Sunday, August 27, 2017
"Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life"
"True happiness," write Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, "comes from designing a life that works for you." The two Stanford professors paired up years ago to offer a Designing Your Life workshop through the university's Program in Design, and now they've distilled the workshop into a book.
In "Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life" ($24.95 in hardcover from Knopf; also for Amazon Kindle) the authors want readers to move away from a "steps-to-success" cookie-cutter approach and instead work to cultivate the skill of "reframing." "A reframe is when we take new information about the problem, restate our point of view, and start thinking and prototyping again."
So, for instance, the "dysfunctional belief" that "my dream job is out there waiting" can be reframed: "You design your dream job through a process of actively seeking and co-creating it." Find people whose job interests you and then ask questions--not to get a foot in the door but out of sheer curiosity: What sort of person does this job day after day and finds great meaning in the work?
Prototyping is about trying things out. One of the most intriguing chapters is about "being" the person with that job, adopting the mindset, aided by the interviews, of someone who is already doing the work. The key mindsets for this experiment, and for designing one's life, are "curiosity, bias to action (try stuff), reframing, awareness (life design is a journey; let go of the end goal and focus on the process of what happens next), and radical collaboration (ask for help)."
The authors debunk the idea that if you know your passion, "everything else will somehow magically fall into place." On the contrary, studies show that "for most people, passion comes after they try something, discover they like it, and develop mastery--not before. To put it more succinctly: passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause."
The authors offer wise counsel (not advice) about getting "unstuck." "Since life is a wicked problem that we never 'solve,' we just focus on getting better at living our lives by building our way forward."