Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett

Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett

[Music] yeah I think one of the big applications of design thinking is personal sort of personal transformation again as we said it’s just another tool in your tool belt but it’s a tool that happens to work really well in hard problems and one of the hardest problems you’ve got is what do you want to be when you grow up and this isn’t a problem that’s just college students this every time we talk about designing your life and the class we’re doing you know thirtysomethings who are thinking about you know changing jobs 40-somethings who are thinking about changing careers 50-somethings or 60 somethings who are thinking about their encore career all want to know you know what am I going to be when I grow up it’s a question that really never goes away because because hopefully your life is fun and creative and you never grow up but it’s a but it creates anxiety and it particularly creates anxiety or at that point senior year when you’re about to trans you know the big transformation occurs from I am in college or I mean I’m a student – no I’m not a student anymore we call it the decision explosion prior to that all you had to do is work hard in high school to get into a good college pick a major get through the major you know you’ve jumped all the hurdles it’s like oh my god now what do I do and it is if you think about it’s a classically wicked problem you can’t get that much data about your future you don’t know you don’t know what you really want to do this notion that you have a passion and you follow it I think is one of the most destructive ideas that anybody talks about because the research says less than 20 percent of the anybody college students or anybody actually knows their passion and is and knows how to fulfill it we find that most people find their passion by working into something that then becomes the thing that they’re passionate about and so you know college students have a lot of what psychologists call dysfunctional beliefs they they believe that their major is going to determine what they do for the rest of their lives which isn’t true of 10 years out of school less than 20% of the people are doing anything that has anything to do with their major they believe that they have to make one choice and that this choice is going to plot their trajectory forever this generation absolutely have at least two completely different careers maybe three because this may be the first generation to work 70 years right past college so the designing your life class just sort of jumps in and all that stuff it says look it doesn’t matter where you are or you know wherever you are you are here and from here we can’t navigate to your future because that’s not possible we don’t know where your future is but we can do what we call wayfinding and we can run prototypes you know an internship is an essential prototype shadowing a doctor for a day and seeing if you really want to be a surgeon is a prototype it’s living in the world of the people who are doing the thing you think you want to do and so the class is really impactful so one class I get more spontaneous emails you know from people about two years three years four years out saying I’m still using all these techniques it’s fent it’s fantastic I really feel like I’m getting the life I want it’s very generative my friends are asking me to teach them how to do this so you know the design method really works when you have these fuzzy and ambiguous problems like what you want to be when you grow up

5 thoughts on “Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett

  1. I'm a freshman in high school and I have the opportunity to take biomedical science but if i do I won't be able to take ap biology and ap chemistry
    So is it worth it? What is better to become a surgeon?

  2. His book is where you can learn the strategies. But if you really think about it you can do it on your own! Just write down what you want and make a plan( written of course) and then move everyday towards the biggest of your goals first, and then work your way down the list. Go to school and complete that first, but that is just the beginning, there is far, far more out there than the very limited view you get for the school environment. You must immerse yourself in the many facets of life and experience all you can.

  3. I love the freedom of this truth…we don't have to identify our passion to pursue it! We can have many in our lives. What we can do is to use creative mindfulness to design the life we want!

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