Teach Design, Not Dogma and Cream Rises to the Top


We are naturally curious and creative individuals - however past traditions pressure us to lead reactive lives. Dogmatic thinking is still informing our children, as well as us, about how to live our lives in conformity rather than how to become proactive, accountable and responsible citizens. This may be good for maintaining the status quo in a bureaucracy based society, however, will it make us loving, courageous and accomplished? Perhaps if we each designed our lives to fit our unique personality, using Design Thinking, we would chose to collaborate rather than compete to co-create a better space for our tomorrows.

There are wide range of recommendations worth reading for creating one's own life, such as, Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill), How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie) and my personal favorite, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (Steven Covey). Steven offers seven steps:

1) Be Proactive
2) Begin with the End in Mind
3) Put First Things First
4) Think Win-Win
5) Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
6) Synergize
7) Sharpen the Saw

This is great advice on establishing values, beliefs and a vision/mission for anyone, however it does not offer a step-by-step process for what to do to create a strategy and everyday tactics. A good process to apply in creating these may be Design Thinking, which has been used for developing everything from the computer mouse to automobiles. The five steps are:

Of course, life is not a straight line from cradle to grave, so one can expect innumerable small and large iterations along the way.

User centered means engaging with the people one wishes to serve, based on one's values, beliefs and vision/mission, thus creating value in one's life and being handsomely compensated for one's gifts. The more familiar one is with these, the better the opportunity for identifying and working on one's dream.

Direction setting for one's life's venture is all about defining: Why, what, when, and how. This will provide a list of requirements for one's life venture that can be revisited whenever in doubt about what is really important.

Design is defining the specifics of each element and defining how these interact within the venture.

Development helps one to venture into the real world and receive feedback. One will most likely fail the first time, as most do, so be prepared to go back and do iterations.

An After Action Review is a good way of learning from the first project, for the next one as to what went well, and what did not, what was learned and how best to improve.

Helmuth von Moltke, chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, said, "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" and US General and President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower said: "Plans are useless but planning is indispensable." Plans and processes are still some of the best known ways for designing and implementing one's dreams and of reminding one's self of what to do when life throws those inevitable curve balls.

testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks.