Rules of Life

13 Aug

Rules of Life

My “going back to school” Mac arrived today. To learn its new bells and whistles, I am selectively transferring /reformatting certain files from my “old” Mac (and, therefore, my “old life”) that seem especially appropriate for the new adventure I soon will pursue. What follows is a lecture outline that I developed in 2003 to teach young Ukrainian students some of the theories propounded by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott.

The fact that I *taught* these concepts nearly a decade ago now feels like a punch in the gut, since I am very much feeling like I need to revisit these lessons myself, today.


Dr. Carter-Scott achieved her PhD in human and organizational development. She has been an international lecturer, consultant and author for more than 30 years. She founded the MMS (Motivation Management Service) Institute and has been called “a guardian angel to CEOs.”

Her seminal book If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules provides a map for understanding and pursuing personal development, and for helping others to understand and develop too. To me, her theories explain our attitudes and behavior with a special clarity. I feel they provide a practical guide to behavior and self development.  Perhaps you will agree or perhaps not, either way, Dr. Carter-Scott’s rules are worth considering.

Rule One: You will receive a body.

Whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.

Rule Two: You will be presented with lessons. 

Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons are specific to you, and learning them is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life.

Rule Three: There are no mistakes, only lessons. 

Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable that things will not always go according to plan or turn out how you’d want.

  • Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgment – of ourselves and others.
  • Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also “the act of erasing an emotional debt.”
  • Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humor – especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – are central to the perspective that ‘mistakes’ are simply lessons we must learn.

Rule Four: The lesson is repeated until learned. 

Lessons repeat until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are more lessons – they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them.

Your own self-awareness and your ability to change are requisites of executing this rule.

Also fundamental is the acceptance that you are not a victim of fate or circumstance – “causality” must be acknowledged; that is to say: things happen to you because of how you are and what you do.

  • To blame anyone or anything else for your misfortunes is an escape and a denial – you yourself are responsible for you, and what happens to you.

Patience is required – change doesn’t happen overnight, so give change time to happen.

Rule Five: Learning does not end.

While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the “rhythm of life,” don’t struggle against it. Commit to the process of constant learning and change.

  • Be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses.
  • Be flexible enough to adapt from what you may be accustomed to, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.

Rule Six: “There” is no better than “here”. 

The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness.

Living in the present helps you attain peace.

Rule Seven: Others are only mirrors of you. 

You love or hate something about another person according to what you love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are. Strive for clarity of self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own thoughts and feelings.

By supporting others you support yourself. Where you are unable to support others it is a sign that you are not adequately attending to your own needs.

Rule Eight: 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.

  • Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things.
  • Don’t get angry about things – bitter memories clutter your mind.
  • Courage resides in all of us – use it when you need to do what’s right for you.

We all possess a strong natural power and adventurous spirit, which you should draw on to embrace what lies ahead.

Rule Nine: Your answers lie inside of you. 

Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration.

Rule Ten: You will forget all this at birth. 

We are all born with all of these capabilities – our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical, and lacking in belief and confidence.

These ten “Rules” are not commandments – they are universal truths that apply to us all. When you lose your way, call upon them.

Have faith in the strength of your spirit.

Aspire to be wise. Wisdom is the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself.

The summary I wrote in 2003 was merely a brief outline of Dr. Carter-Scotts theories. And while it continues to ring true, it also fails to do justice to her book and the wisdom within it.

We’ll see what other nuggets I unearth in next few weeks leading up to my re-immursion into the life of a student….

4 Responses to “Rules of Life”

  1. Anonymous August 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    So true….as long as we believe & have faith, NOTHING is impossible.

  2. xwsemperfi June 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    I would go one step further to say that these are the secrets to life. Thank you for sharing.


  1. The more things change, the more they are the same | JustAdventures - June 9, 2015

    […] Once my essay about Zoe got me to Ukraine and I got to start using my talents in the classoom, the lecture series that my students loved the most was the one that I based upon Dr. Cheri Scott’s “Rules of Life,” which I previously shared on this blog [if you’d like a refresher, you can check it out HERE]. […]

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