Designing Your Life 

by | Personal Development

If you feel like life is happening to you rather than you being in control of your life, it’s time to rethink your priorities and revise how you go about your day. By adding more intentionality to your actions, you’re able to design your life in a way that’ll bring you happiness while allowing you to create an impact on others.  

What are you passionate about? This is a question we’re asked from a young age, and to be honest, we don’t always (or ever!) know. Additionally, just because we’re passionate about something, whether it’s art, music, math, or helping people—it doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll be doing for your job or career. But it also doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate your passions into whatever profession you decide to tackle.  

Gauging your current happiness.  

In their New York Times™ bestselling book, Designing Your Life, authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans ask us to think specifically about four aspects of our life: health, love, work, and play. (Watch their TEDx Talk™.) Thinking of these aspects like a gas gauge, we can assess whether the indicator is on “Full,” or if it’s toggling closer to “Empty.” First, go through this exercise for your own life to get a sense of where you are currently. Then, work to find a comfortable level for each category. Next, consider the advice we’ve outlined below.  

A close up of a smart phone shows the definition of the word “design.” While the pronunciation of “de-sign” is easy to view, the rest of the text is blurry.

Eliminate dysfunctional beliefs.  

Dysfunctional beliefs are myths we tell ourselves, which hold us back from achieving the life we want. However, when we “reframe” our beliefs into more realistic ideas of what’s possible, we feel creative and energized. For example, if you were ever asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You might think you have to come up with one answer, or that you’re too far along in your career to change the answer. But that’s simply not true. Life is an ever-changing journey. We can point ourselves in the right direction, but it’s okay if we make pivots, take new turns, and find new direction throughout life. Be willing to be a lifelong learner and adapt as you go.

A brown and white owl sits on a branch with his head cocked to the left.

Continue being curious.  

Have you ever watched a child go into a new room? They immediately start opening drawers, looking under blankets, and playing with toys. They’re in exploration mode and are excited to try out everything. At what point do we lose this child-like wonder? We encourage you to continue approaching life with curiosity. There are always new places to explore, new people to meet, and new concepts to learn about. And thanks to technology, we have it all available at our fingertips. It’s never been easier to connect with friends and access information. As you’re figuring out your life path, don’t just take things at face value. Research, reflect, and be willing to let your mind wander as you consider how things may fit into your life design.   

Try new things.  

You may have participated in “internships” in school, but you can set up these short-term looks into other professions later in life, too. Interested in going back to school? See if there is a class you can sit in on to get a feel for the experience before registering. Curious about starting your own business? Try a low stakes option out of your home that doesn’t require an expensive build out or a big investment in inventory, first.  

Consult trusted experts.  

This might seem like a no-brainer, but before making a big, life-altering decision, like switching professions, talk to others in the field you’re interested in pursuing. Frequently, people are hesitant to approach experts to discuss their jobs because they don’t want to bother them. In reality, most people love talking about what they do every day, especially if they’re passionate about it. So, be bold and ask your burning questions, such as:  

  • What’s your typical routine? 
  • Do you feel challenged every day? 
  • Do you feel fulfilled? 
  • What’s your work/life balance look like? 
  • Do you enjoy the people you work with? 

Ultimately, remember that it’s never too late to design a life you love. And life’s too short to be stuck doing something you hate day in and day out. Instead, take these tips and go design the life of your dreams.  

Looking for more ways to add happiness and gratitude into your life? Check out our blog on why giving is the best present.

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