This is the kind of book you buy yourself as a treat. It would be perfect for a New Year’s Resolution session, though there’s no reason to wait. It would also be very interesting to do as part of a group mastermind retreat. Ayse Birsel has a profound gift for making complicated things look simple.
The first thing you notice is that there are charming drawings throughout the book. Lots of books have cute sketches. What I like about Design the Life You Love is that it also offers several completely different approaches to each exercise. If one type of diagram doesn’t grab you, another one might. It’s impossible to read this book without wondering how to apply these designs to other areas of life.
There is a particular exercise from the book that I’m hooked on right now, and that is to imagine a metaphor for your life. Examples included a beehive and a flying machine. It feels like having a ready image for this could be transformative, and you’d know it when you see it. I don’t have one yet, but I want to!
Something just came to mind: a newspaper! Useful, full of words, can be found anywhere in the world, and spends a lot of time around parrots.
Design the Life You Love can be skimmed quickly, and it would be an enjoyable skim. Its strength, though, is in the exercises. They deserve fuller consideration. They have the power to be utterly transformative. Somehow, seeing aspects of your personal story laid out in a different arrangement can bring fresh insights. For instance, if ballroom dance is one of my favorite activities, why do I only do it at the occasional wedding? Where is my supposedly favorite thing in my weekly calendar? How much of what really is in my weekly calendar got there through intention, and how much through inertia? Do your homework and find out whether you’re really living your ideal life, or whether it’s time to design it a bit differently.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.