Have you ever heard the quote “We change when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing”? It’s been attributed to several people recently, but it’s been around for over 40 years by my recollection. I think it would be more accurate if it said “greater than the FEAR of the pain of changing” but that wouldn’t be as catchy I suppose. The quote is so true is so many ways. In my family, one of the main ways I see it is in health crises. One or other of my relatives goes merrily along, not doing anything for their health and then BAM, diabetes strikes. Some of them then make changes but others still won’t, and invariably, they have heart attacks. A major heart attack is definitely enough pain to cause change. My dad had to quit smoking, eating his famous cholesterol heavy “big breakfasts”, drinking, and watch his sugars all at once. He was also supposed to begin exercising but he had lost most of his strength so that was more difficult than it had been previously.
What if I told you, you didn’t have to wait for a catastrophe to get the life you want, the life you need? Heck, it doesn’t even have to be painful. You can #Design your life. The main investment to designing your life is the time and mental energy it takes to visualize it. After that, you can reverse engineer from where you want to be to where you are now. You don’t have to wake up one day and step into an unrecognizable life (like you do after a heart attack or a stroke), you can plan the changes to be small and gentle. Even changing one thing a week will get you where you want to be.
Designing Your Life by Stanford academics Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, outlines five simple things you can do to begin planning.
- Be Curious- You don’t know what you don’t know, and curiosity primes your brain for learning new things. I liken this to being your own scientist.
- Try Things- In the same way that production and other designers create prototypes, you can create experiments to try out your assumptions. In my scientist approach, I recommend clients create and test hypotheses.
- Reframe problems- Looking at problems in a different way can change how you feel about them and how you react to them. Reframing can expose cognitive biases and limiting beliefs that restrict your choices.
- Know It’s A Process- Making small and gentle changes will take time, particularly if you want the habits to last. Focus on the process instead of the outcome to insulate yourself from frustration. Life truly is about the journey.
- Ask For Help- Invention and Innovation are more and more collaborative processes in the workplace and designing your life is no different. You don’t live in a bubble; ideas, insights, and feedback from people in your life can help you grow in ways you haven’t even imagined yet.
What will your #Design look like?