Summary of ‘5 steps to designing the life you want’

My summary (mixed with some own thoughts) of this talk:

  • The problem: People tend to get stuck in life and they lack the right tools. Design Thinking (DT) is such a tool.

Dysfunctional beliefs ->

The unattainable best is the enemy of all the available betters.

I’ll be 25 in 4 months and I will most likely be hitting the reset button on my life soon. I was terrified that I wasted my life. I needed this.
I’ll be 30 in 5 years time and I will most likely be hitting the reset button on my life soon. I was terrified that I wasted my life. I needed this.

  • 5 Tips from DT for Life Design: 1. Connecting the dots
    i. People want their lives to be meaningful / add up to something
    ii. Exercise: Write 250 word essays on the following three questions and try to match them:
  • 1) Who are you (your thoughts, words, actions)?
  • 2) What do you believe? What’s the meaning of life? The big picture? Why are you here?
  • 3) What do you do in the world? Why do you work? (Not a job description) The point of working?

2. Gravity problems:

3. Thought experiment:

2) 3 rubrics: a) Your life as it is now goes great (continue what you’re currently doing, trend-extrapolation) b) What would you do if a) died tomorrow, e. g. your job gets replaced by AI? Any sidehustle or talent to explore etc.? c) Wildcard-Plan: If neither $ nor reputation (nobody would laugh) was a restriction, what would you do/be? -> get creative!

One life, Many Possibilities — What are you doing right now? Continue doing it and make it better. — What would you do if you died tomorrow? — What would you do if you have money and don’t care what people think?

3) Goal:

4. Prototyping your ideas

EDIPT Emphatize — Design — Idealise — Prototype — Testing

  1. …ask interesting questions: “What would it be like if I tried this?”
  2. …expose the underlying assumptions: “Is this even the thing I want (now) or is that just something I remember I wanted when I was 20?”
  3. …involve others with your ideas
  4. …sneak up on the future (because I don’t know yet if this is exactly what I want..)

ii. You can “prototype” ideas by…

  1. protoyping conversations: the future is already here, only unevenly distributed -> others are already living your future -> get in touch with them and learn
  2. prototyping experiences: test the experience (example: a 45 yo business exec attending a uni lecture to see if it feels right)

5. Making better choices:

i. The process of choosing well and making yourself happy:

  1. Gather & create options
    a) Deliberately (active brainstorming etc.)
    b) Serendipitious (be open for opportunities in your peripheral vision etc.)
  2. Narrow down options to a working list
    a) “When you have too many choices, you have no choice”
    b) Radically cross out all choices until ~7 are left (overcome FOMO!)
  3. Choose / Pick one: Combine rational judgement (pro/contra comparisons etc.) with holistic gut feelings
  4. Let go & move on instead of agonizing (FOMO strikes again!): Consider decisions irreversible
  5. Simply get curious, talk to people and try stuff!

Designers spend their days dreaming up better products and better worlds, and you can use their thinking to re-envision your own life, says design professor Bill Burnett. He shares five tips to try, whether you’re at the start of your career or contemplating your next act.

Bill Burnett,
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