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How to make life plans, designer style

Design tends to be seen as a specialist skill that traditionally refers to areas like graphics, architecture, interiors, or computer software. Recently two Stanford University lecturers translated their design thinking, taking it outside the design box and brought it into life thinking.

how to make life plans designer style

Making life plans? Think like a designer

Dave Evans and Bill Burnett co-authors of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life have produced a best seller complete with exercises to assist readers reimagine their life. Evans and Burnett describe five distinct mindsets you need to redesign your life. “With them, you can build anything,” they say, “including a life you love.”

Be curious Curiosity invites exploration. It transforms everything to play. It’s the reason some people see opportunities everywhere.

Try stuff Designers try things. They test things out. Sometimes they discover the problem is entirely different from what they first thought.

Reframe problems Reframing ensures that you are working on the right problem. Everyone gets hamstrung by dysfunctional beliefs. Here's a common one: "If you are successful, you will be happy." The reframe is: "True happiness comes from designing a life that works for you."

Remember that life design is a process Life gets messy. For every step forward it can seem like you are moving two steps back. An important part of this process is letting go—of your first idea and of a good-but-not-great solution.

Ask for help This is perhaps the most important mindset of all. “Great design takes a team. A painter can create an artistic masterpiece alone on a windswept coast, but a designer cannot create the iPhone alone,” Evans explains. “And your life is more like a great design than a work of art, so you cannot create it alone, either. Design is a collaborative process and many of the best ideas are going to come from other people.”

Evans comments that at midlife, the process works beautifully because “experience has taught you much about who you really are and how the world really is—crucial insights for good life design.”

Excerpt from Yes, You can have more than one great life by Janice Holly Booth

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