Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

8. Designing Your Dream Job

  • Only 20% of jobs are posted anywhere! This means that most of the job market and almost all of the best jobs are hidden. Here is a story of one man who conducted 56 life design interviews discussed in chapter 6. By doing do he received seven job offers. He didn’t ask for any jobs. He merely asked for people’s life stories. Sometimes he was offered a job without asking. When he did ask, he framed the questions like this: I wonder what steps would be involved in exploring how someone might become part of this organization? Don’t say do you have any openings. That’s a yes/no question whereas the previous questions is open ended.
  • In order to find people to interview, you need to ask directions. Reach out to people you know and people you don’t know and ask. The internet can help here and the authors recommend you try LinkedIn to find the type of people you are looking for. Dream jobs may not exist, but good enough jobs do.

9. Choosing Happiness

  • The secret to happiness in life is learning to choose well. Keep in mind there is no right choice, only good choosing. The recommended choosing process has four steps. Start by gathering options. Next is narrowing your choices to the top alternatives. Then you choose and finally you move on without agonizing over the choice you made. As you do this, make use of the tools you created in the previous chapters. (Workview, Lifeview, Odyssey Plan, and Prototype Conversations)
  • The authors recommend you narrow your options to five or less. During your effort, be sure to use intuitive and emotional thinking along with your cognitive efforts. Also add social knowing and kinesthetic knowing as well. You need to understand your options deeply. To do this you think for a few days that you are the person who made each one of your decisions. For three options considered deeply for three days each, you will need to set aside nine days. As for letting go, don’t get caught with your eyes fixated on the rearview mirror of decision regret. This can be hard to do so focus on enjoying your choice fully. Don’t dream about what could have been and don’t waste your future for hoping for a better past.

10. Failure Immunity

  • The key point here is that if you are designing your life, you can’t be a failure. Once you understand this you will have the kind of failure immunity the authors describe here. Recall that the failures you encounter and expect happen during the prototyping process which features low exposure. Life is a process, not an outcome. The authors point out that there are finite games like chess or a spelling bee and infinite open-ended games like life design. By reframing failures, you transform setbacks and head toward a happier life. Failure is just the raw material of success.
  • There are three types of failures. 1) Screw Ups are simple mistakes about things your normally get right. 2) Weaknesses are mistakes you make over and over again. Your best bet here is to try to avoid these situations. 3) Growth Opportunities are mistakes that don’t have to happen again. They are identifiable and fixable. These are the failures where we should direct our attention as there is low return spending time on types 1 and 2. To help with this the authors suggest you keep a failure log. This log contains a list of failures and notes which kind it is. For those of type 3 there is a column labeled insight where you indicate what you learned and might try next time.
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