The designing your life approach is radically different. It starts where you are. Because it can be argued that no personal plan survives the first engagement with real life, list out the problems in front of you and beware “gravity problems”: the things you CANNOT change.
A ubiquitous gravity problem, for example, is the manhours’ limitation on earnings. There is a ceiling on a designer’s earnings. (The same is true for dentists, cab drivers, architects, and almost any profession you care to name.) He or she can only do so many hours at the drawing board. So, if you want to make more money, you need to find an income source that is scalable, such as writing a bestselling self-help book, or patenting an innovation/invention.
Identify and accept such gravity problems in your life! Stop stressing over them and accept them as circumstances. Then develop or “ideate” in the designer jargon…
Is there an alternative use to which you can turn your skills, knowledge, and experience? What other strings do you have to your personal bow? Do you bake exceptional cakes, do a mean stand-up party routine, or have a huge comic book collection in the attic?
The third should be your strategy in the event of a huge lottery win. What would you do with yourself if money were no object, and there was no “red tape” to tell you “no!”? Would you quit work and go around the world? If so, why aren’t you in the travel business?
4. Prototyping: It’s a four-step process. First, thoroughly question yourself and others in radical collaboration to fully understand your proposed new life plan. Second, expose your implicit assumptions, so that you can test them and avoid nasty surprises down the road. Third, involve as many others in your idea generation and planning as is practically possible. Fourth, “sneak up on your future” by implementing your “big idea” incrementally from your current circumstances. Do each of these four steps for each of your three strategies above.
- To have conversations and network with people who are already doing what you are considering doing. Ask people for their stories, and when you relate strongly to what you hear you can feel reassured that you are on the right track to fulfilling your better destiny.
- To go out and experience the lifestyles that are closer to your ideal to test out whether they are really what you want to do.
5. Choose Well by Listening to Your Gut: Be action biased in gathering and creating ideas for your future. Then narrow your alternatives down to five at the most. Too much choice is debilitating. Choose one to implement. If you feel “fomo” (the “fear of missing out”) when you make a decision, listen to your gut reaction and go back to the narrowing down and put that option back into the mix.
Be sure to make your decision irreversible. Try to ride two horses at once and you will never be comfortable or satisfied with either.