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9 lessons for living a life you love
Episode 12423rd January 2024 • The Happy Entrepreneur • The Happy Startup School
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When Ayse Birsel gave her talk at our Happy Startup Summercamp she was shocked that she only had 20 minutes to speak. Not only that, we told her that she should be sharing stories and not lessons.

Ironically her talk is about lessons; lessons she’s learned from doing extensive research about older people and their attitude to life.

She compiled these lessons along her research in her new book Design the Long Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Love, Purpose, Well-Being, and Friendship.

As you can imagine this is right up Happy street and we’re fully aligned with her message.

Laurence and Carlos love her work so much that they wanted to explore her lessons more deeply and give her more time to share her stories.

Listen to learn more about Ayse’s work and how you can design that long life full of love.

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Ayse:

am Ayse Birsel I was at the, um, happy Startup

Ayse:

camp this year in September.

Ayse:

It was the highlight of my year and made a lot of friends.

Ayse:

Had a lot of fun, fun, learned so much.

Ayse:

And now I'm back in New York in just counting days to come back.

Ayse:

But, um, I'm an industrial designer and I've designed many, many things from,

Ayse:

um, toilet seats to office systems, to um, kitchen utensils, to concept cars

Ayse:

for some of the top brands in the world.

Ayse:

And then developed a design process outta that, that I call

Ayse:

deconstruction reconstruction.

Ayse:

And actually, uh, I was talking to a dear friend of mine the other day and

Ayse:

he calls it construction reconstruction.

Ayse:

And I thought, I'm gonna change the name and, uh, and apply that,

Ayse:

uh, design process to my life.

Ayse:

And more recently to our long life.

Ayse:

And now I have a new book coming out.

Ayse:

So I'm an industrial designer, coach and author and mom.

Carlos:

Multipotentialite.

Carlos:

Um.

Carlos:

So one of the questions you asked me, uh, this week around, 'cause

Carlos:

we, I was connecting this idea of the work that we do with, um,

Carlos:

the work that you've been doing.

Carlos:

Uh, we talk about the excite strategy in, in our work

Carlos:

and our Vision 2020 program.

Carlos:

Um, and I was, you know, looking through the nine lessons that you, you shared at

Carlos:

summer camp that felt like there's quite a lot of connection and overlap there.

Carlos:

And so that's why I came with that question as well.

Carlos:

It's like, okay, how can I have more ease and maybe more clarity going

Carlos:

into this next stage of, of life?

Carlos:

But there's, there's something here from your research that you were talking

Carlos:

about at summer camp, um, and there were stories that you, you were keen

Carlos:

to share about what, where that I think that what fed that research were added

Carlos:

to that research and I, I was just keen to maybe surface some of those

Carlos:

stories that, you know, might give us some texture or color to these lessons.

Carlos:

And, and maybe we can also start talking about some of the lessons and

Carlos:

what that mean to us, they mean to you and also what they mean to us.

Carlos:

in terms of, I, I remember there's like, were there any, was there anything

Carlos:

specific like at summer camp that you wished you had said or shared in terms

Carlos:

that you think, oh, if I had a bit more time, was there something that you were

Carlos:

like, ah, I wanted to tell this story that maybe you could kick us off with?

Ayse:

Well, we'll, we'll dive into multiple stories, but one of the things

Ayse:

that, um, uh, I was reminded of the other day is, um, how one of my friends,

Ayse:

my, uh, guru actually who is, uh, someone who works with the world's top

Ayse:

CEOs and experts, how, uh, he reached out to me to help him design his life.

Ayse:

So he, he's very supportive of my work.

Ayse:

And when my book Design the Life You Love, my first book came out.

Ayse:

He said, why don't we do a session together and I'll bring all my friends?

Ayse:

And uh, he showed up with 70 of his friends.

Ayse:

And, and in the process he designed his legacy and his life.

Ayse:

And, um, and you know, this is someone who's a bestselling author and expert,

Ayse:

and written a book about succession.

Ayse:

But the interesting thing was he couldn't do it for himself.

Ayse:

And it was kind of like the shoemaker who can't tie his own shoes.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

And so in a way, he came to me.

Ayse:

And so I was thinking about that and thinking it's kind of, you

Ayse:

know, in New York at the end of the, um, night, all the chefs go to

Ayse:

another chef's restaurant to eat.

Ayse:

So I'm kind of like that chef where the other experts come to

Ayse:

design their life and in what the privileged position that is.

Ayse:

And so I feel like even though it's, um, 7:00 AM in the morning here, like

Ayse:

this is where all the chefs are here now early in the morning, um, talking

Ayse:

about like cooking and good stuff and, um, the, the things that we love to do.

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

So that's what you're making me think.

Ayse:

And by the way, the guru's name is Marshall, Marshall Goldsmith.

Carlos:

Yeah, I was, I was looking into, uh, is it the, the Earned Life?

Carlos:

Is that the book?

Ayse:

The Earned Life.

Ayse:

The Earned Life.

Ayse:

And, um, I was joking the other day that The Earned Life is about,

Ayse:

you know, Marshall's philosophy of life, which is Buddhist, but has

Ayse:

a lot of overlap, um, Carlos and, uh, Laurence with what you do.

Ayse:

And, um, and I was saying, Marshall, your book is, uh, or actually my

Ayse:

book is The Earned Life Illustrated.

Carlos:

think a lot of people in our community are, are coaches, um, uh, or

Carlos:

some people, some phrase people helpers.

Carlos:

Uh, you know, there, there's something about wanting to be of service to

Carlos:

others, uh, human beings, uh, that, that drives a lot of people in our community.

Carlos:

But there's something, well, I'm, I'm hearing here is this idea of like, but

Carlos:

it's hard to help ourselves even if you help other people with specific things.

Carlos:

And so from your perspective, I'd be curious, you know, your, what, what

Carlos:

is it, why do we find it so hard to help ourselves from your, you know,

Carlos:

do you have any thoughts around that?

Ayse:

You know, when Covid started, I started these virtual

Ayse:

teas that, um, we do every, um, every Wednesday at 5:00 PM.

Ayse:

Tea time, which unfortunately is a little bit late for you all, but

Ayse:

I have some, um, members of the community also join us from the uk.

Ayse:

Um, but the idea of the virtual tea was, you know, we were all sheltering in

Ayse:

place and nobody knew what was going on.

Ayse:

And I reached out to my community, like, you reach out to your

Ayse:

community and said, would you like to design your life through,

Ayse:

you know, COVID or the pandemic?

Ayse:

And people came back with a big yes, and we started doing these things.

Ayse:

And I thought that I was helping others.

Ayse:

Um, to your point, you don't think about how yourself.

Ayse:

And then somewhere along like the 20th or 30th tee I realized, you

Ayse:

know what, the, the person who's getting the most help here is me.

Ayse:

And, and that was, even though that's something that I talk about,

Ayse:

um, in, you know, Design the Long Life You Love, which is one of the

Ayse:

lessons we wanted to talk about is, help others to help yourself.

Ayse:

Um, I didn't realize it, but then when it hit me, I, I embraced

Ayse:

the virtual teas even more, and we we're still doing them.

Ayse:

So if anybody is interested, um, please join them.

Ayse:

And, um, we're at 112.

Ayse:

And there, there's, I think really the, the best thing I

Ayse:

could say is if you want to help yourself, help someone else.

Carlos:

So, particularly with you, what is it you are feeling that you

Carlos:

are getting now, or you, you've been getting from the virtual teas, so

Carlos:

what is it about how you're helping others, and then what is it you,

Carlos:

you think you're getting help with?

Ayse:

I think the, there is this collective sense of gratitude

Ayse:

that emerges out of each virtual tea, of seeing people smiling

Ayse:

and making friends, helping each other, collaborating, seeing

Ayse:

that live, uh, that all kind of adds up and comes back to me.

Ayse:

And I think that's a big part of, um, helping, is being useful

Ayse:

to others, uh, increases our sense of meaning and purpose.

Ayse:

And, you know, you, you don't think of it like that.

Ayse:

At least I didn't, you know, I was like, oh, you know, I have something to share.

Ayse:

I'll, I am the expert.

Ayse:

Let me help you.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

Um, and it was very humbling to realize, hold on one second.

Ayse:

You are all helping me.

Laurence:

There's a line we use a lot, which is you can't see the label when

Laurence:

you're in the bottle, which I think talks to why we find it so difficult

Laurence:

to help ourselves, particularly if we are skilled at a craft.

Laurence:

We even had this as a web design agency.

Laurence:

We ended up bringing someone else in to design our website because we

Laurence:

couldn't either get the time, find the time to do ourselves or agree

Laurence:

on what, what done looked like.

Laurence:

And so, yeah, I think that's one thing is it's really difficult.

Laurence:

Um, you can't see the wood from the trees when you're so

Laurence:

close to something, I think.

Laurence:

Um, but yeah, I mean we see it a lot on, in our events and

Laurence:

particularly on the Vision program is.

Laurence:

It feels to me the point at which people switch off their own brain and start

Laurence:

sort of plugging into someone else's problems and challenges, they start

Laurence:

to either feel really useful and like you said, and build their confidence

Laurence:

by going, oh, actually I sound like I know what I'm talking about here.

Laurence:

And the advice they end up giving other people is often the advice

Laurence:

they need to hear themselves.

Laurence:

And so there's definitely something there where we just help.

Laurence:

Like the guy we had, Michael Owen on the Fireside a couple of weeks

Laurence:

ago, talked about a similar thing, didn't he start with generosity?

Laurence:

And through that you build, you know, you get a lot more

Laurence:

back than you, than you give.

Laurence:

And so, yeah, there's definitely something in that, I think is uh, yeah.

Laurence:

I think when you go back to your own work, your own life,

Laurence:

it feels a bit more clear.

Laurence:

I think

Carlos:

There's something that I heard when you were talking, Ayse,

Carlos:

about this, like, you know, I think you're talking about gratitude, this

Carlos:

like sense of connection, this sense of not being alone, you know, being,

Carlos:

sharing a space or sharing feelings with others that, you know, you feel

Carlos:

like that you're not the only one feeling those feelings in a sense.

Carlos:

If I'm thinking about this, it's, I'm coming up to this halfway point in

Carlos:

life, to put it crudely, for a good chunk of the first half, I did feel it

Carlos:

was all about me and how I achieved and how I did things and how I, you know,

Carlos:

it was all about doing things on my own, not needing the help of others.

Carlos:

'Cause I, by doing it on my own, I create this sense of, uh,

Carlos:

self-worth, importance, value, or I, it's about achievement.

Carlos:

And then this shift about actually, it isn't just about me.

Carlos:

And actually I could probably do more if I asked other people for help.

Carlos:

And I could probably do more by helping other people.

Carlos:

So what used to be I'm gonna be wasting time on other people and I'm

Carlos:

not progressing myself has morphed into, actually I won't progress

Carlos:

myself unless I'm with other people.

Carlos:

There's like a, a contrast between a very individualistic look at life

Carlos:

to a more collective view of life.

Ayse:

What's interesting the way you're, you know, looking at your life as a

Ayse:

continuum is exactly what I did, uh, in the, uh, research that we did with

Ayse:

people who were 65 and older and helping them design their life and, uh, trying

Ayse:

to understand, you know, how we change.

Ayse:

And what we realized is, um, we're actually same but different.

Ayse:

And I talked about this, uh, at, uh, summer camp.

Ayse:

And so you're, you're still the same person.

Ayse:

Uh, and the same things are important to Carlos that, uh, you know, whether

Ayse:

it's love, friendship, purpose, wellbeing, I mean, those are the

Ayse:

four important pillars of our life.

Ayse:

But how you get to them, um, changes and transforms over time.

Ayse:

And you know what you're talking about, this transition or, yeah, transformation

Ayse:

from me to we is actually something that is, uh, in our genes and it's

Ayse:

a, you know, neuroscience tells us that that's supposed to happen.

Ayse:

But since we're all around this table here, uh, people who coach others,

Ayse:

and we understand that you can create new habits, um, the idea is yes, it's

Ayse:

going to happen naturally, but some of those things could be really useful to

Ayse:

us early in life, earlier in life, you know, uh, wouldn't you, the younger

Ayse:

Carlos want to know how to help other people and drive energy and satisfaction

Ayse:

from, from that in his twenties?

Ayse:

And so that's kind of the, um.

Ayse:

When we're talking about the nine or so lessons or the, the whole research

Ayse:

is, uh, realizing the wisdom of older people and sharing that so that

Ayse:

we can acquire it earlier in life.

Ayse:

And, um, and that transition truly from me to we is, um, happens

Ayse:

in the midlife and, and, and it's called wisdom, you know?

Carlos:

Oh, I just wish I had a bit more of that when I was in my

Carlos:

mid twenties, to be honest, um.

Ayse:

Yeah, me too.

Carlos:

Because it, I don't know, I'm, I'm drawn to lesson two, which

Carlos:

is live life on your own terms.

Ayse:

Yeah.

Carlos:

And I felt in those early years, I, I was driven to try and.

Carlos:

Do things on my own terms, you know?

Carlos:

Uh, so achieve things on my own terms, get financial independence so

Carlos:

I could make choices on my own terms.

Carlos:

Um, get the, the status that I felt was important to look like I

Carlos:

knew what I was doing so I could make decisions on my own terms.

Carlos:

Uh, but that, on one hand, I, I've kind of felt like actually I was

Carlos:

still living life on someone else's terms 'cause that was what they

Carlos:

thought was the way to do things.

Carlos:

But I was also, so I think maybe myopic about it or blinkered, to not

Carlos:

realize that by connecting with other people and, and helping, whichever

Carlos:

way that may happen is like I'd open myself up to different ways of living,

Carlos:

different terms that I could pick up.

Ayse:

You're making me think one way to think about it really is that it is,

Ayse:

you, you know, I love dichotomies things that, kind of cancel each other out.

Ayse:

If you can help make them coexist, you're creating something that

Ayse:

is, um, unique and deep in value.

Ayse:

So a very simple example is less is more.

Ayse:

How could less be more?

Ayse:

But we, we understand that and, and we, when we can make

Ayse:

it happen, it's just amazing.

Ayse:

So a similar one here is the dichotomy resolution between

Ayse:

young and old, or youth and elders and, uh, and making them coexist.

Ayse:

Uh, in one way of doing that is, uh, making sure that we're in, uh, that we

Ayse:

have intergenerational relationships in our life and at work, in our

Ayse:

friendships, uh, in our family.

Ayse:

And sometimes we neglect to do that.

Ayse:

You know, young people stay with young people, older

Ayse:

people stay with older people.

Ayse:

And this might be one of the lessons we're gonna talk about, but one way

Ayse:

to, um, kind of be intentional about being inter intergenerational, I

Ayse:

is, uh, making friends who are nine years younger and nine years older.

Ayse:

And when you think about that, and nine of course is,

Ayse:

you know, just a placeholder.

Ayse:

For me, it was this realization that I have older friends, but I

Ayse:

don't have many younger friends.

Ayse:

And what it would take to, you know, make younger friends, whether it's

Ayse:

with my students or with my interns.

Ayse:

And, um, and where I'm going with that is also many people around

Ayse:

the table here are entrepreneurs.

Ayse:

To have the same dynamic in, in their teams, e and as they look at

Ayse:

their users in that user profile.

Ayse:

I'm going about it in a roundabout way, but whe when you start to live that,

Ayse:

um, you start to see examples of, um, people who do their own thing, you know?

Ayse:

Because often we care so much about what other people

Ayse:

think, that it paralyzes us.

Ayse:

And I'm including myself in this, you know, that fear that I feel most

Ayse:

mornings, um, comes from being good, often being good at what you do, and

Ayse:

feeling like I can't fail because I'm supposed to know what I'm doing.

Ayse:

And, um, but as you get older, you realize your your weeks decrease,

Ayse:

you know, the, the amount of, the number of weeks that you have left.

Ayse:

And that gives you a sense of deadline, which actually is useful, uh, in the

Ayse:

sense that, you know, I'm a designer.

Ayse:

I love deadlines, I need to like work towards something.

Ayse:

And similarly in life, something happens when you realize you don't

Ayse:

have an infinite number of days.

Ayse:

Um, and you decide, well, if that's the case, I wanna do what I love.

Ayse:

I wanna do what I care about, which I think marries very much with, with

Ayse:

what you teach, Laurence and Carlos, is that, um, what's that inner voice

Ayse:

telling you that you need to do?

Ayse:

So older people really listen to that.

Ayse:

Inner voice.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

And when they listen to that inner voice, they listen less to

Ayse:

the external voices or the potential external voices that are going to

Ayse:

tell them, you know, that sucks or so, and that gives you a sense of daring.

Ayse:

Um, and that, that's very useful.

Ayse:

So again, somewhere in here I say like, that's what I want

Ayse:

my kids who are teenagers to know, um, is to less waste time.

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

Even though they feel like they have, and I hope they have

Ayse:

a very, very long time, but still feel like they have a less time.

Ayse:

They have less time.

Ayse:

And in that time, do what you really care about or more of what

Ayse:

you care about and don't give enough what other people think.

Laurence:

You, you've given a whole, a whole new meaning to

Laurence:

the word deadline now for me.

Laurence:

Thank you for that.

Ayse:

Deadline.

Ayse:

Yes.

Ayse:

Yeah.

Ayse:

Now we know where that comes from.

Laurence:

Exactly.

Carlos:

When, when there's a scarcity of time, you know, there's only so

Carlos:

much we can do, and it reminds me of the Oliver Burkman book, 4,000 Weeks.

Laurence:

Yeah.

Carlos:

We can't do everything and we can't fit everything that we think

Carlos:

we should do into the time we have.

Carlos:

And so we have to start making choices about what's, what

Carlos:

to do and what not to do.

Carlos:

And, and a bit of a, a parallel metaphor.

Carlos:

One of our is like when I, when we go on holiday in summer.

Carlos:

And I get my kids to pack the suitcase.

Carlos:

So there's only much, so much space.

Carlos:

So you gotta decide what you can bring.

Carlos:

You can't bring everything.

Ayse:

Right.

Carlos:

And so you really have to make some tough decisions as to what it is.

Carlos:

What is it I really want, you know, what will I need when I'm

Carlos:

out there, when I'm going forward?

Carlos:

And that's hard to do.

Carlos:

Really hard to do without knowing Exactly.

Carlos:

Well, it is for me.

Carlos:

It's like, what, what is, what do I dare to be?

Carlos:

You talk, I love that word.

Carlos:

It's like, how can we be more daring?

Carlos:

And there's something there, there's a courage there to choose or need

Carlos:

to be courageous in order to choose.

Carlos:

And that not being dependent on whether someone says

Carlos:

that's a good choice or not.

Carlos:

And I think that's really, it's really, I found that really

Carlos:

tough when I was younger.

Carlos:

There's something about getting, having more miles behind me, something

Carlos:

around you talked about wisdom.

Carlos:

There's a discernment or just a bit more knowledge about it, coupled with

Carlos:

I don't have time to waste trying to work out what's the right thing.

Carlos:

I've just got to make a decision.

Ayse:

Exactly.

Carlos:

Uh, I think I've always struggled with this whole idea of

Carlos:

caring about what other people think.

Carlos:

Um, because I think I, I am, it was too much intertwined with

Carlos:

being basically not caring about people being a bit, um, I can't.

Carlos:

Words fail me, but, yeah, not, not being very compassionate.

Carlos:

Maybe I'm not being very considerate.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

And it's like, I'm gonna do it.

Carlos:

I don't care what you think.

Carlos:

I'm gonna do this.

Carlos:

The thing that helped me shift that mindset a bit was this idea that the

Carlos:

way I look at some, a situation or a decision is not necessarily the same

Carlos:

way that someone else will look at it.

Carlos:

And everyone is looking at.

Carlos:

Through a very different set of spectacles or goggles, beliefs, values.

Carlos:

And so when they criticize something or say something that doesn't align

Carlos:

with what you think or feels like a, a disparagement of the work you're doing,

Carlos:

it's coming from a very different place.

Carlos:

And so to care about it or not care about it is to say,

Carlos:

okay, that's your perspective.

Carlos:

And so maybe I can still keep on going with this 'cause you're having

Carlos:

a completely different view about it.

Carlos:

And then to care about it is to then query like, what is it,

Carlos:

why is it you're saying that?

Carlos:

What is it?

Carlos:

The perspective you have does making you say that this

Carlos:

isn't the right thing to do?

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

And then to then be at peace with, well that's your perspective

Carlos:

and I understand what that is.

Laurence:

Well, there's also something about who you care

Laurence:

about listening to as well.

Laurence:

So I think, um, I think lots of people care too much about what people

Laurence:

they may never come in contact with.

Laurence:

Think if they post something on LinkedIn or social media because

Laurence:

they're fearing in the trolls.

Laurence:

They're fearing the negative responses from people when they may never

Laurence:

know or meet and that prevents them from putting anything out there

Laurence:

or even certainly opening their heart and being more vulnerable.

Laurence:

And so understanding who you really care about listening to I think was important

Laurence:

for me when I started writing to think, okay, I'm not for them, but that's fine.

Laurence:

And, and if they don't like it, they don't like it.

Laurence:

And over time I've got more comfortable with that.

Laurence:

But it's hard at the start 'cause you're like, oh, want everyone to like me?

Laurence:

They thought that someone doesn't like you.

Laurence:

Or something that you say is quite painful if you're a people person.

Laurence:

But I think over time knowing that actually I'm really talking to you, and

Laurence:

so by really wanting to talk to you, I really can't talk to someone else.

Laurence:

And that's okay.

Ayse:

You reminded me of a lesson I learned, uh, you know, working with

Ayse:

Herman Miller and it's a reframing.

Ayse:

So, we were doing a very innovative project, uh, an office system that

Ayse:

was really like changing the way we think about office systems.

Ayse:

And we did a focus group and nobody on the focus group al almost,

Ayse:

uh, liked what we were doing.

Ayse:

To the point where the design director from Herman Miller, you know how you

Ayse:

sit behind the, the mirror and people talk about your product and they don't

Ayse:

see you, uh, and you're never supposed to let them know that you're there?

Ayse:

He came out and joined the, the, the people that were the focus

Ayse:

group and defended the product.

Ayse:

He was so upset.

Ayse:

He is like, you don't understand.

Ayse:

So, but then the director of research at Herman Miller, Jim Long at the time,

Ayse:

said, you know, this is a good thing because what we're doing is innovative

Ayse:

and people don't know it, and therefore they don't know how to like it.

Ayse:

And I think for many of us here who are working on, uh, new ideas

Ayse:

and innovation, I think it's good to remember that sometimes

Ayse:

people don't know how to love something that they don't know.

Ayse:

And part, part of the journey is helping them, you know, get there.

Carlos:

I think there's something very important about that.

Carlos:

For me, it Connects to this idea of when we give feedback on an idea

Carlos:

that's very new and very early.

Carlos:

Um, and I've seen it happen that within our groups and our community, someone's

Carlos:

got a new idea for a product or service, and they share it at this very early

Carlos:

stage where it isn't very clear.

Carlos:

And then some people go jump straight in with, oh, you should

Carlos:

do this, you should do that.

Carlos:

That's, you know, they, there's a, in a sense, they're really stress testing

Carlos:

something very, very new that maybe they don't understand where it's coming from.

Carlos:

And so the, the person whose idea it was has having to defend the rationale

Carlos:

of decision making because it's so new and there's not enough background

Carlos:

understanding that the people who are giving feedback might not be coming

Carlos:

from a place of that's productive.

Carlos:

Coming from a place of like, oh, I don't know this thing, so it

Carlos:

needs to be this other thing.

Carlos:

As opposed to actually maybe this, this whole, this idea, has

Carlos:

a whole new approach that I need to, to get a better perspective on.

Carlos:

So that's what was coming up for me in terms of this

Carlos:

whole generating new ideas.

Carlos:

And this thing about who do we listen to or who do we care

Carlos:

about in terms of their feedback?

Carlos:

It reminded me of a story I was reading in Mix.

Carlos:

I think it's Mixed Mag, some music magazine about a music collective.

Carlos:

And there there were two of them who, who made music.

Carlos:

And one of the guys who was being interviewed is like the

Carlos:

only person he cared about in terms of the opinion about the

Carlos:

music was his creative partner.

Carlos:

You, he was made essentially, he said he was making music

Carlos:

for that person and, and if he liked it that they went for it.

Carlos:

But he didn't really care about what, ultimately he didn't

Carlos:

really care what anyone else saw.

Carlos:

And, and that process worked for them because they ended up making really

Carlos:

good music that lots of people liked.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

But there was that real thing of like, actually that person's

Carlos:

opinion counts not anyone else's.

Carlos:

And I think that's, there's something there I'm being discerning about.

Carlos:

Not only in terms of who has the knowledge, but who do you

Carlos:

want to listen to as well?

Laurence:

I also wonder with that, I, I've been reading Nick Cave's

Laurence:

book, one of his books where he talks about something similar.

Laurence:

Um, Nick Cave, the musician, and the interesting thing is he said was, oh,

Laurence:

the way I think about, it's not that you don't care what people think, it's

Laurence:

just if you, if you worry about that too much, you'll end up not doing anything.

Laurence:

And so by caring, you end up then trying to second guess what

Laurence:

they're thinking, what they want.

Laurence:

And so as a creative artist, musician, entrepreneur, I think

Laurence:

worrying about that so much, I think is debilitating in some ways.

Laurence:

So it's not, I don't, I think that, not that they don't care,

Laurence:

but I think they can't control people's reaction to something.

Laurence:

And like you said, having that intention of why you are doing it impimportant.

Laurence:

One that I wanted to, I was really curious about, I mean,

Laurence:

Carl might cover this anyway.

Laurence:

Was that one of the lessons?

Laurence:

I'm not sure what number it is, but the idea of starting something

Laurence:

even though you don't know.

Carlos:

Yeah, I was just about to say exactly the same thing, lesson six.

Laurence:

Just because it's so talks to our philosophy and

Laurence:

the people we work with and we say, start before you're ready.

Laurence:

But there's so much fear out there of, but I don't know where it's gonna end.

Laurence:

I dunno what I'm creating.

Laurence:

Why would I do this if I don't know if it can make me money or

Laurence:

make me happy or make impact?

Carlos:

I wanted to connect this up because it, it, it does follow on

Carlos:

from these previous two co lessons for me in terms of, uh, this whole idea

Carlos:

of living life on your own terms and this, um, what that means in terms

Carlos:

of when you're starting something new and something different and you

Carlos:

might not know where it's gonna go.

Carlos:

And then other people say, oh, you can't do that.

Carlos:

You know, that's never gonna work.

Carlos:

Or, you know, this, there's that real tension between what other

Carlos:

people think and doing something completely new and different that

Carlos:

isn't clear about where it'll go.

Ayse:

I love how you're weaving all the, the dots into a, a beautiful narrative.

Ayse:

So well done.

Laurence:

Actually, one thing I'd add reading that again, that

Laurence:

um, lesson start something even though, you know, dunno how it end.

Laurence:

I'd like to be provocative.

Laurence:

Say start something because you dunno how it's gonna end.

Ayse:

Ah, it's so good.

Ayse:

Shoot.

Ayse:

The book is already published.

Laurence:

It is a digital version.

Ayse:

But, um, again, when we worked with older, wiser people,

Ayse:

what we realized is how much, um, energy and motivation they

Ayse:

have for starting something new.

Ayse:

Uh, and again, it comes with the sense that, you know, I want to

Ayse:

do what I love, what I care about.

Ayse:

I don't have a lot of time.

Ayse:

And, you know, and it could be a second or a third career, it could

Ayse:

be going and helping other people.

Ayse:

It could be, um, you know, writing a book, but something that

Ayse:

gives them a sense of purpose.

Ayse:

And so with that, I wanted to explain to everyone of all ages that, um,

Ayse:

you know, starting something new and having projects is actually, uh,

Ayse:

a great way of designing our life.

Ayse:

because projects.

Ayse:

Have, um, definition, they have goals, they have deadlines.

Ayse:

We can, um, work on them, and they, they evolve, right?

Ayse:

And we can collaborate.

Ayse:

So they have a lot of the things that make our life fulfilling.

Ayse:

Um, but with it, there is this sense of like, I'm scared because

Ayse:

I don't know how this is gonna go.

Ayse:

And, uh, and so just being cognizant of, that's the nature of things, you know?

Ayse:

Um, and there is ambiguity into Laurence, your point.

Ayse:

That's the beauty of it, uh, that you don't know.

Ayse:

But you could have the, um, you need to trust the emergence of

Ayse:

something that's going to happen.

Ayse:

And it does happen.

Ayse:

It doesn't happen if you're not doing it, it happens as you're doing it.

Ayse:

And so one of the, um, techniques that, um, I talk about Michael Bengay

Ayse:

Steiner, who's written a book, uh, about this, How to Begin, and I highly,

Ayse:

highly, highly recommended as well.

Ayse:

Um, and he says, one of the ways that you can manage that, um, that fear is

Ayse:

working in bursts to not thinking, oh my God, like I'm going to like, spend

Ayse:

a year on this, but instead say, I, I'm going to work in births of six weeks.

Ayse:

And you can define your burst.

Ayse:

Like you could say three weeks, you know, two months, whatever it is.

Ayse:

And I'm going to check in and kind of see where I'm at.

Ayse:

And it makes me like a lot of what I do, everything I do is through the

Ayse:

design and designer's lens, right?

Ayse:

In design, you do the same thing.

Ayse:

You, you work in phases.

Ayse:

You don't go from idea to product in a month.

Ayse:

It often takes, you know, at least a year, often two to three years.

Ayse:

But you work in phases.

Ayse:

Like there's an idea phase, there's a concept phase, there's

Ayse:

a design and development phase, there's a refinement phase.

Carlos:

The thing that springs to mind is connected to this, oh, we've

Carlos:

got limited amount of time left.

Carlos:

We have to make a decision on the thing that we're gonna do.

Carlos:

If we're gonna spend a year on something and we're not sure if it

Carlos:

is gonna work, I've just lost a year, just lost a year outta those 50 or

Carlos:

whatever, and there's one year left.

Carlos:

So there's a real anxiety about committing to something that

Carlos:

might mean I've wasted effort.

Carlos:

Then you talk about time boxing and like, you know, the six weeks,

Carlos:

this kind of little process of just having kind of a definitive,

Carlos:

um, markers around the project.

Carlos:

Uh, and I like the idea of, um, well, 20 weeks being an

Carlos:

interesting time box Laurence for our Vision 2020 program, what?

Laurence:

Segue?

Laurence:

Great segue.

Carlos:

That, because it's, I think it's having a length of

Carlos:

time that's long enough to get you into, uh, getting into some work.

Carlos:

This sort of like really exploring something, but then it feels like

Carlos:

not so long that you think, oh my God, if it doesn't work, it's all

Carlos:

for nothing or I've just wasted time.

Carlos:

And that I, I really wanted to just focus on that feeling

Carlos:

of like, oh my God, I've just wasted time and uncertainty.

Carlos:

Like this whole fear of uncertainty, this fear of wasting time, this

Carlos:

fear of not getting an outcome to something that some seems quite,

Carlos:

well, my perspective, one of the deepest root causes for not making a

Carlos:

decision or committing to something.

Carlos:

And I dunno if,

Laurence:

well, that paints, that paints a picture of it's

Laurence:

a binary success or failure.

Laurence:

There's complete waste of time or there's success

Laurence:

at the end of the rainbow.

Ayse:

One of the biggest lessons that I learned in doing, um,

Ayse:

starting Design the Life You Love.

Ayse:

Um, and that was about, yeah, almost.

Ayse:

12 years ago, um, was this intersection of failure and success actually.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

And, um, realizing that failure can be the beginning

Ayse:

of something beautiful.

Ayse:

Because I started this transformation into designing

Ayse:

my life because of a failure.

Ayse:

And the failure was, you know, when 2008 happened and the economy

Ayse:

crashed in the States, we went from being a very successful industrial

Ayse:

design studio to having no clients.

Ayse:

And that feeling of failure, like how.

Ayse:

It's okay if it happened to other people, but like, how could

Ayse:

this happen to us, you know?

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

We're supposed to be the exception.

Ayse:

We're so good.

Ayse:

And like, really, again, this humbling realization that,

Ayse:

you know, it's happening to all of us and we have no work.

Ayse:

We have kids, you know, how are we gonna do this?

Ayse:

And then from that, very painful, not to, you know, discount that.

Ayse:

But then in, in that failure, realizing the, the silver lining that I had a

Ayse:

lot of time in my hands and I could do something useful with that time.

Ayse:

So, and I think we all have stories like this, right?

Ayse:

Where we failed and something good came of it.

Ayse:

And so I guess this is a way of saying that, um, none of it is wasted.

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

It's just hard, you know?

Laurence:

One thing I'd add to that as well is, when I think of

Laurence:

people trying, like Carla said, like it can be debilitating so

Laurence:

you don't make any steps forward.

Laurence:

So you're worried about what the outcome might be, is like what you collect

Laurence:

along the way if something doesn't work.

Laurence:

So the relationships you build, the awareness people have of your

Laurence:

direction of travel, if it's a new vision for your work or business,

Laurence:

um, and actually what you learn about yourself in that process.

Laurence:

And so that's the bit I think people don't see.

Laurence:

It's the intangibles that often we just say, okay, the business didn't

Laurence:

work, so it's a failure versus actually, what do I have with me now?

Laurence:

What intangible assets do I have with me now that I can

Laurence:

take with me going forward?

Ayse:

That ties then back to self love and compassion,

Ayse:

which is so, so important.

Ayse:

And again, something that happens naturally as we get older,

Ayse:

that's part of becoming wise, is we learn to love ourselves.

Ayse:

But again, um, many people here are, you know, younger and, and again, you

Ayse:

don't have to wait until you're older.

Ayse:

But it's so important to have that self-love and compassion.

Ayse:

And it's a learned skill.

Ayse:

You know, it's basically, um, and I talk about this in the

Ayse:

book, training your Brain.

Ayse:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

And, and the, the, the value of that is um.

Ayse:

it's not, have I succeeded or not?

Ayse:

The question is, have I tried my best?

Ayse:

And that changes everything because if you're trying your best, you know,

Ayse:

you can fail, but you're still trying.

Ayse:

And tomorrow you might, you know, get there.

Ayse:

And that notion that this is, it's an action, it's not, you know, it's a verb.

Ayse:

Have I tried my best?

Ayse:

I think really helps us, um, manage those, um, difficult moments.

Carlos:

The way I think about this whole, trying my best,

Carlos:

way of looking at things.

Carlos:

'cause on one hand, I, a past version of me would be about, all right,

Carlos:

I've really like forced it and really pushed hard, I think a more

Carlos:

relaxed version of that for me is, am am I fully present with the work?

Ayse:

Right.

Carlos:

Am I really, I'm not thinking about the outcome.

Carlos:

I'm, I'm fully present with what I'm doing right now, because if I'm fully

Carlos:

present, then I will do my best.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

Because I know exactly my, I know where my head is at

Carlos:

and I know where all my focus is.

Ayse:

Yeah.

Carlos:

And, and I connect this to three other lessons I think you've got here.

Carlos:

First one, yes.

Carlos:

Love yourself.

Carlos:

Because I think if I'm fully present, I'm not worrying about the mistakes

Carlos:

I'm gonna make and I'm not, um, being my set head over the, my

Carlos:

head, over with the stick because of the mistakes I made in the past.

Carlos:

It's like I'm just being with what's going on in the moment.

Carlos:

And then also I think by being fully present, I like, I love

Carlos:

lesson eight, feeding my soul.

Carlos:

I'm actually being much more present with not only what's going on

Carlos:

around me, but what's going on with myself and what's needed for myself.

Carlos:

That for me is, is uh, yeah, I think core for me for the next 50 odd years,

Carlos:

maybe just how can I be more present and think about less about the outcomes, but

Carlos:

what is, how am I feeding myself with everything that I'm doing from now on?

Ayse:

So may I add a qualifier to that?

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

Uh, because I think for me being present, how also

Ayse:

changes actually change things.

Ayse:

So I found that for me, unconditional love and joy

Ayse:

is how I want to be present.

Ayse:

And so when we are here together, for example, and I look at you and

Ayse:

I think of everybody who's with us here, I think of you all with love.

Ayse:

that.

Ayse:

And also with the sense that I love being here.

Ayse:

And so that becomes a way to, um, think about other places where

Ayse:

I don't love being and therefore I can't be present, you know?

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

When you unpack that idea of being present, there are qualities in

Ayse:

there that you wanna be present with.

Carlos:

Uh, that's for me, the core of this is the quality of that experience.

Carlos:

Not being present means I don't sense into the things

Carlos:

that's happening around me.

Carlos:

And so the quality of that experience, it's kind of dull.

Carlos:

It's like muted.

Carlos:

It's like black and white TV as opposed to like HDR 4K experience,

Carlos:

just a really rich experience of life.

Carlos:

And so that's what I'm taking from the invitations, from the lessons

Carlos:

that are invitations from your book is like, how can we rather be on a slow

Carlos:

march to death waiting for retirement?

Carlos:

How can we embrace life and all that it's gonna offer and the

Carlos:

richness so that it feels like a high quality experience as

Carlos:

opposed to a, God's waiting room.

Laurence:

Actually, a quick question on that lesson features.

Laurence:

So are you saying be intentional about what inputs you have?

Laurence:

Like what's, what you're feeding yourself with in terms

Laurence:

of experiences or information

Ayse:

So, um, I think To, to both your points, being intentional

Ayse:

about what feeds your soul is key.

Ayse:

And one of the things that feed our soul, it's like, where,

Ayse:

where do we drive meaning, right?

Ayse:

Fighting for cause might feed our soul.

Ayse:

Working on a project, helping somebody else could feed our soul.

Ayse:

But one of the best ways to also feed our soul is through social

Ayse:

connections and friendships.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Ayse:

And so, maybe my favorite chapter in the book is about friendships and

Ayse:

making friends as opposed to finding love and that you can manufacture

Ayse:

friendships and, and how to do that.

Ayse:

And I think, uh, I mentioned this at, the summer camp.

Ayse:

But what you are doing with your community and, um, with summer

Ayse:

camp and you, with your friend, with your programs is creating

Ayse:

really friendship factories.

Ayse:

And, and collaboration and working together and learning from

Ayse:

each other, helping each other.

Ayse:

These are in my mind, actually all subsets of how to make friends and

Ayse:

then our friends, uh, feed our soul.

Carlos:

one for the t-shirt factory.

Laurence:

Yeah, that's, yeah.

Laurence:

I remember someone saying that years ago, hire our friend, hire from uh, uh,

Laurence:

Norway Said This is a friend factory.

Laurence:

It sounded, I remember at the time thinking that sounds really cold.

Carlos:

Friends feed our souls.

Carlos:

And those, I, I felt, I have felt my soul being very well fed, um, by

Carlos:

spending this time with you, Ayse.

Laurence:

And talking to you.

Carlos:

Thank you very much.

Ayse:

I'm, I'm addicted in the best way possible.

Ayse:

It's so, so good seeing you.

Laurence:

Yeah.

Laurence:

And there's a link in the chat to the new book so people can pre-order it now.

Laurence:

Is that right?

Laurence:

I know you've got one of the few hard copies in your, in your hand.

Ayse:

Yes.

Ayse:

People can pre-order it.

Carlos:

Excellent.

Carlos:

Thank you very much.

Carlos:

Okay, everyone, take care.

Carlos:

Thank you for your time and until next time.

Carlos:

Bye-Bye.

Carlos:

Have a good weekend.

Laurence:

All right.

Laurence:

Take care everyone.

Carlos:

Bye-Bye.