A couple of months ago I watched an online workshop called “Designing your life,” lead by two professors at Stanford University, Bill Burnett, and Dave Evans, who teach a class there about how to apply principles of design thinking to your life. They also wrote a book, “Designing Your Life,” that I managed to read a couple of weeks ago.
Usually, when I read a book that I’m very curious about, I’m so eager to find out everything it says and to get to the end of it that I don’t take the time to do the exercises properly or to note down the main ideas.
That’s what I did with this book, too, because I was so enthusiastic about it after I watched their online workshop. But even if I read it quickly, I left with a few key ideas:
- Become aware of the dysfunctional beliefs you might have and reframe them.
- Sometimes what you think is the problem, it’s not the real problem. I found this idea intriguing, and I think there’s truth to it. Sometimes the dissatisfaction in our lives doesn’t come from what we think it does and we need to dig deeper to find the real cause.
- You find a path and the life that works for you by testing and trying things out. You can’t figure things by thinking about them. They call this prototyping. It means creating experiments on a smaller scale. The idea is to get yourself involved with what you think you want and this way you can figure out if you really want it. Most of the time we think we want something, but we don’t know how it feels or what it’s like to be in the middle of it, doing it. You have to test something before you go full in.
- Imagine possible futures. Or odyssey plans, as they are called in the book.
- There’s not just one best life for you, no one best version of yourself; there are several ones, and for every situation, there is more than one right choice. You get to chose.
- Define your life and work view. Analyze them and see where they intersect and if there are any contradictions.