“Designers don’t agonize. They don’t dream about what could have been. They don’t spin their wheels. And they don’t waste their futures by hoping for a better past. Life designers see the adventure in whatever life they are currently building and living. This is how you choose happiness.”
Based on a popular class they teach at Stanford, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Bill Burnett and Dave Evans use principles of design thinking, from brainstorming to prototyping, and adapt them into a method for reconsidering and reshaping your life. “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” shows readers how design thinking can help create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling.
“A well-designed life is a marvelous portfolio of experiences, of adventures, of failures that taught you important lessons, of hardships that made you stronger and helped you know yourself better, and of achievements and satisfactions.”
The book uses techniques that anyone familiar with design thinking will recognize immediately. The authors break their philosophy down into five simple things you can do to better design your life:
- Be curious. Curiosity primes your brain for learning new and unknown things, a crucial element of redesigning your life.
- Try stuff. Prototyping is a fundamental part of design thinking. Try to devise as many cheap and easy experiments to test out your assumptions.
- Reframe problems. Reframing your problems helps you look at situations in a new light and come up with much better solutions to them.
- Understand it’s a process. Success is much less about the outcome than it is about the way you go about your life. Focusing on the process also helps you gain something from every eventuality, even the bad ones.
- Ask for help. Designing your life should be a collaborative process. Deploy an open approach to new ideas and insights.
“People fight with reality. They fight it tooth and nail, with everything they’ve got. And anytime you are arguing or fighting with reality, reality will win. You can’t outsmart it. You can’t trick it. You can’t bend it to your will. Not now. Not ever.”
Change is a growing presence in all of our lives. The principles outlined in “Designing Your Life” help you to create the kind of life you want, even as the elements of your life change. One thing we can guarantee: By reading this book, your chance of building and getting what you want will go up.
“A well-designed life is a life that is generative—it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise. You get out of it more than you put in. There is a lot more than “lather, rinse, repeat” in a well-designed life.