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Newsletter: Design Thinking your Life

(Volume 1, Issue 27)

Quote of the week

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

– Epictetus


Three recent articles

1. A list of Free online courses from top universities. Learn introductory subjects like computer programming, philosophy, biology, literature, physics. Democratization of education and information is the internet's biggest benefit to growth.

2. Ryan Holiday's writing on ancient Stoic philosophers shows how the oldest ideas that have survived the test of time hold answers to modern situations. For example: Which is more important to a positive outcome - perception or action? Leaning on writings from Epectitus, Aurelius, Seneca, Holiday summarizes:

  • "Positive thinking won’t magically give you more. It won’t magically make you famous or sell your house for 10% above asking. It won’t prevent pain or tragedy either. But it will help you appreciate your life. It will help you endure adversity that others can’t handle. It will put you in the right mindset to act."

  • "The discipline of perception is worthless on its own. What matters is what follows—the discipline of action."

3. Warren Buffett once said he aims to read 500 pages a day. Why? To compound knowledge and be more productive. Inspired by Harold Bloom, Shane Parrish summarizes other reasons to read: self-knowledge, alleviate loneliness, confidence in conquering challenges, discovering messages between the lines.


Topic of the week: Design Thinking your Life

Design thinking is an innovation methodology. The foundational process is re-frame problems, ideate creatively (i.e., brainstorm), filter and prototype (i.e., small experimentation). Rinse and repeat.

It works on products and services. It also works on life design.

When it comes to life design, conventional wisdom is to (a) follow your passion, (b) get on a timeline, (c) be the best. These ideas are antithetical to design thinking. In designing life choices, instead start by choosing the right problems with "coherence". The right problems can realistically be addressed (i.e., being short cannot be realistically addressed). Coherence is being connected with what you believe, what you do and who you are.

Then, with an open mind follow the foundational process: Ideate, Filter, Prototype. Bill Burnett, Executive Director of Stanford's design school, explains in the TEDx talk below:

Key insight, once you choose a design, move on. But, "pay attention to what you're doing and keep your peripheral vision open to "get lucky"." Serendipity tends to happen in design thinking.

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(Volume 2, Issue 3) Challenging one's own commonly held ideas is uncomfortable work. But the fruit of the work is new insight and growth.


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