Dec 7, 2021 8 min read

12 Rules for Being Human with Jim Carrey

12 Rules for Being Human with Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey 12 rules for being human

Jim Nelson, the consultant to CAIRE Inc, shares these 12 Rules for being human handed down from ancient Sanskrit. With added commentary from Jim Carrey

Jim Nelson is a consultant to CAIRE Inc. He is also a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well-known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them.

He wrote this piece on the 12 rules of being human. I couldn't think of a better person than Jim to give us his perspective on what the rules mean to him.

Here are the 12 rules of being human

  1. Gratitude: You will receive a body.
  2. Surrender: You will learn lessons.
  3. Acceptance: There are no mistakes, only lessons.
  4. Fool me once: A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
  5. Fail Forward: Learning lessons does not end.
  6. Presence: “There” is no better than “Here.”
  7. Reflections & Triggers: Others are merely mirrors of you.
  8. Choose: What you make of your life is up to you.
  9. Outside-In approach: The answers lie inside you.
  10. Inside-out approach: Your answers lie inside you.
  11. Willful Ignorance:  You will forget all of this.
  12. Focus: You can remember it whenever you want.

Here is Jim's Perspective

You cannot dispute the first two rules … You did receive a body. It may not have been the body that you wanted, but we apparently have little choice in the matter. Just take care of whatever is left of it. And, you will certainly learn lessons! Some of them are easily learned and remembered. Others, not so much …

I like Number 3. If my mistakes are really lessons, I have been offered a lot of opportunities to learn. When I was working on the basement last year, I made more than a few mistakes. I did in fact learn from them!

“A lesson will be repeated until it is learned.” Again, I reference my basement. I didn’t repeat too many of my “lessons,” but if I ignored the message the first time, the universe would surely remind me.

If you are not still learning lessons, you are simply not paying attention. Or you are in a coma.

I can take exception to Number 6. Of course, it really depends on the definition of “there.” If “there” is some manner of religious paradise or the living room of Bill Gates, then it just may be better than here. Mary and I have had a deal for as long as we can remember. If we ever envy someone else for their looks or their possessions, we have to also step into the rest of their life, mothers-in-law and warts and all … Neither of us has yet found anyone with whom we would totally trade places.

Others are indeed mirrors of you! A smile will generally be rewarded by one in return. A surly attitude or general grumpiness will also be returned in kind.

Numbers 8, 9, and 10 merely affirm that you have within your being the ability to control your life. Outside influences certainly have an effect, but you always have control over your feelings toward your situation.

You will likely forget some of this, but I hope that you will take some of it to heart and use these principles to help you to maintain a positive attitude toward the lessons that we all must learn.

As you likely know by now, Mary and I have learned a lot of lessons in our years. Septic shock, “female” problems leading to a hysterectomy, osteoporosis, broken hip, severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), double lung transplant with the resultant compromised immune system, prostate cancer, partial loss of vision, another broken hip, broken ribs, a mysterious blood disorder, and skin cancer.

We have each been a caregiver for the other when necessary. Point is, we have done it all with generally positive attitudes. It is an effort at times, but it makes everything so much more bearable.

We sincerely urge you to give it a try.

Love you all,

Uncle Jim

Extended commentary on Rules for Being Human

You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it but it will be yours for the entire period this time around. It is the only thing you really own or are guaranteed to keep for your whole life. You may as well look after it, there are no replacements.

You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life on planet earth. So be a student of life. Look up at the stars each night and realize that none of us really know anything. This means that each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons, or think them irrelevant or stupid. However, you act, react and respond will determine where you are with the other lessons.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation - trial and error. The so-called failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".  And let's be honest, from the day we are born, we are slowly dying. Time is a finite resource. Our job is simply to do our best to not speed it up. Thus, growing only refers to living outside the constraints of the comfort zones we have become accustomed to OR created for ourselves. This means that anything we do outside our comfort zone will first be met with resistance,  then it will be uncomfortable. When we start dancing in the unknown, we will try new things. Every master was once a disaster, which means that it's ok to not be perfect the first time you do something new. Follow your heart into the unknown and let it take you off the well worn path.

Have you noticed that seemingly painful events have been the best motivators for change in your life?

In the same way, bliss and inner peace tell you that you are on the right path, especially when you feel it with regularity. Pain & Pleasure become bookends of the same human experience, which are designed to help u course-correct back towards our true north and who we were born to be.

Insert 3 life lessons from Jim Carrey

Jim had to play multiple characters every day. Until one day he decided that there is nothing worse than living your life, in your own life play, and dying one day as a character that you never really were.

1. Depression Is Your Body Saying:

“I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me.”

Think of the word “depressed” as deep rest

Jim carrey says your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character you’ve been trying to play.

This helpful reframe form Jim is powerful. What if depression was good for you? What if depression was a sign it was time to check out from your current life and take a break — or have a gap year of nothing?

Try this: if you feel depressed, awesome. Now you know it’s time for deep rest. Deep rest = long walks, daily meditation, 8+ hours of sleep, afternoon naps (without the guilt), time with your family, a period of work without pay.

2. “We Are Not the Avatars We Create. We Are the Light That Shines through.” … (The Rest Is B.S.)

Jim Carrey said this at a 2014 commencement speech.

The avatars of your social media profiles aren’t what matters. The light Jim talks about is your ability to inspire people through your everyday, so-called “normal” life.

Your life is normal — and life-changing for somebody who sees the old you as their current self. Use your updated avatar and compare it to the old one. Let the light shine through your avatar.

Try this: share lessons from your life. Drop quotes from books you read in people’s newsfeeds. Dare to show people your raw, sometimes broken side.

3. "Creativity Frees You"

When Jim suffered a broken heart he decided to just paint, according to a short documentary Jim filmed called “I Needed Color.”

I did the same with writing. When my mind feels trapped by the challenging circumstances the world is currently facing, I find a way to switch on flow and become creative.

Creativity is like a portal into a different universe.

Creativity is healing for your soul.

Try this: dare to be creative more often. Write, draw, take photos, film videos, record audio or take up public speaking. Find your medium and unleash your creativity. Notice how you feel.

Repeated lessons...

A lesson is repeated until learned. It will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. You will see the same lesson with different faces, different names, and different contexts over again until you change who you are and what you are attracting with your thoughts, choices, and patterns of behavior.

When you can finally see it. Usually, once you get sick of your own BS. Once you've learned it, you can then go on to the next lessons. If you don't learn lessons easily, they become harder. You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions and patterns of behavior change.

As an example, what do you do after a breakup?  

Suppress, distract and run. Seeking meaningless relationships, dopamine and serotonin hits that eventually lose their potency.

OR do you spend some time alone, creating space to feel it all, allowing every emotion to flow through you, whilst staying focused on your own true north and not distracting yourself with the opinions of others or the need to be validated in your own emotional pain? All whilst taking responsibility for yourself, how you ended up there, the choices you made, and deciding what you are going to do next from a centered emotionally resilient heart.

Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. Every person, every incident is the universal teacher. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Ask yourself... "What is the lesson in this?"

"There" is no better than "here". Nothing leads to happiness. When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that again looks better than "here". We all know that comparison is the thief of joy. There are 2 types of people here

1. Those who are continually looking for better offers, shinier objects, or greener pastures. Forever chasing what they may have already found once or twice over.
2. Those who water their own grass and shine brightly, attracting all that is synchronous and abundant to them.

Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself. It might take you a lifetime to accept this one, but when you do, it's game-changing.

What you create in your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you.

There are three kinds of people:

1. those who make things happen,
2. those who watch what happens,
3. and those who wonder what happened.

Take charge of your life or someone else will.

Your answers lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

Again, even after reading this a second time. You will tend to forget all this.

However, you can come back and look at this anytime. Or simply, print it out and put it on the back of the toilet, like my mum always used to do :)

Final Words from Jim:

“The Bottom Line with All of This Is Love”

— We want to show ourselves, and have that be accepted.

The unhuman success of Elon Musk in 2018 was put to the test. During an interview, right after talking about how artificial intelligence could end life for humanity,

Elon said “This may sound corny, but love is the answer. It wouldn’t hurt to have more love in the world.”

After the wild ride that Jim went on — where he lost himself publicly and came full circle — he reached the same realization as robot Elon. Who would have known that love is the answer? It's an energy, its compassion, its empathy, it's love for ourselves, unconditional love for others and even the world around us.

From my heart to yours, Big Love,


How can I help? I work with every day people, health professionals, coaches & enterprises that are committed to sustainable lifestyles; good health, happiness, connection & enabling environments

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