life design for success

Designing Your Life Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

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In today's fast-paced and constantly changing world, the idea of designing our lives may seem like a daunting task. However, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, in their book 'Designing Your Life,' offer a refreshing perspective on how we can approach this challenge.

By applying principles of design thinking to our personal lives, they provide a framework for creating a life that is meaningful, fulfilling, and aligned with our values and passions.

But how exactly does one go about designing their life? What are the key steps and strategies involved?

In this discussion, we will explore the fundamental concepts and practical tools that Burnett and Evans present, unveiling the secrets to unlocking a life that is purposeful and well-designed.

Key Takeaways

  • Embrace uncertainty and challenge conventional wisdom in order to explore new possibilities in life.
  • Reflect on core values, set priorities, and define SMART goals to align actions and decisions with what truly matters.
  • Discover passions, interests, and talents through self-exploration and experimentation outside of the comfort zone.
  • Test, prototype, and make decisions based on user feedback, data, and alignment with goals and values. Embrace growth mindset, resilience, and self-care to overcome obstacles and design a fulfilling life.

Understanding the Design Mindset

Understanding the design mindset is essential for creating a purposeful and fulfilling life. It involves embracing uncertainty and exploring new possibilities. Design thinking is not just limited to creating products or services; it is a way of approaching life itself. By adopting a design mindset, we can navigate through the complexities of life with curiosity, resilience, and a willingness to iterate and adapt.

Exploring new possibilities is at the heart of the design mindset. It encourages us to question the status quo and challenge conventional wisdom. Instead of settling for what is comfortable and familiar, we actively seek out new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. This mindset allows us to break free from limiting beliefs and discover innovative solutions to our problems.

Embracing uncertainty is another crucial aspect of the design mindset. Life is inherently unpredictable, and instead of fearing or avoiding uncertainty, we can learn to embrace it. By accepting that not everything will go as planned, we open ourselves up to unexpected opportunities and growth. Embracing uncertainty enables us to approach challenges with resilience and adaptability, knowing that failure is not a setback but an opportunity to learn and iterate.

Identifying Your Values and Priorities

By aligning your values and priorities, you can create a roadmap for designing a purposeful and fulfilling life. Identifying your core values is essential in shaping your life's direction. Take the time to reflect on what truly matters to you. What are the principles and beliefs that guide your actions and decisions? These core values will serve as your compass, helping you navigate through life's challenges and opportunities.

Once you have identified your core values, it's time to set your priorities. What are the things that matter most to you? What do you want to achieve in your personal and professional life? Setting priorities allows you to focus your time, energy, and resources on what truly matters, enabling you to make progress towards your goals and aspirations.

To effectively set priorities, consider the following:

  1. Evaluate your current commitments and activities. Are they aligned with your core values? If not, it may be time to make some adjustments and let go of things that no longer serve you.
  2. Define your long-term and short-term goals. What do you envision for your future? Break down your goals into actionable steps, and prioritize them based on their importance and urgency.
  3. Practice self-reflection and self-awareness. Regularly check in with yourself to ensure that your priorities are still aligned with your values. As you grow and evolve, your priorities may change, and that's okay. Stay open to reevaluating and adjusting as needed.

Exploring Your Passions and Interests

Discovering your passions and interests is a crucial step in designing a fulfilling life. It is the gateway to finding your purpose and living a life of fulfillment.

Finding Your Purpose

To truly design a fulfilling life, it is essential to embark on a journey of self-exploration, delving into the depths of your passions and interests. Finding your passion is not just about identifying what activities you enjoy; it's about discovering what truly lights you up and gives you a sense of purpose.

Here are three practical steps to help you on your quest for finding your passion and achieving fulfillment:

  1. Reflect on your childhood interests and activities that brought you joy. These early experiences can often provide valuable clues about your true passions.
  2. Experiment and try new things. Step outside of your comfort zone and explore different areas of interest. This will help you uncover hidden passions and expand your horizons.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions. Notice what activities make you feel energized, engaged, and alive. Follow your curiosity and pursue the things that bring you genuine joy.

Uncovering Hidden Talents

Embarking on a journey of self-exploration and uncovering hidden talents is the key to unlocking a life filled with passion, purpose, and fulfillment. Each one of us has untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. By discovering our strengths and passions, we can align our lives with what truly brings us joy and satisfaction.

Uncovering hidden talents begins with self-reflection and exploration. Take the time to identify activities and interests that energize you, where you lose track of time and feel a sense of flow. These are indications of your true passions. Experiment with different hobbies, join clubs or organizations, and seek out experiences that allow you to engage with new possibilities.

Unleashing your potential requires a commitment to growth and continuous learning. Embrace challenges and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Seek feedback from others and be open to new perspectives. Use failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Pursuing Meaningful Hobbies

Pursuing meaningful hobbies is a powerful way to explore your passions and interests, leading to a life filled with purpose and fulfillment. When we engage in activities that we genuinely enjoy, we tap into our inner potential and uncover new dimensions of ourselves.

Here are three key benefits of exploring new hobbies:

  1. Self-discovery: By trying out different hobbies, we expose ourselves to new experiences and interests. This process allows us to discover hidden talents and passions that we may not have known existed. It's through exploration that we truly understand what brings us joy and fulfillment.
  2. Stress relief: Hobbies provide an escape from the demands of everyday life. Engaging in activities we love allows us to disconnect from work or personal stressors and enter a state of flow. This not only rejuvenates our minds but also enhances our overall well-being.
  3. Personal growth: Pursuing hobbies challenges us to learn, develop new skills, and expand our knowledge. Whether it's painting, playing an instrument, or gardening, hobbies push us to step outside our comfort zones and strive for continuous improvement. This growth mindset carries over to other areas of our lives, fostering resilience and adaptability.

Incorporating meaningful hobbies into our lives not only brings us joy but also adds depth and purpose. So, take the leap and explore new hobbies – you never know what incredible experiences and opportunities may await you.

Assessing Your Current Life Design

Evaluating the effectiveness of your current life design is an essential first step towards creating a more fulfilling and purpose-driven future. Assessing your current satisfaction and identifying areas for improvement allows you to gain clarity and make intentional choices that align with your values and aspirations.

Take a moment to reflect on your life as it is now. Are you truly satisfied with the way things are? Do you wake up each morning feeling excited and inspired? Are you living a life that brings you joy and fulfillment? If not, it's time to make a change.

Start by examining different aspects of your life, such as your career, relationships, health, and personal growth. Ask yourself what is working well and what areas need improvement. Be honest with yourself and don't shy away from acknowledging areas that are causing dissatisfaction.

Once you have identified the areas that need improvement, it's time to take action. Set specific goals and create a plan to work towards them. Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps that you can take daily or weekly. Remember, small consistent actions lead to big results over time.

Don't be afraid to seek support and guidance along the way. Surround yourself with positive and like-minded individuals who can encourage and motivate you. Invest in personal development resources, such as books, courses, or coaching, to help you gain new insights and skills.

Assessing your current life design is not about dwelling on past regrets, but rather about empowering yourself to create a future that excites you. Embrace this opportunity for growth and transformation, and watch as your life unfolds into a true reflection of your dreams and aspirations.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

To create a compelling and purpose-driven future, it is essential to establish clear goals and objectives that align with your values and aspirations. Clear goal setting and effective objective planning are crucial steps in designing a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Here are three key strategies to help you set clear goals and objectives:

  1. Reflect on your values and aspirations: Take the time to understand what truly matters to you. Identify your core values and envision your desired future. What do you want to achieve? What kind of person do you want to become? By aligning your goals and objectives with your values and aspirations, you will have a strong sense of purpose and direction.
  2. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Clearly define what you want to accomplish, break it down into smaller milestones, and set deadlines. This will help you stay focused, track your progress, and celebrate your achievements along the way.
  3. Create an action plan: Break down your goals into actionable steps. Identify the resources and support you need to accomplish each step. Stay committed and disciplined in executing your plan. Remember, success is not achieved overnight, but through consistent effort and perseverance.

Generating Alternative Life Designs

Having established clear goals and objectives that align with your values and aspirations, the next step in designing your life is to explore and generate alternative life designs that can lead you closer to your vision of a meaningful and fulfilling future. This phase of the design process is crucial as it allows you to expand your horizons and consider unconventional paths that may not have initially crossed your mind.

To embark on this journey, you must be willing to embrace change and uncertainty. It is natural to feel apprehensive about stepping outside of your comfort zone, but it is in these moments of discomfort that growth and transformation occur. By exploring alternative life designs, you open yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities that can enrich your life in ways you never imagined.

As you navigate through this process, remember to remain practical and realistic. While it is important to dream big, it is equally important to evaluate the feasibility and practicality of each alternative life design. Consider the potential challenges and obstacles that may arise and develop strategies to overcome them.

Testing and Prototyping Your Ideas

Once you have generated alternative life designs, the next step is to test and prototype your ideas to determine their feasibility and effectiveness in helping you achieve your desired future. Testing and prototyping are crucial steps in the design process as they allow you to refine your ideas and make informed decisions about which paths to pursue.

Here are three key testing techniques and prototype development strategies to consider:

  1. User feedback: Engage with individuals who have experience in the areas you are exploring. Seek their input and insights to gain valuable perspectives that can help you improve your ideas.
  2. Small-scale experiments: Conduct small experiments to test the viability of your ideas. This could involve creating a prototype or conducting a pilot project to gather data and assess potential challenges and opportunities.
  3. Iterative refinement: Continuously refine and iterate your prototypes based on the feedback and data you gather. This allows you to make adjustments and improvements along the way, increasing the chances of success.

Making Effective Decisions and Taking Action

Now that you have tested and refined your ideas, it is time to take decisive action and make effective decisions that will propel you towards your desired future. Effective decision making and taking action are the essential steps that will transform your dreams into reality.

Making effective decisions involves considering all available options, weighing their pros and cons, and aligning them with your goals and values. It requires being proactive and not letting fear or uncertainty hold you back. Remember, every decision is an opportunity for growth and progress. Trust yourself and have faith in your abilities to navigate through the challenges that may arise.

Taking action is the bridge between where you are now and where you want to be. It is about stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the unknown. It may require courage, perseverance, and resilience, but the rewards will far outweigh the initial discomfort.

To ensure you are making effective decisions and taking action, set clear goals and create a plan of action. Break your goals down into smaller, manageable steps, and celebrate each milestone along the way. Surround yourself with a support system of individuals who believe in your vision and can provide guidance and encouragement.

Overcoming Obstacles and Resilience

After making effective decisions and taking decisive action, the next step on your path to designing your life is overcoming obstacles and developing resilience.

Life is full of challenges and adversity, but it is how we respond to these obstacles that truly shapes our character and determines our success.

Here are three essential strategies for overcoming adversity and building resilience:

  • Shift your mindset: Embrace a growth mindset and see obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, reframe them as valuable lessons that will ultimately make you stronger and more resilient.
  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who can help you navigate through tough times. Seek out mentors, friends, and family members who can provide guidance, encouragement, and a fresh perspective when you need it most.
  • Take care of yourself: Self-care is crucial when facing adversity. Prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you recharge. Practice mindfulness and develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and stay resilient in the face of challenges.

Sustaining and Evolving Your Life Design

As we continue our journey of designing our lives, it is important to focus on sustaining and evolving our life design.

This requires us to embrace growth and adaptability, as life is ever-changing and unpredictable.

We must be open to reinventing our path when necessary, and nurturing our life design through continuous learning and self-reflection.

Growth and Adaptability

To sustain and evolve your life design, it is essential to cultivate a mindset of growth and adaptability. Embracing a growth mindset allows you to see challenges as opportunities for learning and personal development. It enables you to continuously improve and expand your skills, knowledge, and experiences.

Similarly, developing an adaptable mindset equips you with the resilience and flexibility to navigate uncertain and changing circumstances. It allows you to embrace new ideas, perspectives, and possibilities, enabling you to thrive in an ever-changing world.

To foster a growth and adaptable mindset, consider the following:

  • Embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth.
  • Cultivate a love for learning and seek out new experiences.
  • Embrace change and be open to new ideas and perspectives.

Reinventing Your Path

To sustain and evolve your life design, it is crucial to actively embrace the process of reinventing your path.

Life is a journey filled with twists and turns, and it is only natural to reassess and redirect our career paths along the way. Reinventing your career is not a sign of failure, but rather an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. It is a chance to align your work with your passions and values, to find purpose and fulfillment.

Take the time to reflect on what truly matters to you, what brings you joy and satisfaction. Explore different industries, acquire new skills, and seek out mentors who can guide you on this new path.

Embrace the unknown with courage and curiosity, for it is in reinvention that we often find our true calling.

Nurturing Life Design

Nurturing your life design requires a proactive and intentional approach that fosters growth and adaptability. To sustain and evolve your life design, consider the following:

  • Cultivate a mindset of curiosity and lifelong learning. Embrace new experiences and seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth. This will nurture your creativity and keep your mind open to new possibilities.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive community. Connect with like-minded individuals who share your passions and values. These relationships can provide encouragement, inspiration, and valuable feedback as you pursue your life design.
  • Prioritize self-care and well-being. Take time to nourish your body, mind, and soul. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and practice self-compassion. Fostering happiness within yourself will fuel your ability to design a fulfilling life.


In conclusion, 'Designing Your Life' by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans offers a practical and inspirational guide to designing a fulfilling life.

By adopting a design mindset and identifying our values, passions, and goals, we can create a life that aligns with our true selves.

Through testing and prototyping our ideas, making effective decisions, and overcoming obstacles, we can build resilience and sustain our life design.

With this book as a roadmap, we have the power to shape our lives into something truly extraordinary.


  • Laura Hayden is a respected personal development author at With a Master's degree in Psychology from Stanford University and extensive experience as a personal development coach, her writings strike a powerful balance between academic insights and practical guidance. Laura's captivating articles and online courses are designed to foster self-awareness and inspire transformation, helping individuals unlock their full potential. Beyond her written work, she's also an engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, widely appreciated for her dynamic and relatable style.

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