Posted by: otstoryteller | December 7, 2014

Rules for Being Human (source unknown)

Many years ago I encountered a small set of Rules for Being Human (and if you know the true source, please let me know – it does come up on multiple web pages (with variations) and is available as a poster) which I will list below.  I keep a small framed copy of them in my office. Over the years I have shared these with students when they feel overwhelmed by OT school.

What brought the Rules to mind just now is how the last two rules are ever-present in my life, whether being human (me) or being an educator: I am forever in the throws of #10 – I forget a lot; at least in my surface awareness. I suspect my memory is impaired by stress and overload (what adult memory isn’t?) – and #11 does occasionally come to my rescue, especially when attending faculty development workshops or talking with colleagues. There are many moments when I remember that I know how to set up relevant educational experiences, I just sometimes get too lost in the day to day stuff of life to actually do the prep work (or leave enough time to do that prep work well). So, instead of beating myself up over it, it is good to re-read the Rules, and remember that I am not alone. I will state that #4 can be a real annoyance; especially when the feedback is limited. But I do believe attitude is incredibly important and keeping a positive one helps a great deal.

The Rules For Being Human

  1. You will receive a body.

You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around.

  1. You will learn lessons.

You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

  1. There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Growth is a process of trial and error: Experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”

  1. A lesson is repeated until learned.

A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

  1. Learning lessons does not end.

There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

  1. “There” is no better than “here.”

When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”

  1. Others are merely mirrors of you.

You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

  1. What you make of your life is up to you.

You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

  1. Your answers lie inside you.

The answers to Life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.

  1. You will forget all this.
  2. You can remember it whenever you want.


  1. Thank you for your post! I especially like the rule that said “‘there’ is no better than ‘here'”. I find myself with my mind either in the past or the future, but thinking about the present is a surefire way to alleviate anxiety:)

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