• laurieeldridge

Designing Your Life: Week 3

This week was all about wayfinding – figuring out which direction we want to go, by looking for clues in what engages us and what brings us energy.

We started off by discussing the advice wed had from others about what direction to take in life – the answers to that key question – “what should I do?” We shared or stories of the advice we’d received from friends and family, and from more supposedly trustworthy sources, such as psychometric tests. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t always very helpful!

Instead, the authors recommend keeping what they call a “good time journal” –a diary where we note down the activities that we’ve done in the week, and for each one trying to define:

  • Our engagement: how excited, focussed and in the moment we were

  • How energised it made us feel (although we might be really engaged in something, we could still feel drained afterwards)

  • Whether we entered a state of flow: so totally involved in the activity that we are completely engaged and can lose track of time. “Engagement on steroids”, say the authors.

The aim is to catch ourselves in the act of having a good time.

We’d had a go at journaling over the previous week, so we then delved deeper together: what specifically was it about these activities that was engaging, energising and flow-creating?

For this we used the AEIOU method:

  • Activities: What were you actually doing? Was this structured or unstructured? Did you have a specific role, or were you a participant?

  • Environments: The physical environment – what is it and how did it make you feel? We thought a bit more broadly about this, as being in lockdown, the places we could be were limited! Nature and the outdoors came up for many of us as being an environment where we felt particularly good, as well as places which we had missed, such as the theatre.

  • Interactions: Who or what were you interacting with? What was the nature of this interaction (familiar, unfamiliar, formal, informal etc.?)

  • Objects: Were there any particular things that we had been interacting with

  • Users: who else was there, and what role did they play in making it a positive or a negative experience?

The authors recommend that you carry out the journal for at least three weeks, building up a bank of evidence that you can really dig into. You can also look into your past to identify times when you really felt that things were going well – but beware, they say, of revisionist history.

The outcome of this exercise is a record that provides real evidence about the kinds of things that will be included in a fulfilling and satisfying role and indeed future life.

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