“Choose things in your life that will endure, that are a pleasure to use. Classic clothes never go out of style. Furniture should get better with age. Choose things because they delight you, not because they impress others. And never let things be more important than your family, friends and your own spirit.”
That’s Marney Morris, quoted by Daniel Pink, in his book A WHOLE NEW MIND: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. It is a worthy bit of advice.
In the 1980’s when Steve Jobs and friends launched the first MacIntosh, it was Marney Morris and her interactive software design company Animatrix, who put together a lively and entertaining “guided tour” of that historic machine. The guide helped the technologically challenged to bravely enter the intimidating world of computers and get good at it.
Since then Morris has continued to explore interactive design and has helped hundreds of corporations and thousands of end-users connect and engage with each other. She knows a lot about design and how it affects the way you live your life. She’s been a speaker at various conferences and teaches a popular course on Interactive Design at Stanford University as well.
I figured it would be worthwhile to take her advice: to choose to fill my world with things that give me pleasure. It’s been amazing how well this strategy is working.
PRACTICING CHOOSING PLEASURE
I’ve been working on making sure that the stuff I hang onto in my life are like the ones Morris praises: enduring things that are a pleasure to use, a joy to look at. One really good pan — beat-up and banged-up, but perfectly suited for making that special soup or the best omelet or whatever — beats out a whole bunch of handsome, copper bottomed things that just don’t work right.
I am making a practice of looking over the stuff that surrounds me and letting go of the things that just don’t delight me. The result of that one practice seems to be a much happier, warmer, softer me.
Every place I look now there’s something that evokes a fond memory or arrests my attention yet again because it is intriguing or is the most effective tool I’ve got for the job I need to be addressing. All of that seems to smooth down my feathers and makes me feel all fluffy and warm. There are no jarring notes in my immediate surroundings. It’s all good, heartful, useful stuff.
CHOOSING DELIGHTFUL PEOPLE
I can live with that, I am thinking. And if I carry that concept over and use it to look at the people in my world, and I choose to hang with the delightful ones who make me feel loved and safe and warm, well…that’s a very good place to be, isn’t it?
Maybe the quality of a life is kind of like the quality of a good stew. If you use the very best ingredients, prepare them properly and mix them all up well, then the stew is very, very good. It’s a lot harder to screw it up.
MORE LIFE-DESIGN THOUGHTS
The YouTube video below is actually a radio interview by host Dr. W. F. Strong at GoodBooksRadio. In it he interviews co-author Dave Evans who wrote DESIGNING YOUR LIFE: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life with Bill Burnett. It came out in September and is a #1 New York Times bestseller.
The authors have also put together a website, also called Designing Your Life, that Evans says contains additional tools for building the life you want. You might want to check it out as well….
And here’s a poem:
Old friends call to spend the words
They’ve saved up for me,
Telling me their lives,
Bringing me up-to-date.
It is good to hear
Their voices as they
Chime around each other,
Telling me their days.
And, I think as I hear them,
How the years have taken us
Away from each other
But not away from ourselves.
For they are still who they are,
As I am still who I am,
And we still like each other,
Even though we don’t always agree.
Maybe we’re just not
by Netta Kanoho
Picture credit: “One More Cup of Coffee” by duygu via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
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