Guest BOTM: Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
"Your life isn’t about what you want to do when you grow up, but who you want to grow into."
At some point in each of our lives - we have been asked the question: “What do you want to do with your life?” Yikes. The fundamental question of life. And yes, it can be a terrifying question to think about, let alone actually address. Depending on your stage in life - chances are the genuine answer to that question at some point (or even as you read this) has been ’I have no idea.’ How can we determine what we want to do for the next 40-60 years when we rarely know what we even want to do this weekend? What happens when we pursue a ‘passion’ or career we thought we’d love, but end up dreading? How do we even discover what our passions actually are? These are the questions that keep so many of us up at night - and that is OK. Just because you feel lost in this crazy thing we call life doesn’t mean is has to be that way or this is how you are going to feel for the next 40 years.
As I enter the world of ‘adulting’ - it pains me to see so many of my friends and colleagues dissatisfied with their work. Not just dissatisfied, but genuinely unhappy with their job to the point that they live in a constant state of anxiety. Going day-by-day, yearning for 5 O’clock, dreading the email inbox, living for the weekend. Repeat. Sound familiar? You are not alone. 2/3 of workers are unhappy with their jobs, with 15% more genuinely hating what they do. Would if you could design your life so that it provides you the with the purpose you desire, can actually pay the bills, and can be built to provide you with even more freedom - sounds awesome right? Or does it sound impossible? Either way - this is where Designing Your Life comes into play to help you create the life you deserve.
Designing Your Life was born at Stanford University when the authors, Bill and Dave, created a class called ‘Life Design.' The purpose of the course was to show young adults that you can look at the complexities of life as a simple problem. Bill and Dave believe that problem can be solved using the principles of design to figure out what you want to do with your life. Through designing (brainstorming), prototyping (trying something new), and building a product (taking action) you can solve most problems you face in your life. If you think about it - everything in our life that makes our day easier, more productive, and more enjoyable was created because of a problem. Cell phones, cars, light bulbs, and even chairs were born out of a struggle we faced in our day-to-day. If you look at your life as a s (UNFINISHED)
Design - Prototype - Action
If you aren’t a huge fan of your current job - try brainstorming on an experience in your life that brought you joy. Once you have a few ideas - instead of just quitting your job and going all-in on that one joy, prototype first. Test the waters to see if that one thing is truly something you’d like to do everyday. If after prototyping you still love that opportunity - take action. (UNFINISHED)
Key notes from the read:
-There isn’t one uniformed design for your life or one purpose. There are many! Don’t look at finding a passion as a singular
-Your life is an experience - discover and enjoy!
-Be curious. Curiosity leads to opportunities
-Try stuff! When you have a bias to action - you are committed to moving yourself forward
-Reframe problems. It is the first step to getting unstuck, step back, examine what is preventing you from being what you want to be
-Life is a process. It gets messy. Mistakes will be made. Let go - move on - and chances are a new opportunity will come out of a mistake
-Focus on the process, not the end result
-Ask for help! You are not alone.