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Wresting Color From the Canvas: House Rule #12

Aug 16, 2017 01:51PM, Published by Corey Starliper, Categories: Opinion, Arts+Culture



This 'House Rule' and others can be found in Dan Millman's book Living on Purpose. I accredit all direct quotations regarding the House Rules to Dan Millman. The subsequent lay analysis is mine.


  1. Earth is a school and daily life is our classroom

  2. Our teachers come in many forms

  3. We learn best through direct experience

  4. Failures are the stepping stones to success

  5. Lessons reappear until we learn them

  6. If we don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder

  7. Consequences teach better than concepts

  8. Only action brings ideas to life

  9. We can control efforts, not outcomes

  10. Timing is everything

  11. What goes around comes around

  12. Little things can make a big difference


One of the most obvious ways I find this rule working through my life is through the occasional spurt of 'hey, this doesn't go here' and either putting it back where it belongs or at least removing it from where it doesn't go. Removing three pieces of clutter from the kitchen counter can easily make all the difference between a counter looking cluttered and an entire kitchen looking pristine and ready to be utilized.

A made bed and a quick toss of my laundry down the stairs makes my room look almost brand new. When that happens, it puts me in a much better position to properly allocate various items in my room into 'keep,' 'give-away' and 'throw-away' subgroups. When I face the items that I stock at work, I usually face two or three things around it. This makes facing a lot easier when we make the final sweep to make sure nothing is out of place.

Removing the clutter from my car as it accumulates rather than waiting until it looks like I live in it gives me the opportunity to focus on the moment instead of thinking about what stands in my way. A random greeting card can put a smile on someone's face. A reassuring smile. A gesture of good faith. All of these things can warm people's hearts, enabling them to stay in the moment and to be kind to others.

Relatively few things in life demand strict attention to detail. It would not be practical to spend hours--as some do--making sure everything is perfect, that every blanket is folded, every tile swept, that every ounce of energy be exerted on the most focused causal link, but a little more consideration and a little less day dreaming can help you accumulate vast amounts of energy that you can allocate to still other things.

Little things can make a huge difference.


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