Ever feel like there should be more to life? Like you’re only scratching the surface? Like life is just happening to you and you don’t have much control over it? The reality is that you have more control over your life than you think to – that is, if you choose to have control.
Living life by design vs by default
The definition of by default is through lack of positive action rather than conscious choice. This is the opposite of by design. Living life by design means that you design the life you want to live. Living by design means living a life worth living.
To live life by design is to live life proactively, to create your own fate. To live by default is to live life reactively, to call it fate.
When you live life by design you accept responsibility, you become accountable. When you live by default you shovel blame.
To live by design means to set your own course, to think ahead of time, to live life intentionally. To live by default means to fall victim of our circumstances, being short-sighted, to let life happen.
Living by design means taking control. Living by default makes us feel powerless.
What do you choose – being in control, or feeling powerless?
Design your life with the end in mind
It all starts with vision. Without vision you’re like a lost ship in open sea drifting with the wind and currents, getting caught in the storms.
Your dream life, your perfect life design starts with vision. You need a vision for all meaningful areas of your life. In order to take the right path you first need a destination to get to. When you have no destination any path will do, but spoiler alert, you might not like where you end up!
This vision can come in many forms – you can create a vision board, set goals, come up with a mantra, have intentions or resolutions … You can call it your why or you can call it you purpose. You can also refer to it as your goal, aim or project, whatever works for you.
The semantics don’t matter. What matters is that you figure out what you want.
Be a doer
Alright, so we know what we want. Now what?
Close your eyes, cross your fingers and hope for the best? Hell no!
Now it’s time to get off your ass and start doing.
In order to design the life of your dreams you need to take action and become a doer. No matter how clear your vision is, how good your plan is and how much you want it, you ain’t gonna manifest shit unless you take action.
The dreaming and planning is the fun part and it’s certainly important, but nothing will ever happen if you don’t take action. And this is the hard part. It get’s us out of our comfort zone (or at least off the comfy couch). Living an intentional life, a life of our own design requires real effort and real commitment.
Now that we understand that we need to do the hard work, let’s move on to the worst part of life design. Usually all this doing doesn’t even pay off instantly. And we all love instant gratification, don’t we?
Living life by design is not a one of decision or a one of action. It takes time, effort and dedication. If you want to design a life you love you need to be consistent.
It often gets worse before it gets better. It’s a series of decisions, steps and actions, and it often takes several revisions. It’s a long and hard process to get anywhere close to our desired lifestyle design.
But it is worth it!
Watch your thoughts
Things, events and people have no inherit meaning except fro the one we assign to them. Often we surrender power without realizing it just by assigning a meaning that doesn’t serve us.
You can see failure as a catastrophic event and as reason to quit or as a lesson and opportunity for growth. You can define yourself as a looser or as someone who never gives up and always finds a way.
You can get offended and waste precious energy on holding a grudge because someone doesn’t call you back or you can just acknowledge that they’re probably busy or overwhelmed. You can spiral down into nobody-likes-me-land or you can rise above it.
Keep clear boundaries
Choo-choo, the no train is here. And you’d better hop on!
Time, energy, patience, focus … these are all very valuable but also very limited resources that we need to protect by learning to say no – to ourselves and to others.
The best way to say no is to set clear expectations and by keeping clear boundaries. When you consistently say no to something it creates a boundary you and others learn to respect.
When you consistently say no to sweets, people around you (and you) learn that you don’t eat sweets and soon they stop tempting you with desert and you stop buying cookies when you do groceries.
When you make your work hours clear and don’t answer phone calls or emails outside those hours, your clients learn to respect that and you get to enjoy your time off.
Design your own life
Living life by design is not easy. It means saying no to the good in order to achieve the great. It means doing the hard work. It means making thought choices.
Life design is not for everyone and some might prefer to go with the flow. But beware, when you’re not proactively working on your own dreams, others will make sure that you reactively work on building their dreams.
And then we wake up one morning and wonder “how did I get here?”
It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and design your own life. Time will pass wether you’re living intentionally or by default. In five years time you will be five years older wether you work on your dreams or not.