Design Thinking, a wildly popular methodology in product and service design, is an amazing source to life hack from.
Just think about this. In the world of design, uncertainty and the need for rapid change and constant adaption are key for innovation and creative competition.
Give a designer the challenge to find a solution that doesn’t exist yet and you get an excited smile and sparkling eyes in return. Yes, designers thrive with challenges, so why shouldn’t we?
With these 5 life hacks you can attune yourselves to a designer’s mindset and behavior.
#1 Nurture your curiosity – great ideas come from where you least expect them
Designers never lose their curiosity and their childlike approach to experience and question the world around them.
They’re masters in non-judgmental observation. “Impossible” simply is not an option.
They gather inspiration from all areas of life and connect fields of expertise in novel ways:
Mimic nature and introduce it into architecture! Why not?
Nurture this curiosity within you, I know you have it, and start by curiously observing your life.
Remember how much fun it’s been to explore the world by asking “why” questions and being truly open-minded, non-judgmental and curious about the answers.
Prime yourself for receiving inspiration by stopping to chase answers before you have thoroughly explored the questions.
#2 Grow the connection with yourself – you are the pivot point of your life solutions
Designers don’t start a design process with a solution in mind.
Because they know that this is the surest way to deprive themselves of great ideas, tailor-made solutions and inspiration.
Designers always start with the status quo and allow a solution to develop and grow organically.
What’s my real challenge or shortcoming? What brought me here? What’s currently missing in my life? What’s already working well? What’s conflicting and in which areas of my life?
These are the questions that initiate a really good Life Design process.
Grow your self-awareness and the connection with yourself.
Start a daily self-conversation about your needs, your values, your aspirations and what’s currently missing.
Pace yourself. Don’t jump to conclusions or solutions. Make this starting point a worthwhile “state of being”.
The more you can indulge in this re-connection process the more insights and answers you’ll receive that are crucial building blocks to design your way forward.
#3 Challenge your perspective – there’s always more than one angle
Feeling stuck is often an indicator that you’re working on the wrong life or career question.
Once you train yourself to look at your current challenge from different angles you’ll experience how a simple reframe can suddenly spark inspiration and ideas.
When I was stuck in the midst of a major career shift I was struggling with the question “How can I translate my 10-years work expertise to a new professional area?”.
The problem with this question was that deep down I didn’t want to translate anything I’d done before.
I wanted a complete new start.
The minute I zoomed out and looked at my current challenge from a different angle the questions “Where do I feel in ‘flow’?” and “How can I use my unique set of strengths?” popped up in my mind.
And immediately ideas how I could explore these questions more deeply started to flow and I began to move again.
#4 Collaborate with others – don’t do a “Robinson Crusoe” when life gets tough
When life gets tough or we feel stuck our default mechanism is very often to pull back from life and from others and purchase a ticket to “Robinson Crusoe” island.
Don’t get me wrong, taking time for yourself to assess what’s happening, to go “introspective” is a really important step in Life Designing.
But there’s a fine line between healthy self-reflective “you-time” and going into isolation and cutting off your connections to people and the world around you.
So make sure you stay on the right side of this line.
Designers are not afraid to share their challenge with others.
And they’re not afraid to ask for help or input because they know the best ideas are often co-designs.
And you shouldn’t either.
Share your challenge and co-design. You’ll be surprised how many people around you share the same design challenge and are grateful for this opportunity to help each other out with inspiration, ideas and motivation.
#5 Stop thinking, start acting – clarity only comes from real life experience
Solutions aren’t created in your head.
They maybe start out there, as ideas, insights and inspirations, but that’s only the starting point.
Clarity about how to move forward and how to get un-stuck only comes from experiential feedback.
From taking real life action and from evaluating the re-action, your emotional re-action and the world’s re-action to what you put out there.
Until you expose yourself or your ideas to real life, you’re subjected to your mind’s volatile “feedback”.
One day your idea seems to be the best in the world, the next day it seems to be the most ridiculous of them all. Your mind won’t provide you with certainty.
But a real life experience will do.
Either you have a positive re-action to an experience or you don’t.
That’s why designers love prototyping. They love to put their ideas out there as fast as possible and use the feedback as clear indicators for how to continue the design process.
So if you want to gain clarity fast, stop thinking and start experiencing.
These insights are priceless. And the best indicators for how to move forward in your Life Design.