Is your life simply happening while you watch? It can feel that way sometimes. You wake up in the morning and it’s the middle of February. How did you get here? Seriously, it feels like it is still early January. You go through the motions, one foot after the other, one day following another, one week rolls into the next. Ayse Birsel wants to help you design a life you love.
A step by step guide to building a meaningful future
As a design artist her specialty is taking an idea, breaking it down into its component parts, and figuring out a new way of putting it all back together. She applied it to her own life and is now sharing her method with you through this book.
This is an approach to life based on the principles of design.
- Deconstruction – Taking the whole apart
- Point of view – Seeing it differently
- Reconstruction – Putting it back together
- Expression – Giving it form
Testing the Design
Just before my daughter was born my wife and I decided to take a short drive. We would put our two sons, (ages 9 & 6) and the new car seat, in the back seat of our current car. The car was a smaller economy car and I figured there was enough room for everyone, barely. Within 15 minutes the car seat was being pushed back and forth between our two sons. It didn’t look like adding a baby would help things settle down either.
We changed our destination to the local Toyota car dealership. At the lot we looked for a car that could comfortably seat 5. The solution was a Corolla wagon. It had lots of room and they offered a fairly good trade in on our old car. I didn’t even know that Corolla had a wagon model.
This wasn’t quite the deconstruction of the problem but a testing of the reconstruction phase. We very happily used the wagon for almost a decade. However, I learned one other thing from this experience. I had not “seen” a Corolla wagon before we bought our car. I thought there weren’t very many out there. Once we were driving the wagon we saw them all over the place. Our perspective was changed and what we saw was more Corolla wagons.
This design process does the same thing with your life. When you focus on different aspects of your life new things are perceived and become important. By applying the design process you identify key areas of your life. Then for each area you decide how important that is just for you. Each person’s process and result will be different.
The Design Process
It is going through the process that gives you the benefit. She actually recommends repeating the process on a regular basis. In this way you can see if you are spending time on the things that are important to you or just wasting away your time. In this way you put what you want in your life and design the life you want to have.
The design process itself is a bit nebulous. That is, write down everything that is important in your life. It could be a long list and you can easily miss something of value that just isn’t on your radar right now. It could be something as simple as playing the piano more often. So if on the subsequent steps you realize you missed anything then go back and add it in. There are no right or wrong answers, nor any right or wrong ways of doing the process.
This is also a hands on workbook for you to use. You write and doodle on the pages as you both deconstruct and reconstruct your life. The pages are thick and there is lots of room to use.
The book helps you to examine and evaluate your own life. You keep what is good, strengthen that which is weak, and discard that which you don’t want. It is like noticing the Corolla Wagons, when you start looking then you see what you need to do.
As an analytical person I found the approach a little unnerving. For those who like creativity, brainstorming, and flexibility, this is a great approach. Other approaches to evaluating your life would be appropriate to people with different characteristics.
Part of my struggle was with the presentation of the material. I found it difficult to read black writing on a red background. The fonts selected for the text were awkward for me to read.
I would give the book a four out of five rating. As this is the introduction to her method of discovering a new life, I would have felt more comfortable with a gentler introduction and a slightly different presentation. Not everyone will enjoy the artistic style of the material.
The idea and process is a good one. We need to evaluate our lives and make choices to direct where we are going. This book is one way of going about this process. Design the Life You Love – Ayse Birsel.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.