Life By Design

Frank Lloyd Wright - Falling Water

Frank Lloyd Wright – Falling Water

Last week I read this post about living an unremarkable life. I really appreciated the author’s perspective. We can’t all be the founders of new multi-billion dollar companies, and I’ve long appreciated the people who quietly do everyday things that make the world seem to effortlessly flow. Crops grow, planes take off, shelves are stocked, floors are cleaned. Sometimes people just have to work and we can’t all be chasing extravagant dreams all the time.

But then I listened to a friend talk about the difference between resigning yourself to something versus choosing to design the experience and its effects. He was talking about healthcare and how we can design better treatment and experiences for patients, but the idea applies to life as a whole.

Should I resign myself to the fact that I’m a plumber and wear overalls and boots to work everyday? Should I resign myself to  sacrificing my needs so I can care for aging parents? Am I resigned to never traveling the world, never being rich or famous, never winning awards or having my name in print?

Or, am I living my life by design? My dream is to have a remarkable family, and I choose to make that happen by designing a home environment where love is spoken and felt. The difference that I am making in someone’s life is to smile and hold the door for the woman behind me. Believe it or not, I decide when I am going to have a good day – you can too.

My counter to the original article is that we can all live remarkable lives. It’s just up to us to design what remarkable means. I’m never going to be famous.  My parents were everyday people, we went on road trips and worked in the garden and shared clothes.  But they taught us how to laugh and sing and work together and serve others. That didn’t happen by accident, it happened by design. And I think it’s pretty remarkable.

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3 responses to “Life By Design

  1. As I read your post I was reminded of one of my favorite Gordon B. Hinckley quotes, “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey… delays… sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

    For me, finding the fine line between resigning and designing my life is a day-to-day task—perhaps hour to hour—recognizing that just because everything doesn’t happen the way you hope or plan doesn’t mean you stop working toward as many beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed possible.

    I’m guessing nobody on their deathbed wishes they had been more rich or famous or won more awards… Rather, they’re probably grateful they laughed, sang, worked and served others.

    • Thanks, Jack. I love that quote from President Hinckley. Too often we get caught up in the fairytale and forget that this is real life. Here’s to enjoying the slow and dusty but incredible journey!

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