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Who is Designing Your Life? You can be the architect or the artifact

Architect of your life

Take a minute. Think about the number of things you build your life around without a second thought. Things you don’t question. Things you take for granted that shape your actions day to day. Who is designing your life?

Here’s a simple list to contemplate

  • I spend a lot of time producing so I can consume things I don’t need.
  • I take the people I love the most for granted – they get little of my undivided attention.
  • Proportionally, I am motivated more out of fear than out of love.
  • I am convinced that there’s not enough of everything to go around.
  • I want what others have. I compare myself endlessly. I usually conclude that I am not enough.
  • I need to prove to others that I am valuable.
  • I take what others say at face value. I don’t seek out counterpoints. My beliefs are un-moveable.

There is a systematic way of thinking that dominates the landscape of most people’s lives. The ‘American Dream’ or any collective dream for that matter wasn’t created by you. You inherited it. Largely without really thinking about why it matters to you at all. Capitalism – someone else’s idea. Consumerism – someone else’s idea. Keeping up with the Jones’ – someone else’s idea, more specifically, the Jones’. Being happy all the time – someone else’s idea. Retirement – someone else’s idea.

What about your life do you call your own? Who is designing your life?

It’s no wonder that so many people become disillusioned after living out someone else’s ideas of what their life should be like. It was never yours to begin with.

How do you take back your life?

First, you start to question. You ask yourself what is really hidden in the motivational matrix of why I am doing what I am doing. How much of my life is being determined by someone else’s vision? How much of my ideas about me were crafted by my own hand? Plop the clay back on the pottery wheel and start spinning. Furiously if need be.    

Second, you start to explore. Don’t accept okay as the defining feature of your life. Venture into the world of great. Great is not a value judgment. Great is what you decide is fulfilling in your life.  Do you know what brings you contentment and peace? What will be your legacy? If the answer is “I don’t know”, then you have greatness in front of you, not behind you.

Third, you immerse yourself in a world of other creative thinkers and life builders. Don’t seek refuge in what they think. Seek refuge in how they think – creatively and without boundaries. Soak up their fearlessness and be inspired. Accept that you will fail, but you will fail on your own terms, which means you’re growing.

I know you have doubts that any of this is possible. But that’s someone else’s nay saying whispering in your ear. Remember, you don’t have a magic eight ball for something that you haven’t tried yet. It couldn’t possibly be wrong if you’ve never even given it a chance to be right.

“Well, that’s all well and good for someone who has the freedom to think that way,” you say. “I have bills to pay and a family to support.” And to that I say: “The reason they have the freedom to think that way isn’t that they don’t have responsibilities, it’s that their first responsibility is to honor the life they were born to live.” Be the architect of your existence. Draft the blueprint of your life. The alternative? You’re an artifact living out a life already lived.

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Written by
Mark Stolow