Video: Design Your Life

In this blog, we’ll talk about books.  Books are important because they change how to see the world.  

Oh NO, sez the Youtube generation. 

Not books. Please, not books.
Yeah, you guys don’t read enough. 

So I’ll throw in some websites and videos, ‘kay?

(Yeah, no Old Person should talk like this. I’m trolling yaVideo and imagery will be the primary way I am going to seek to reach you with impractical advice. However, the source code is in books. )

I will admit that I’m a professional reader of books. I also cheat.  I listen to books, too, which can work very well for the books I’m going to recommend.  I work with lots of younger colleagues and they’ve taught me the value of video to give you a taste before you commit to something, when you need help NOW, and when you need to go over something multiple times, in many different ways.

Many people get “stuck” when they have to sit down and consider where they are going.  Often, we need “writing prompts” for mapping out our futures.

Today I’m going to talk about two guys who have a ton of research and experience in guiding people in building their own navigation systems for life Bill Burnett and Dale Evans.   They teach a class at Stanford University that focuses on the objective: “how to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.”    The book they’ve written is one of the very best resources for getting started that I’ve found in all my years of picking up the pieces and starting over.

Here’s the 25 minute video by Bill Burnett from the Life Design Class.  Bill is a warm hug of a guy.  I enjoy this talk, it’s slower paced than the next video recommended below and has more graphics.  He also does the “professional lecturer” thing well — and for me, that works–because I am a long-winded, professorial type, but this man is a master of that genre.  But if that’s not you, try the second video by Dale Evans.

This 19 minute video by his co-author, Dave Evans provides a very high-energy talk on the same topic, designing your life. It covers about 70% of the same material and it goes a lot faster, romping over very similar ground at a high rate of speed with some different stories. I enjoyed them both, even though I had read the book.   I think that listening to both is helpful, because they’re very good together, but you can choose either one and get similar benefits.


Readers, however, are just as impatient as video-watchers in wanting to get to the point.  The thing we readers like about reading is that we can skim and get to the good parts.  So I’ll be pairing video-oriented posts with reading oriented posts.  For me this is part of my own A/B test–and we’ll be talking about that too.  Diane Rheam did a radio show on these guys and her website provides a good introductory excerpt from this book that explains the design-thinking ideas and going into more depth about dysfunctional thinking and how it gets us “stuck.”

Bottom Line:  Many of us are kind of stuck right now. How do we make decisions about where we should be going with all the social and political upheaval around us? Should I stay in school?  Go back to school?  Change careers? Hold on to what we have and persevere?

Many people are very unhappy, not sure of what to do, and so they feel helpless and stuck.  If that’s where you are  (and welcome to the club), we’re going to start with getting unstuck–and that means imagining three possible futures for ourselves, three routes that will get us to happiness and well-being.  

Reference book for the day is: Design Your Life: How to Live a Well-Lived, Joyful Life Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.  Written in 2016, it’s 274 pages.

Here is a link to a $2.99 summary of the book. which will provide you with a good foundation, much more in-depth than the videos and only 26 pages.

I have many relatives with dyslexia who find reading quite difficult. So summaries are good and they’ll be provided liberally in this blog.  This link is for Amazon, but its available lots of other places too.  I’m working on providing options. 🙂   ~~ Lola.

This is a two-part post. In the next part,  I’ll discuss blogging as part of designing a life. 

Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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