Class Introduction: Designing Your Life
So welcome to Designing Your Life, and probably if you're like almost everybody we've worked with before, the first thing on your mind are a couple of questions. I know you might be wondering like "Is this course really for me?" "Am I in the right room?" and "Should I stay online?" Okay, we've got some answers to those questions. Well, if you sound like this. If you sound like anybody saying something like "Hey, you know, I'm in transition" "I could use some tools" you know, "I'm starting to wonder maybe it's time for a change". Hey, you know, "Life's good, but I'd like it to be a little better" "I'm not quite sure how to do that" and, you know, "I'd just like to make a move," "but I don't know how to start". If that sounds like you, you're in the right place. What situation are you in? Hey, if you look like any of these people. If you're like recently out of college, you're just getting started, you're early in your career, not sure what the next move's gonna be, you're right in the m...
iddle and like "How did I get here?". You know, you're thinking about your "encore" life. What's that thing I do next? If you're any one of those people, come on down, you're in the right room. What's it mean if you're anybody who would like to answer the question, "How do I build a life that really works for me?". You're in the right room. Okay, now, Dave really? Does it really fit that broadly for everybody? Is that really fair? Is that really true? Yes, 'cause you're all answering the same question. What will I do with the rest of my one wild and precious life? As the poetess Mary Oliver said. You know, we were in New York recently and had a conference front and center was a young woman from the class of 1953, 87 years old with her notepad out ready to go. And she just says "I have so many ideas, I don't know where to start". Everybody thinks the rest of their life's pretty important to them, you probably think that's true, too. So that's why this thing applies to everybody. We all have the same problem, whether we're in the same situation or not, we've got the same tools to deal with the same issues. So what is it we do need? Well wait, what do we not need? What do we not need? We don't need one more inspirational talk. You know, we don't need another diagnostic tool to tell you what's wrong with you. And you probably don't need another over-simplified formula, one, two, three and all will be well. Why? Because life's not necessarily that simple. And often when you do those things, you end up back where you started. You know, these are all good things. Inspiration is great. Diagnostics are great. Formulae, when they work, are great. But, all by themselves, they're not enough because you need some things that you can use based on the expertise you have in being you. So, we give you tools and ideas, that's it. We got a pile of ideas and a pile of tools by the time you go home today. And what that allows you to do, by organizing them in a framework, you know where to go grab the spoons, where to grab the forks, you just know where they are. Grab the right tool in order to make the next step you need to do in life and career way-finding. We're all making this up as we go along. That's what way-finding means. We just want to get good at it. Nobody knows the right answer. But you can get really good at making it up as you go along. And these are the tools designed to do just that. Now, that is a big challenge, and it turns out there's a problem. What's the problem, Bill?
Well, Dave, people have a lot of what we call dysfunctional beliefs. Anybody gets, anybody stuck? (laughter) Any of the audience stuck on something? I think we get stuck, I get stuck all the time. Designers chose to work on things they've never done before. Every day we have a new problem, so we get stuck. But these dysfunctional beliefs are ways in which sort of the society or the big meta narrative have taught us something, and it just isn't true. And it's not useful. One of the big ones that we're not fond of is the question "What's your passion?". How many people have been asked "What's your passion?" in the last--
Ooh, what's your passion?
In the last week? (laughter) Here's the deal. We come from Stanford, and we like evidence based stuff. We can't just make things up. You know, we're a research university, so you gotta have some data. The data on this from our colleagues over at the Center for the Study of Adolescence are that only about 20 percent of people surveyed have one identifiable passion or thing that organizes their lives. Most people when we talk to them say "I got five things I'm excited about" or "I don't have one thing that's driving me". And also it's true that the research shows that passion's kind of an end product. It's the thing you end up discovering by working hard on something. And then you discover hey, this is really my thing. So this is, as a starting point. If you have a passion, that's fantastic. If you always knew you wanted to be a doctor since you were two and now you're a surgeon, fantastic. You can still redesign your life and make it be a better surgeon. But this passion thing, leaves eight out of ten people out of the conversation. And that's a bad place to start. Another dysfunctional belief, and this is one that's pretty, pretty common in our society is you know, you should know what you're doing by now. And if you don't know what you're doing by now, you're late. And I don't know what the "by now" is. In my generation, I'm 59, it was sort of by 25, you better have it, you know, maybe have a relationship. Maybe get married. Maybe have, you know, started your career. My students, my millennial students are like, "Oh, 30." 30, that's the time because 30 seems so far from where they are. But there was a, there's a voice in your head that said that by some time, if you didn't have it "figured out", life figured out, a relationship, a career, you know, the meaning of your life, if it wasn't figured out by that time you were now late. Well that's a ridiculous belief because we know from some of the really long, long longitudinal studies of people that most people don't actually even fully form their adult self until their mid thirties. Sometimes until their forties. And that you get to reinvent that self over and over again. There's not just one version of you, anyway. So this notion that you're late, which puts this whole set of guilt, like what did I do wrong? It's completely dysfunctional. So we wanna blow up both of those myths, the passion myth and the "you're late" myth. 'Cause life is not a problem to be solved. You can't solve your life. Life's an adventure. We want to reframe this. Our big reframe here is gonna be that it's an adventure. And don't get stuck trying to solve it. Let's design some things that help you move forward. Design your life rather than trying to solve this problem that you don't even have.