Prototyping Your Life

In a WSJ article, “Design Your Way to a Happier Life,” Dave Evans and Bill Burnett wrote, “If you don’t know what your passion is, that’s great news. Because you don’t have to know ‘what to do with your life’—you only have to do what’s next. Be curious. Try stuff. Think like a designer and build your future, prototype by prototype.”
 
Let’s face it, most of us love seeing a clear pathway forward in our lives. We find security and confidence in mapping out our life path. It makes sense. We don’t want to fall off a steep cliff accidentally. We want to see ourselves progressing forward, to loftier elevations. We want to see how our hard work will pay off.
 
But we need to keep in mind that we are constantly evolving, whether or not we do this consciously. We are constantly changing and are a different person than who we were just a moment before. Thus, rather than seeing ourselves as static players along an also static pathway called life, why not shift our perspective to see ourselves as prototyping our lives? Below are three benefits of doing so.
 
(1) Change is assumed, not resisted - This concept of prototyping life is so powerful, as it already incorporates the assumption that change will happen and different versions can be tried; change is inherent, a natural part of the process, and does not make us “losers” or “failures.” It’s about not taking ourselves so seriously as we are in the exploratory stage in our life (which hopefully will last throughout our entire life). We can see what works for us and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly, in real-time to utilize the most up-to-date information available.
 
(2) Individualized approach to life design incorporates your own unique specifications - Many of us have a certain idea of success and how our lives are supposed to be. We may even buy into the hoopla that, “we should be doing this” at this point of our lives, and if we’re not, we’re making a huge mistake that we will regret.
 
But if you notice, we are all so different. We each have unique gifts and talents and provide a distinctive purpose for being here on Earth. Thus, why would everyone follow the same pathway? That doesn’t make sense.
 
Once we begin to embrace prototyping our lives, we become more honest about what works and what doesn’t. We focus on progressing forward and are not tied to a static ideal or map for life. We see what is working for us in the moment and what isn’t. We follow our intuition on what is right for us personally rather than a generic plan that is supposed to ensure we are “successful in life.” (Staying steadfast to a certain pre-determined path or plan might appear to provide us security, but that security is just an illusion.)
 
(3) Recognition that change can be minor yet significant - Lastly, many of us expect that if we begin to prototype our lives, our lives will be turned upside down, inside out, and completely different from as we know it. Well, while your life may feel completely different to YOU, it may appear the same on the surface. For example, perhaps in prototyping your life, you begin to make small changes in how you interact with loved ones – thereby shifting your dynamic from awkward and resentful to loving and a source of comfort and joy - though you engage in the same activities as before.
 
Note, small steps – that may require us to delve deep within ourselves to take – make a big difference. A gentle touch, greeting your loved one at the door to say hello, allowing a slight to pass, or respectfully communicating your hurt to a loved one – all those small steps can change your life tremendously.
 
I hope that in you seeing your life as a prototype that you are improving, you can become more comfortable with change and continue to optimize based on you and your desires, not those of another designer.

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If you would like to work with me in exploring how you can be the designer of your life and prototype it, please email me at info@serahwang.com. I would love to provide you with a space of light and love as you take this courage step forward!