Design Your Life with Discovery & Exploration (Part 4)

This semester join me as I kick-off the start to a new reflective blog series hosted by the Discovery & Exploration Career Community centering the #1 New York Times Best Selling novel “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.  

In partnership with the Duke University Career Center and “Design Your Duke Journey”, a Sophomore specific half-credit course offered this fall, I’ll highlight a few of the novel’s eye-opening insights regarding career and life design. I promise to not spoil what I’m sure will be an amazing read!  

Continue below to learn more: 

Choosing Happiness 

“Maybe you’ll end up happy and getting what you want, and maybe you won’t. We say “maybe” because being happy and getting what you want are not about future risks and unknowns or whether you picked the right alternatives; it’s about how you choose and how you live your choices once they’re made…Adopting a good, healthy, smart life design choosing process is critical to a happy outcome.” – Ch.9 , Pg. 158, Para. 1 

The four step choosing process of life design prompts users to try the following: 

Step #1) Gather and Create – use the “option-generating tools” shared in the novel such as Workview and Lifeview, mind mapping, and/or the three Odessey Plan alternatives (amongst many others) to identify actionable alternatives. 

Step #2) Narrow Down – take your list of ideas/prototyped experiences/alternatives and begin crossing items off until you have five “strategically worthwhile options with no distinctive differences”. More detail on how to accomplish this step is shared in the book! 

Step #3) Choose – the key here is discernment and knowing the roles that various forms of decision-making (cognitive, intuitive, spiritual, and emotional ) play in making a well-informed choice. More detail on how to accomplish this step using the technique of “grokking” is shared in the book! 

Step #4) Let Go and Move On – the final task is as straightforward as the title for this step. Here’s some encouragement from the authors: 

We revel in exploring a few possibilities, then taking action by starting with a choice. Only by taking action can we build our way forward. So let’s get better and better at building by getting better and better at letting go of the options we don’t need any longer. (And now you have the confidence to know that you can always get more options in the future, just the way you got these.) This is key to choosing happiness and being happy with our choices.”  – Ch.9 , Pg. 173, Para. 2 

For more information feel free to reference the Professional Goal Setting Guide and Career Development Process for additional reflective questions, activities, assessments and resources or schedule an appointment to speak with a Career Advisor.  

To learn more about the authors and to support their work start here

By Kai Kelley Jr. (he/him)
Kai Kelley Jr. (he/him) Assistant Director, Entertainment, Media & Arts Career Community