Tips

Book Freak #55: How to Design Your Life

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Short pieces of advice from books

Bill Burnett is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University and currently the Executive Director of the Design Program. Here is advice from his book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.

Don’t fall in love with your first idea
“Our minds are generally lazy and like to get rid of problems as quickly as possible, so they surround first ideas with a lot of positive chemicals to make us ‘fall in love’ with them. Do not fall in love with your first idea.”

To become passionate about something, get good at it
“For most people, passion comes after they try something, discover they like it, and develop mastery – not before. To put it more succinctly: passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause.”

Don’t pick a fight with reality
“People fight with reality. They fight it tooth and nail, with everything they’ve got. And anytime you are arguing or fighting with reality, reality will win. You can’t outsmart it. You can’t trick it. You can’t bend it to your will. Not now. Not ever.”

Design your life
“Design doesn’t just work for creating cool stuff like computers and Ferraris; it works in creating a cool life. You can use design thinking to create a life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling. It doesn’t matter who you are or were, what you do or did for a living, how young or how old you are – you can use the same thinking that created the most amazing technology, products, and spaces to design your career and your life.”

Book Freak is published by Cool Tools Lab, a small company of three people. We run the Cool Tools website, a podcast, a video review YouTube channel, and a couple other newsletters, including Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop TalesWhat’s in my bag? and Recomendo. I hope you’ll check them out. You can support our work by becoming a patron via Patreon.

-- Mark Frauenfelder 07/24/21