Figuring Out

Figuring out and finding feet in both life and work is a process and takes time.

A typical question from smart young designers to me is “how do I figure it out?”

My simple answer is “you don’t”🙈

Knowing that “you don’t” gives a lot of solace. It puts a lot of angst to rest. This way you will look at the core deeply than at a surface level.

Let’s look at some first principles here:

You can’t connect dots looking forward. You can’t collect dots looking backward. So when you are collecting you don’t connect. That is why you can’t figure out by thinking or even doing.

The only way to figure out is by reflecting. When there is no doing there is nothing much to reflect. Reflecting on thinking is much harder as you can’t think a thought and remember the distinctions of how you felt in your visualisation when that thought occurred.

So the best thing you could do is take a lot of shots and see what hits and what misses. Only by trying out lots, your space of possibility becomes richer.

My only advice to you is give some structure to all the shots you take. Make them as workstreams or projects or initiatives. Define the success metrics before you start. It could be learning a musical instrument or wing chun or product management or framer. Every shot is important because you don’t know what will stick with you this lifetime.

When you connect dots backwards you will see what you did well and where you sucked.

You will understand what gave you energy and what drained you.

You will see what added more value to what parts of your life and what didn’t.

Looking backwards you would have figured it out. You will never figure it out looking forward. If anyone said so they are lying.

🥂 to figuring it out!

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