In the “Design Your Life” movement pioneered by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett, design principles are used to make life decisions. In this way, your life becomes the tool or system that you use to solve problems or achieve your goals.
“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms. Not one that others or the environment have scripted for you.” Tony Robbins
There are other articles out there that talk about designing your life to solve or improve problems, but this article will talk about designing your life to meet goals. Design to solve problems is different from design to achieve goals in many ways, not least of which is that goals can often be seen from further off than problems.
Your Most important Goals Should Be A Little Vague
When considering your most important goals, it is important to make them somewhat vague. The grand-scheme of what we want for our lives isn’t likely to change too much over time, but how we expect to achieve it can change drastically. Of course, that’s okay, but it’s best to make plans that can fit different trajectories.
“Your life is your story, write well, edit often.” Anonymous
Think of it this way: If you plan to take a road trip and want to get a car first, getting a car that can operate well in different terrains will allow you to take a number of different routes to your destination. Even though the destination doesn’t change, you might not want to take the interstate the whole time.
This line of reasoning is particularly important for young people. You are already expected to know what you want to do for a living when you are in high school, but many people change majors at least once while in college.
This is often seen as a problem because what you do for a living is seen as the goal, when the goal should really be living comfortably and being happy – a goal that is not limited by your profession. If you have a plan that is dedicated to eventually achieving financial independence, changing your major or your career path can be seen more as taking a new route than not knowing what the plan is.
“Don’t get too caught up in making money or having a job, get excited about the fact that you can design your life.” Darren L. Johnson
Leave some room for life design goals. There are important reason why you should do this.
Leave Room In The Design For Variables
Of course, what career path you take isn’t the only way that your path toward your goals can change. Many people plan their lives as though they were the only person involved, which is never the case. You should be the focus of your life plan, but when designing your life, never forget that there are other people who can help you in any number of ways.
Your family may be able to offer financial support. Friends or romantic relationships may be able to offer emotional support. Teachers, bosses, mentors, and other figures can offer advice, access to new resources, or change the path that you take to reach your goals.
Neglecting these people while designing your life often allows you to have a clearer plan with fewer variables. After all, it’s easier to plan what you will do than it is to know what people you will run into or how they will impact your life.
However, not allowing these sorts of influences into your life will mean passing up on opportunities and resources that can take you to your goal, even if it means taking an eraser to part of your life’s design plans.
“Design your life in such a way that you would never need a vacation from it.” Boruch Akbosh
As in the previous section, the best thing to do is to never have your design plan in pen. The important thing is keeping your main goal in sight and having a plan that will let you take the best route to that goal, even though you may not know the best route when you sit down to make your plan.
“Don’t be a victim of circumstances and let life design you. Take an active role and be the one who designs your life.” Anonymous
Designing an effective life plan means that you need to keep your goals in mind. The more you focus on your life goals, the more you can tweak your plans to achieve them.
It can be tempting to watch the variables to the point that you have no design at all, but this too is risky. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board but be sure that there is always something on that board.