Design Your Life

Don’t just let life happen, design it!

Design is creative magic. At least those without the power believe this. There are even some designers that would have you believe it is magic. But they know the truth, a truth I’ll share with you. Design isn’t creative magic; it isn’t even that mysterious. Like most things, it can be explained, learned, and applied. You too can have this power. And with it, you can design your life.

You are a designer and you have the power of Design. Today I will show you how to unlock that power and Design your life. Some think of Design as a purpose, plan, or intention that exists behind an action, fact, or object.

It could even be a drawing produced to show the look and function of that thing.

While those definitions work, it’s simpler than that. A good definition of design is problem-solving. If you are a problem solver, you’re a designer. It’s that simple. But that doesn’t make it easy. The magic lies in the methods you use to conjure solutions to those problems. If you want to solve the problems in your life, then design your life.

There are many well-documented problem-solving methods that you can learn. Some examples include:

  • The Deming-Shewart Cycle
  • The Kepner-Tregoe Decision Analysis
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Or my Favorite User Centered Design.

All of these methods share the same basic process.

First, you define the problem

Then you generate possible solutions

Afterwards, you apply some or all those possible solutions to the problem until the problem is solved.

But here’s a critical final step. Verify that the problem is solved. There have been many who failed because they thought a problem was taken care of, when in fact, it was not. There are several ways to address each one of the steps Define, Generate, Apply, Verify. But there are pitfalls to be avoided at each step and that will make this process easier.

First, Define the problem.

That seems straightforward, but many times it’s so basic, that people want to skip it. They feel they innately know the problem or that it’s obvious and they can move to the next step. However, to probably define the problem, you have to make it concrete. The best way to make it concrete is to write it down. By writing it down, it’s no longer ethereal, it becomes tangible, malleable. It can be manipulated, reshaped and therefore solved.

Are there problems in your life that you have a sense of, but they aren’t well defined? Can you articulate it to a stranger in a manner that they would understand your challenge? Is it written down?

After defining the problem, you have to generate solutions. Again, writing these down is helpful. Many get stuck thinking of 2 or 3 ideas. But that’s not enough.

It’s that self-editing, cerebral process that keeps the good stuff from rising to the surface. You have to clear the funnel for the cream to rise to the top.

You have to generate so many ideas that you get exhausted. & you can,

you can do it.

Give yourself permission; you have to stop yourself from telling yourself to keep quiet or stuff it in, those possible solutions are too silly or embarrassing.

Trust the process, generate scores of ideas. When you first start, you may not generate more than a handful of ideas. But with practice and allowing yourself the freedom to dream, play, and create, you’ll soon generate possible solutions on demand by the dozens. Give yourself permission.

After Define, and Generate, there’s Apply. Simply take action.

You can refine, even reduce the solutions you generated and pick the ones you feel address the written problem you’re trying to solve. Take 1 OR 2 solutions and put them into action. See if they work. If not, go to the next one. Trust the process, one of your solutions will work. If not, be sure you have a concrete problem well defined and that your solutions are appropriate to address them. Keep trying until you’ve tried them all, and if necessary, generate more ideas.

Finally, after applying the solution that seems to have solved your problem: Wait, give it some time. Is the problem solved? Did it come back? Did you talk yourself into solving a different problem?

Verify your problem is solved. If it is, take on the next one.

If not, start the process again, or dig deeper into one of the methodologies I shared earlier. But it’s essentially the same. Define, Generate, Apply and Verify.

It’s not magic. It’s real.

It’s doable, and it’ll release the power within you.

 

Don’t let problems eat away at it.

Don’t just let life happen.

Define, Generate, Apply and Verify.

 

Design your life!

 

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