Almost 50 years ago, in San Francisco, during the chaos of the Vietnam war and Watergate scandal, Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott, the founder of The MMS Institute started doing what nobody had done before—taking a systematic approach to human development and motivation and in the process, Dr. Carter-Scott, who is frequently referred to as the Mother of Coaching, created what has become a global multi-billion dollar industry.

Coaches Carla Morton and Lindsey Taylor-Vivier were trained by Dr. Cherie, a #1New York Times Best Selling author, a frequent guest on Oprah, CNN, The Today Show, and executive producer of the Coaching Movie LEAP.

Carla and Lindsey then went on to establish MMS Northern California to provide powerful Transformational Coach training to a new generation of coaches in the San Francisco Bay Area and the MMS NorCal Coaching Collective connects MMS NorCal trained coaches with clients.

In one of her workshops, Dr. Cherie created a handout: The Ten Rules for Being Human. These universal truths immediately captured attention, got passed around, were posted in thousands of homes, became one of the most favorite sections in the classic book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and eventually published in the New York Times bestseller, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules.

In the United States today, the Vietnam war and Watergate scandal are now distant memories, but we are surrounding by even more troubling and perplexing challenges with the Pandemic, Climate Change, and Political Polarization. And, as we once again find ourselves in tumultuous times, here is a set of interpretations on The Ten Rules For Being Human.

You will receive a body.

We take our bodies for granted.

reflections on being human

Unless it is demanding attention with aches and pains or disease—or we are faced with a pandemic—for the most part we don’t think much of it, other than how it makes us look.

And, of course what others will think about how we look. 

The pandemic at least has made us more aware of the importance of taking care of our Human Body.

But as a society, we are consumed with what’s on the outside and this tendency is being exacerbated by social media, fueling eating disorders, self esteem issues, anxiety and depression. 

We forget that what’s on the inside – and who’s on the inside—the “Being” in Human Being is what counts.

You will be presented with lessons. 

As children, we explore the world around us and learn from friends and family. We expect lessons in school and we expect to learn new skills at work. Most of us enjoy learning—on our terms. We want to be in control – of our day and our lives. 

But every day, stuff happens and much of it – whether it is extreme weather, the pandemic, or what someone else says or does—is beyond our control. We must take responsibility for what is happening to our world, have goals and plans and do our part. But after we have done our part, what if we accepted the fact that we have no control over what happens on the outside, but have full control on the inside—and how we choose to interpret what happens.

What if we expected lessons, looked inwards at our automatic reactions, contemplated what there was to learn, and then took action?

There are no mistakes, only lessons.

We don’t like making mistakes on tests, but in school, we don’t expect to get everything right. In life however, we hate being wrong and making mistakes. We beat ourselves up or put others down. We avoid putting ourselves in situations where we are not in full control and where we may not be seen as perfect. 

But there are no mistakes, only lessons. Everyone makes mistakes and if you are not making mistakes, you are not challenging yourself and you are not growing. Of course, we should do our homework, be our best and do what is right, but when mistakes happen, it’s not what happens that matters, but what we can learn from that.

What if we expected mistakes, looked inwards, searched for the lesson and progressed from what went wrong?

Lessons are repeated until learned.

How many of us – cram calendars and are always running late? Set exercise goals but procrastinate? Click to buy now when we know that will bust our budget? Get into the same arguments or the same type of destructive relationships? We don’t pay attention and we don’t change and we don’t learn. We keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

But lessons are repeated until learned. What if next time, or even better, before the next time—before you were late or skipped the workout or bust your budget or blamed someone else—you took a few minutes to write down those patterns, looked in from a different angle, listened for the message, and got the lesson?

Learning does not end.

Enough already! Been there and done that. Shouldn’t life get easier, simpler, better? Isn’t life about the pursuit of happiness and happily ever after? 

You eat healthy food and take care of your body, but in spite of being careful, you get Covid. Or, after years of marriage, the kids have grown up and your partner decides it is time to divorce. Or, you’ve made it up the corporate ladder and saved for retirement, but a hurricane or fire just destroyed your house. Or you have your dream job and a happy family, but you are bored, something is off and you don’t feel fulfilled. 

Learning does not end. Every day is a new day and instead of expecting happily ever after, what if we watched with curiosity and wonder to see what today will bring? What if we looked for the lessons, found the clue, got the aha and advanced our Being – moment by moment, one day at a time?

There is no better than here.

The grass is always greener there. Troubles are always bigger here. We keep comparing how we look, what we have, what we do and who we know—with luminaries making headlines and friends posting their perfect lives on social media. 

Whether there is a different house or a different stage in life, there is no better than here. For every person who has more than you, there is a person who has less than you. Even for people who may seem to have more of everything, they too are being presented with lessons. 

During these tumultuous times, we are becoming more aware that we are all in this together. We are all facing extreme weather, disrupted lives, economic uncertainty and social unrest. And as we are all being presented with lessons, there are no mistakes, learning does not end and there is no better than here.

Others are only mirrors of you.

Carl Jung said this very clearly: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”. So if someone does something or says something that bothers you, you are being presented with a lesson.

Again, you do not have control about what others say or do – but how you react, how distrubed you feel, how upset you get is up to you. Others create an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to examine how you are feeling and where that feeling is coming from. An opportunity to see their behavior for what it is and to make a choice of how you want to respond to it.

For example, you may feel offended when the checkout cashier at the grocery store is rude and rushed and you may instantly feel distressed that their behavior is because of your gender or age or race. You may be right and the person could truly be discriminating—and you could make a decision to not take it personally. You could reframe their behavior as not being about you, but rather about them – being tired, worried about a sick child, or frustrated by something their boss said. Alternatively, you could make a decision to stand up to injustice.

We cannot stop the lessons, we cannot control others’ actions, but we can watch our feelings, reframe our thoughts and choose how to respond.

What you make of your life is up to you.

Life happens moment by moment in the now. And yet, how much time do we spend dreaming about the future or wishing for days bygone? How much energy do we spend blaming others or being angry that life is not fair?

What if we took responsibility for knowing our values, forming our vision, setting goals and doing our part to make them happen? We don’t have control over what others say or do or what actually happens, but what if we watch what happens, listen for lessons, pick up signals and take responsibility for our choices? 

Moment by moment, with every thought, choice and action, what we make of life is up to us.

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All the answers lie inside of you.

Our Human Doing comes from our Human Being. All the answers lie inside Being – aware, conscious, listening, looking, watching, learning, choosing.

You will forget all of this at birth.

But today is a new day, every moment is a new step on the path and today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Some moments we will remember, some moments we will forget – Being aware, watching your thoughts, making conscious choices is a practice on the path called Life. 

Read Dr.Cherie’s book and check out the MMSNorCal Coaching Collective – a coach can help you tap into the answers that lie inside you and make the most of Life.