The Covid-19 outbreak has caused major upheaval in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Things that seemed important only a few weeks ago have faded into the background. That massive dislocation has caused many to re-evaluate both the content and the context of their lives.
Some people will re-evaluate their lives based on their own initiative. For many, that re-evaluation won’t happen until it’s forced upon them. Perhaps Covid-19 will be that forcing function, even if you don’t have the misfortune of contracting the disease, the disruption caused by it could be enough to cause a reset. The silver lining could be re-evaluating your life.
This month’s book is “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well Lived Joyful Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.
Nothing could be more timely than re-evaluating and re-designing your life. Since life isn’t normal now, why would you want things to go back to normal. I actually don’t want things to go back to normal. I want my life to move forward so that what emerges from this dislocation in history is better than it was before.
I fancy myself a designer. I used to design microchips. Then I designed systems that would process millions of phone calls per hour. I designed hardware systems. These days I’m designing subdivisions, and buildings, and apartments. Of course this is a team effort involving architects and engineers of many disciplines.
Designers love problems. Every single item that you find in your house was the result of some designer somewhere encountering a problem and coming up with a solution. That’s why you have running water. That’s why you have a dishwasher and a toaster and a chair. These things would not exist if there were no problems. They were only created in response to a problem in each single case.
So if you’re going to design your life, you absolutely need problems. Lord knows, there seems to be no shortage of problems at the moment.
The book is based on a design methodology that has been taught at Stanford University for over 50 years.
Design thinking starts with curiosity. Often times people are working on solving the wrong problems. So perhaps a re-frame of the question of the problem can get you unstuck.
Connecting the dots to create a meaningful life involves getting connecting who you are, what you believe, and what you do. When these three are connected together, you will experience a more meaningful life.
But if you’re never asking yourself the questions, you won’t get clarity. More importantly, life isn’t a destination, but a journey. If you spend your entire life chasing an elusive destination, then you will have missed it.
You can’t solve a problem, you’re not willing to have. If you’re not willing to accept the problem, then it’s not really a problem and it’s merely a circumstance.
It’s what you choose in life that makes you happy. Designing this requires evaluating several alternate futures.
The obvious first choice is to take your current path that you’re on and simply making it better
If your current reality was uprooted and you needed to do a plan B, what would that be?
Finally, if you had no constraints and could design your wild-card plan, would that be?
Things that come up on the other plans were items that were part of the past ideas that got lost along the way. By creating three alternative life paths you will generate enough ideas to figure out where you want to go next.
Prototype your life. That is try it on for size so that you will know at an emotional level if the choice works for you.
Choose well. That doesn’t mean making the best, choice, but it means making the choice in a way that you’re going to let go of the other alternatives and not second guess yourself.
The book design your life might be the best thing you can immerse yourself in right now when your life has been disrupted.