Design Thinker in Action since 2012

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Designing A Life Part 1

Posted on: 2 may 2013

My thoughts about applying design thinking principles to designing a life.

We all are designers of our lifes: We all have to develop a strategy and design our way to get where we want to go, our intimate, vital sense of purpose...and we all have to make decisions, and choose paths and iterate, and learn to fail fast, and test, and manage different contexts, and empathize and...choose a destiny-a why- from the heart when we think we are not ready to do so (need to apply intuition and instinct). 
Life happens and so does our design thinking ability.

I love metaphors as ideas made images or viceversa. Maybe this one would help to prototype the designing-a-life experience:
Designing a life is like mailing a blank letter to your future self. The most important decision is choosing the stamp.  

The stamp represents the path, your destination: Where you want to go, who you want to be, how you want to feel, what you don't want at all. In other words, the destination you choose represents the why, what and the how... of (who) YOU: They conform a person’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. 
The blank letter represent the process that would take you to your chosen destination. It is going to be written and updated by you with your findings, learnings, experiences, while you itinerate and act. The process it’s something we grow — we create and build over previous experiences and insights.

Your chosen goal or destiny
I find Viktor Frankl’s  "The meaning of life" totally inspiring:
What man actually needs is not some tension-less state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.
You hold onto to your destiny along the process, while itinerating. Your understanding of it would improve over time. 

Design Thinking principles applied 
There are a few abilities that might take you years of personal work, such as pattern recognizing in order to understand, measure, compare, predict and develop skills that will help you understand contexts, people...including you. You cannot effectively lead your life if you failed to understand you. You cannot scale your life without inner leadership. Need to learn to lead, and need to learn to follow.
You lead, you follow you. 

Life experience will increase your understanding over the years; You will change your mind a thousand times; Follow wrong paths; Failed furiously over and over again, and forget your WHY...  But you don't leave because you're the problem and the solution that you are trying to solve. 

How big of a problem it is? How much of you are you willing to pay? How painful is this problem going to be? What can you create that is going to solve this problem? Is is worthy?

Important questions

What can happen if you don't stick to your destiny?
Are you and your process sustainable?
Understanding the context?
Considering a human-centered perspective?

One more Design Thinking principle 

No situation repeats itself, but emotions do.
Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, each situation needs a different response, but it might make you feel similar to other experiences... 

Prototyping your sensations. 

Design thinking attitude
My "letter to your future self" metaphor is an idea with radical implications that it requires further and transcendent thoughts. 
Questions to myself:
  • Choosing one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is crucial.
  • Setting a meaningful, honest, difficult and almost impossible goal can be a life inspiration
  • The life-process is everything, and as meaningful as achieving the goal itself.

  • The goal defines your life, therefore, your life process, your own design. 

  • "And yet fulfilling work doesn’t come from the path of least resistance" Viktor Frankl

    Note: "The most important decision is choosing the stamp-destination"  

    Fostering Macroempathy 

    Life experiences are part of our vital CV and show off our multiple selves, values and talents and also tell our personal exposure to other realities, therefore, life experiences frame our capacity of understanding others.

    Why life experiences are not crucial in our professional CV?

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