Creative thinking rules

A few folks forwarded different versions of this to me: hi+low had the image, but teczo had the writeup. And it appears to all come from an NPR story about Sister Corita Kent.

She was an art teacher who influenced many creatives, including Buckminster Fuller, Charles and Ray Eames, John Cage and Henry Miller, and is perhaps most famous for the 1985 love stamp.


    1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
    2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.
    3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
    4. Consider everything an experiment.
    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.
    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 analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
    9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
    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.

Love it! You can see some of her work online or check out the recent book about her work.

10 Responses to “Creative thinking rules”

  1. Janet

    Hi, sorry to bother, I have been reading your blog forever. Too interesting to stop! I have just started my own little blog and would like to welcome you there:

    Please keep sharing you life and thougths, we need more people like you!

  2. jonathan foster

    good stuff. i like the 7 rules mike rowe has at fast company magazine this month as well.
    1. Never follow your passion, but by all means bring it with you.
    2. Beware of teamwork.
    3. Vomit proudly and whenever necessary.
    4. Be careful, but don’t be fooled–safety is never first.
    5. Think about what you are doing–never how.
    6. Ignore advice such as “Work smart, not hard.” It’s dangerous–and moronic.
    7. Consider quitting

    thanks. jonathan at

  3. Peter

    What a great set of guidelines – but boy, what a challenging set of guidelines for most of us to manage in our lives. I think I’ll have to work on implementing them one at a time.

    Reading this reminded me of another creative thinking “guru” – Gregg Fraley. He’s recently put out a book which I found to be an interesting read called Jack’s Notebook. It’s a “business fable” and teaches creative problem solving (CPS), a fundamental business skill. I found it to be a real page turner, which is unusual in a business book.

    You may have heard of it already, but just in case . . .

  4. Asrul

    Woah…your rules are almost identical as mine. I’m a multimedia student and have been following these rules since I start knowing multimedia world. I like no.9 the best. True, being happy with your work will make you enjoy your work. You will not realize that time has passes by when you are doing something that you put your heart with. Thanks for the advice mate!



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