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Design Your Life

I find that starting my day with something inspiring is really helpful in feeling happy, enthusiastic about my goals and energized. It can start the day in a completely new way.

Today’s inspiration was simply the next video served to me from the last one (See the 100% rule here). I love leaving it to the algorithm that Google has designed based on the previous things I’ve watched because I think that gives me the opportunity to be surprised but also be in the same sort of genre that I am trying to learn about or be entertained by.

This is one is a winner chicken dinner! Take the time to watch this – the video is even more impactful than just listening – I think the graphics help.

Here are the notes from video – so once you watch it, if you want to have the main points to remember you can just scan below!

Design Lab is a course taught at Stanford on how to know what you want to be when you grow up. Bill Burnett is the speaker and he teaches this course at Stanford. The number one reason students take the class is “because they say they want their lives to be meaningful, useful and at the end of the day want it to add up to something.”

“People get stuck and they don’t know how to get unstuck.”

One of the initial points Burnett makes is that the things that people believe that are not true hold them back. People are told they are supposed to have all kinds of things in their lives. We are “supposed” to be married in our 20’s. We are “supposed” to have a passion. We are “supposed” to know our career trajectory. Another especially detrimental concept we all hear is “Are you being the best possible version of you.” This implies there is a SINGLULAR best.

The unobtainable best is the enemy of all the obtainable betters.

Bill Burnett

Burnett says, “according to positive psychology literature there is who you are, there is what you believe and what you do in the world.”

Who you are–>What you believe–>What you do

So they have the students answer the following questions: What is your theory of work? Why do you work? What is it for? What is work in service of? (in 250 words)

Then they have to answer: What is the meaning of life? Why are you here?

When you can connect your work with who you are you start to experience your life as meaningful.

Bill Burnett

Additionally, he has students answer “what are the problems that you cannot change?”

He goes on to say you can’t solve a problem you’re not willing to have. The only way to deal with problems like that is to accept that there is a problem you can’t change.

Then the video goes on to Life Design:

Steps of Life Design: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test.

The students then ideate three lives. They answer these questions: What you are doing now but make it better? What is your side hustle? What is the wild card plan – if money wasn’t a worry? (Think if you had enough money and you didn’t care what people thought.)

In the prototype step – you are thinking about what would life be like if I tried this idea. Then find someone who has already done what you want to do – have a conversation with that person.

The last few concepts Burnett discusses are really intriguing –

Get good at being lucky
Limit your choices
If you make your choices reversible your chances of being happy go down.
Always do 3 of anything

If you want to do more with your life and really find a way for your life to feel meaningful, this may be a great way to get started and designing your life.

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Did you have any aha! moments?

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