" are worth quoting in full.


Rule 1 Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.


Rule 2 General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.


Rule 3 General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.


Rule 4 Consider everything an experiment.


Rule 5 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 6 Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail. There's only make.


Rule 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.


Rule 8 Don't try to create and analyse at the same time. They're different processes.


Rule 9 Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.


Rule 10 "We're breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for x quantities." —John Cage.


Helpful 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.


There should be new rules next week.

  • Fiona Taylor 7y

    excellent advice!
  • litherland PRO 7y

    yes indeed!
  • halfnoise 5y

    we're finishing up a short video about Corita..funny this came up in a google search :)
  • litherland PRO 5y

    Ooh! I’d love to hear more. Keep me posted.
  • Jack Vinson PRO 5y

    Thanks for these! I've just used the image in a blog post on a completely different set of rules.
  • litherland PRO 5y

    Theory of Constraints is a thing? Who knew? Thanks.
  • Jack Vinson PRO 5y

    Theory of Constraints is the basis for how I'm earning a living these days, so I hope it is a thing. :-)
  • litherland PRO 5y

    Well, I will look into it: I’m interested in constraints from a design perspective. Just didn’t realize that there was an established discourse around constraint.
  • Jack Vinson PRO 5y

    We can take this elsewhere, but TOC is a concept around operations management: how one runs a production facility, projects, the supply chain, and sales and marketing. I've seen "design constraint" discussions, which are very interesting too - but I think there are some differences in the approach. That said, in both cases, the constraint(s) cause you to focus your efforts.
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Taken on June 25, 2008
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