Sue Anderson, an ‘improvised life’ reader, sent us a link to this GREAT video of artist Chuck Close‘s powerful, simple, forthright words-to-live-by from an ongoing CBS series “Notes to Self”. It’s well-worth suffering through the 30-second commercial for its memorable four minutes of pure wisdom (don’t bother with the last minute of news anchor blather). In the course of the video, Close outlines eight perfect rules for living…as true as we’ve ever seen:

Never let anyone define what you are capable of by using parameters that don’t apply to you.

Virtually everything I’ve done is influenced by my learning disabilities.

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. Every great idea I’ve had grew out of work itself.

Sign on to a process and see where it takes you. You don’t have to invent the wheel everyday. Today you’ll do what you did yesterday; tomorrow you’ll do what you did today. Eventually you will get somewhere.

No one gets anywhere without help. Mentors…can make you feel special even when you are failing in other areas. Everyone needs to feel special.

I learned very early in life that the absolute worst thing can happen to you and you will get past it and you will be happy again.

If you’re overwhelmed by the size of a problem, break it down to make bite-size pieces.

There’s always someone worse off than you.


Thanks a million, Sue!

Related posts: ‘self-taught’ lessons about learning and creativity
thelonious monk’s notes on life and music
messages from the future, written in the past
“don’t give up!” (the inspirational letters project)

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3 replies on “chuck close’s ‘note to self’ (eight perfect rules for living)

  1. I used to teach high school art, and always made a point of doing some sort of Chuck Close inspired project, so I could tell the kids his story. This blew me away! He really is amazing–and I’ve always loved his work. Thanks for posting.

  2. “Every great idea I’ve had grew out of the work itself.” Don’t wait to be inspired, just begin to work. As a Montessori teacher, I know that the learning also comes from the work. Thanks for sharing!

  3. That’s the thing about The Improvised Life – sometimes I purposely leave some unread so they’re there when the day just isn’t starting well and I need something to set me right. You never fail… Thank you

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