Design the Life You’d Like to Live
I've come to believe that the most important work of art you can create is the life that you live, and the people that you connect with, care for along the way. So how do we kinda generate the power in order to be able to create a life that maybe is a work of art? Well here I wanna turn to Baron Baptiste. Here's what he writes, "The greatest source of natural power we have available to us is being ourselves." When we are truly authentic, when we are truly who we are, we can tap into something that we couldn't have any other way, and when it comes to creating a life that is more like art and less like busyness, and stress, part of that means that we have to ask ourselves well who are we really, and what do we actually want? I like how the designer Ishay Purcell frames this. She says that you have to design the life that you love, and she's a designer of products, like things like couches, tables, and other things, and designers really have this mindful approach to the way that they craf...
t and create. It's thoughtful, it's intentional, and one of the reasons why I think that design concept is so helpful is this. In my journal I wrote, you know, "Unless we design the life that we love, someone else will, and that life will defined by busyness, reacting to the needs of others as they surface, rather than the more significant reasons of why you are here." And it's true isn't it. If we don't take the time to craft our own schedule, someone else will; it'll get filled right up. If we don't decide what we wanna do, who we wanna be, often we just get lost and afraid, and get caught up in the shuffle of things. So taking some time to really think about how we design life is a helpful thing to do. And this could mean different things. It doesn't always mean we need to be artsy, we need to be a designer. Perhaps it's even a bit more practical like with my friend Neil. Now Neil was this really creative, wild and crazy kid, and I grew up with him, and in high school he was always telling us that he was gonna retire by the age of 40, and we said yeah right Neil. Well then fast forward, I think now he's 42, and he has retired. He was employee number one at GoPro and the early days of GoPro, he lived in a garage, and they would drive around selling these cameras, and everyone still thought they were crazy like I can't believe you guys are doing this thing. Well eventually of course it caught on and right now it's the best selling camera in the world. And so sometimes it just means like having an idea like hey, this is something that I wanna do and here's, I'm gonna have that in mind and try to craft it in that way. Other times it's a bit more intentional about how we actually use our time. So there are a couple of exercises I think that we can do. One of them is to ask yourself well, what does your ideal day look like? Maybe it means you wake up and you have some breakfast, you get your kids off to school - this is at least for me - and then I go to this cabin that I built where I work, and I go there, and I'm right under these Redwood trees, and this cabin which has cedarwood on the outside and a tin roof, wood floors, and lots of windows in all the walls, and I write down ideas, and I work, and I work on my images, and do other things, and then at some point in the day I get to exercise; maybe go for a surf, or a bike ride. And all of those things they don't happen on accident, they've taken a long time to get there. I wanted to build a cabin for a decade and finally I was able to pull it off, but again it was about having that idea and then moving closer to it mentally, and then actually practically, one little step at a time. And I think there's ways that could design your own life so that it would look more, it would look closer to who you are and who you wanna be right? So, do that exercise. Take a few minutes to say hey, what would my ideal day look like? You can be exaggerative, that's okay. Like for me saying I wanted to work in a cabin? You know if I were to tell that to my friends they would say yeah right Chris, you wanna work in a cabin in Santa Barbara in California, right. But eventually right, I pulled it off, and I think you can too. The other thing to think about is to ask yourself well what's filling your head? If we don't craft what's coming in, sometimes we just let this affect us without really knowing how it's pushing us in different directions. So in other words, who are you following on Facebook and Instagram? Maybe you're following too many people. Maybe you're following so much, so many people on Instagram and these different things that you're seeing all this other stuff, that it makes you feel like you don't have enough of that in your own life. Maybe you need to follow only three people or five because if we have too much of that coming in, it's sort of pushes our own ideas to the side. And maybe, you maybe need to follow no one for a week or two, and just come up with your own unique, and original ideas. Other ways to think about this of course are like magazines. You know if you have magazines that are coming, you're flipping through those, getting ideas from them, sometimes it's nice to cancel the subscription, and just having nothing to look at or just maybe have one. So again think about that in regards to the input that's coming in. Another great way to regain some control of the design of your life is to take a digital sabbath. People are talking about this all over the place. It's very common to hear people who work in different digital spaces, like me I do photography so I'm on a computer a lot to say hey you know what, at least one day a week, I gotta get off the machine. And what I find that that does for me is rather than searching, and working, and all those things, I say hey, who am I? What do I actually wanna do? What do I wanna create? It's a great way to try to do that. Last but not least is just to come up with a few goals or steps that you might take to improve the design of your life. You know the things that designers have taught me is that often great design work say like furniture, comes by way of iteration. You come up with one idea, you iterate it, you tweak it, you refine it, and it gets better each step of the way. So in your life, come up with a few ways that you might iterate or modify the design of your day, of your week, of your month, so that you can craft something which is closer to the authentic you, rather than what everybody else says.