Two and a half years ago, I was invited to share my story, Life by Design, at Brown University's Creative Mind Lecture series. Since then, it's taken on a life of its own with my mentees who now use it as a noun. They've asked me to formalize it in case I get hit by a bus, so here's the start.
After several years of mentoring and advising, I've discovered 5 (at least) fundamentals to creating an amazing Life by Design (through very non-scientific methods).
1. Very little you do in life is irrevocable.
Aside from dying, very few of the choices we make in life are permanent and can't be undone, redone, mitigated or benefited from. Even losing a limb is no longer necessarily life-altering. Once we view life that way, opportunities are endless sources of learning and exploration. We don't need to be afraid that if we do X today, we're stuck doing X for the rest of our life.
2. There are many paths, solutions, answers, right choices - not just 1.
Following #1 above, rarely in life is there just one way to do something - there are many ways. Many times we feel the path a role model or someone we admire took is the only path to get to the same place. Unfortunately, our education system reinforces the one way - there is THE right answer or way not A right answer or way. Well, guess what, rarely is that the case. Life isn't binary.
3. Your major or job isn't destiny.
The world tells us that our college major and even our current job is destiny. Engineers should only look for engineering jobs, not design, product management, etc. English majors should only look for writing or PR jobs, not design, product management, etc. Drop the "should" - it's a horrible word! Our job or major is not our destiny. By looking at how that major or job has taught us to think, approach problems, communicate, see connections and patterns, apply to different situations, we can use our experience in so many ways!