“The great paradox of our time is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time. While running from one event to the next, we wonder in our innermost selves if anything is really happening.”
– Henri Nouwen
Nouwen’s observation is abundantly true to many of us. How many times do you tell people you’re busy? I can recall many conversations with friends and business associates where we competitively compared the “busyness” in our respective lives as if busyness was a virtue! But busy doing what? Are we working towards a life that is full of activities or a life that is full of meaning and value? We can control which direction we choose.
Many companies are using an innovative methodology called design thinking to tackle their most significant and most complex business projects. What’s your most complex project? You can learn to apply human-centered design thinking to your life. You can build a life filled with purpose, meaning, and joy.
Societal malaise is becoming an epidemic
Over many decades, we have been raised to believe that we must meet certain societal expectations. We leave secondary school and go off to work or pursue a college or university education. We settle into a career, get married, buy a house, have kids, purchase insurance, upgrade the house, progress in our careers, and, if we’re successful, retire with a sizeable balance in our retirement account.
But as busy as we are, why are so many of us disengaged from life, physically ill, or depressed? Gallup research suggests that 70% of North American workers are not engaged in the workplace, translating into $450 billion in lost productivity. Meanwhile, in Canada alone, 23% of citizens over the age of 15 report that most days are “quite a bit” or “extremely stressful,” and approximately $51 billion is spent annually in Canada addressing depression and anxiety. The World Health Organization has even declared mental health a global epidemic, estimating that around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.
I think a primary reason so many are disengaged or unwell is many of us hold dysfunctional beliefs that are deeply rooted in our societal norms. These dysfunctional beliefs are untrue, yet these false beliefs constrain and at times paralyze us from advancing our interests, from being healthy and happy, and from becoming our unique remarkable selves.
And as forces such as globalization, emerging technologies, and improved medical science are changing the very fabric of our society, many of the societal expectations of the industrial era are unfair and unrealistic in the digital age such as:
- Life is a game
- Life is a journey
- Your passion is your guide
- You can’t be late
- You must be your best you
- Failure is bad
- You can’t balance the work/life dichotomy
The sooner our society realizes that many of our deeply rooted beliefs about life are dysfunctional and no longer apply, the sooner our institutions can become more flexible. In addition, the better-positioned individuals will be to move forward and build lives of engagement of well-being.
Build your life forward
Life design requires a particular mindset, skills, practices, tools, and keen self-awareness. It is a technique that can be learned and applied. Living a life of personal meaning and value is possible. Take accountability for your life and live life on your terms. Push aside busyness and boredom. Learn how to apply design thinking to what’s most important to you (your life!). Be happy and be well.
Explore why many of our deep-rooted beliefs are dysfunctional and learn how to apply the five-step life design-thinking framework for building a life of meaning and value. Register today for SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference and make time to join me for the life-changing session “Design Thinking for What’s Most Important to You (Your Life!)”