How to use design thinking to create a happier life for yourself

How to use design thinking to create a happier life for yourself

via TED Ideas by Bill Burnett

Design thinking is something that we’ve been working on at the Stanford Design School and in the School of Engineering for over 50 years. It’s an innovation methodology that works on services and products and experiences, such as designing a great-looking sports car or a laptop that contains its own built-in mouse.

But I think the most interesting design problem is your life.

I cofounded the Life Design Lab with Dave Evans at Stanford. There, we teach people how to take design thinking — which is a both a process and a mindset — and apply it to their own lives. School has taught most of us to be skeptical and to be rationalists, but those aren’t very useful mindsets when you’re trying to do something new, something no one’s ever done before, or something that has no one clear solution. Instead, design thinking says you should start with empathy and lean into what you’re curious about.

At Stanford, Dave and I teach a class called “Designing Your Life,” which we adapted into the book Designing Your LifeDesigning Your Work Life and a set of online workshops. We started the class because we’ve been in office hours for a long, long time with students, and we saw that many of them were getting stuck in their lives. What’s more, they didn’t have the tools for getting unstuck.

Now designers get stuck all the time. When I signed up to be a designer, I knew that I was going to work on something brand new, something I’ve never done before — every single day of my career. So I get stuck and unstuck and stuck and unstuck all the time.

One of the most important ways to get unstuck is reframing. It’s one of our most powerful mindsets. Reframing also makes sure that we’re working on the right problem. Life design involves a lot of reframes that allow you to step back, examine your biases and open up new solution spaces. Reframing is essential to finding the right problems and the right solutions.

Many people have beliefs about life which psychologists would label as dysfunctional. If you want to design your life, you need to reframe these beliefs. They hold us back and keep us stuck. I’ll share three of the most common.

Dysfunctional belief #1: “Knowing your passion will tell you what you need to do with your life.”

If you actually have a passion, that’s awesome. Maybe you wanted to be a doctor as long as you can remember. Or you knew at the age of 7 you wanted to be a clown at Cirque du Soleil and now you are one.

To investigate this passion idea Dave and I went over to Stanford’s Center on Adolescence, which by the way now goes up to 27, and we met with professor Bill Damon. He’s studied this question of passion and purpose, and it turns out less than 20 percent of people have a single identifiable passion in their lives. It’s a dysfunctional belief. You don’t need a passion to start designing your life, and the reframe is “you are OK, just where you are”…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE