Gathering Minds - Designing Your Life

For our Gathering Minds Meeting this past month the MMX team and friends read Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. 

About the book:
Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home - at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create lives that are both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of whom or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.


Overall we really enjoyed this book but almost all of us that read it wished we had more time to go through the exercises as it would have been more impactful. Our top takeaways from the book were:

  • Interview people that are where you want to be in life. For example, if you are looking for a new career, rather than applying to a bunch of different job postings instead you could schedule interviews with people that currently work in careers you are interested in. This will allow you to develop a relationship with them and, more importantly, allow you to see what the day to day life of that career is really like. 
  • They say every human has the ability to live 8 really great lives, but we all have to choose just 1. In other words, there is not only 1 path meant for each of us, we could be doing many different things that would bring us joy. An exercise they recommend is to design 3 life paths for yourself. This way, you can clearly see that you would be happy doing many different things, and if life throws you a curve ball and knocks you off one path, you'll be okay as you already know there are other paths out there for you. 
  • Gravity problems... these are problems that we can't change no matter what. Have an issue with gravity? Too bad. In life, we often find fault with things that we have no control over and we spend countless hours trying to solve un-solvable problems. Let gravity problems go and reclaim that lost time. 
  • High & low lists - the authors suggest keeping a daily journal of your highs and lows for the day. After a few weeks you will be able to spot patterns in your life of what brings you joy (the highs) and what brings you pain (the lows). Armed with this, you can create a life with more opportunity for highs. 

We recommend you head to the Design Your Life website and check out their resources for more information on this book. 

On a scale of 1-10 where 1 equals a book with little value one would not wish to read again, and 10 equals a fantastic book with the ability to grow an individual personally, professionally or both, we rated this book 7.8

Are you interested in personal and professional development and the chance to continually grow? We invite you to join our Gathering Minds Meetings! Check out some of our past reads below:

If you would like to join us in June please email for more details. 

Tags: Gathering Minds Meeting

by Kelly Heesterman