I found a book at my local library under the ‘careers’ section. I read it. It was a catalyst for me as a graduate architect/designer. Even if you are not a designer, the authors give you a bunch of design thinking strategies to use. Go, explore and experiment.

‘Designing Your Life’ by Burnett & Evans

Start where you are

Health/Work/Play/Love (HWPL) Dashboard

1. Write a few sentences about how it’s going in each of the four areas

My ‘work’ consists of career planning, reading, researching and attending events. I would say I’m most preoccupied with ‘work’ as the top priority. Following work, I try and help my mum and my family so ‘love’ and ‘play’ is intertwined here. Relationships with my family are strengthened through leisure time at the parks, home altar and temple worship and general everyday conversations.

I just finished my 10 week class program of yoga. I am thinking of buying a membership with my local leisure centre. I plan to go 2 days a week.

3. Any design problems?

In terms of ‘work,’ I want to finish designing my design portfolio before this year ends. My problem is because my mind is finding it an ‘overwhelming’ task so I am left with prioritising other things. I should use my low-key peaks or early morning times when I’m most awake/alert to do work on it.

Building your compass


1. Short reflection on my ‘WORKVIEW’
Why work? (work in the broadest sense)
What’s work for?
What does work mean?
How does it relate to individual, others, society?
What defines good/worthwhile work?
What does money have to do with it?
What do experience, growth & fulfilment have to do with it?

I picture work as an ‘action-filled’ term that in essence is part of the ‘purpose of life.’ I think we are ‘productive’ species. So when we work, we help carry on a piece of mission. This mission could be someone in need of skills, talents, knowledge. We work to also ‘find’ ourselves, uncover our strengths and weaknesses, meet new people, learn from the people, learn new skills, teach those skills. Work is a sharing, engaging, collaborative community.

I’m not sure on the second question. Work is for everyone? Even if it is small job/choir or for a short period. We work to ‘finish/accomplish’ something… Work makes society? If we didn’t work, there would be no society, no helping, no social relationships built, no skill-sharing, no information/knowledge… no advancement?!

Work attempts to solve an issue, make something better. To solve/question/go about our lives, we work. Work to find meaning of life? Again finding ourselves through work? Can we work alone? Yes but it seems the ‘social’ aspect is always there. Our work affects people…

Why do people do different work? Do they think of their own mission to fulfil? Or is it part of their quest to search for it? Does fate come in?

Does religion/spirituality affect some kind of ‘work-calling?’ If so, people are key to work. They help lead us to a direction that helps us get somewhere. That means, each individual helps each person and that ‘each person’ helps other people and it continues… Also, the state of the world is NOT perfect. We hear it on the news etc. Work is a reason to IMPROVE the issue – homelessness, poverty, environmental issues… Have we caused this? Is work some kind of ‘rectifying’ act of us. This may relate to the CONTEXT to us. I’m not sure if I can ‘work’ in Africa to solve a ‘poverty’ issue. Over here in Australia, I could solve the ‘homeless’ issue in the city streets (location/geography). Start where you are…

Some people ‘work’ because they seem to be ‘born’ with a talent – acting, singing, drawing – But everyone has different skills. Do I call them lucky that they are ‘famous’ or was it due to the fortunate ‘technology,’ ‘people/media’ influence they had…

We can work because we need the money. In dire circumstances, people’s motivation to wake up and go to work is purely because they need to pay the bills. But their work may not be satisfying because they are not using their ‘unique’ skills – the skills/talents they were gifted by God? Is it just the skills? But they can be ‘good’ at the work – perhaps they can change their attitude and be happy? What happened back then in the old times? Did they work to get money? (Need to read/research about this)

At the moment, I want to work because 1. I want to start making money, maybe saving a little, help mum pay the bills (have to/need to – for survival?) and I have something to share with people/society (I have knowledge, I was trained to draw, think, write, design…). So money is a little factor here. What if we paid all our mortgage/rent and have a surplus of money? Do we continue to gain more money? Money…? Is money like a ‘reward?’  We should be grateful then. If we can use ‘money’ to acquire things, use it for leisure and experiences, money is just a ‘continuous’ cycle. We use money to pay this and that, we give money for charity… money goes around… This is tricky (Need to read more about this)

When we ‘work’ on a skill, we develop it and we become ‘masters’ or ‘professionals’ as one calls it. It’s okay to say that we can go ‘higher’ in rank in our work right? I would feel good if I achieved something higher. In terms of ‘finding ourselves,’ I think growth in this aspect is okay. We ‘grow’ professionally and maybe even personally by having a lot of experience in our work. That means we can tackle a bigger project right? Maybe work overseas too? That sounds exciting!

^ 02/07 – first draft

ntread: http://returntonow.net/2017/02/24/upon-time-no-thing-work/


2. Short reflection on my ‘LIFEVIEW’

Why are we here?
What’s the meaning or purpose of life?
What’s the relationship betw. the individual & others?
Where do family, country & the rest of the world fit in?
What is good, & what is evil?
Is there a higher power, God, or something transcendent, & if so, what impact does this have on your life?
What’s the role of joy, sorrow, justice/injustice, love, peace & strife in life?

Note: My battery died and five paragraphs was wiped out. I forgot to save my work. Sigh. Let’s try this again.

I’m not sure how to go about these questions. Should I put my ‘designer’ hat on? Or should I be a ‘human?’ (no status, no occupation etc).

Well, at this point in time, I think the question hints the answer. ‘We’ are here because… not ‘I’ am here because. I have been thinking that if I begin with ‘I,’ I feel selfish. Note – I feel selfish for being so focused on my job-hunt that I feel like everything is revolved around me. But after a couple of chapters into ‘What colour is your parachute?’ by Richard Bolles, I am reminded of ‘me’ surrounded my other people on this globe. There is an ‘I’ to my purpose in life, but I think ‘we’ are all tied/involved together. The words: sharing, collective, relationships pop into my head.

I am open to learning and hearing perspectives from ‘solo’ humans (nuns, monks, hermits, nomads etc). How do they live like that? How do they interact? How does relationships come in? I thought I could live well ‘independently…’ Until I am reminded that I am more fulfilled and inspired when I try hard with my relationships – especially my close family & friends. I am sure it is the case for you too. Relationships are hard. The ‘social’ side is difficult and complex. Everyone’s relationships is different. I see ‘relationships’ portrayed everywhere – tv/movies, social media. I can have a relationship with an object but with ‘someone…’ – human to human – it is eye-opening, heart touching/wrenching and honest.

It is fair to say that everyone is different – different circumstances, context & background. Everyone’s purpose will be different. I honestly tried to find an ‘objective’ framework that could help answer to the purpose of life, the meaning of life etc but it didn’t go so well. Do I go out and preach to everyone to believe in ‘……?’ Can I believe in God and leave the ‘religion’ part? (Sorry for getting a bit deep? These are my questions I have after my many experiences). Is one most right? How do I know ‘I’m’ right? How do I know they’re right?

I have discovered that there is an element of ‘subjectivity’ which makes it interesting and special to each individual (it’s how stories are begun & passed down!) Although, I have realised that we all share some ‘objective’ common ground – ‘universal values.’ Human values – we want to be ‘loved.’ We like justice. We like freedom.

But where do they come from? Have we progressed as humans carrying these values? Genes? Evolution? Or does God come in? Yikes, this is becoming philosophical. I’m not sure how to answer about ‘good’ and ‘evil…’ but I have some background learning about God and Christianity. If there was a God that is described in the Bible, I would say that we can do good to the world but we are deep down ‘flawed’ in nature. I won’t get to deep but I have realised that humans are complex creatures and

The notion of a higher power resonates with me. I try to ‘objectively’ see it – through nature, my surrounding family and friends, the coincidental people I meet, my strengths and weaknesses. How can they come just of a gene…? Do criminals bad because of their circumstances or are they defected during their birth? Again, why? There has to be something bigger. There has to be a bigger purpose. I’ve learned that I don’t have all the knowledge. Why? Because I am human. If you would like to talk more about this, I would love to have a dialogue with you too!

Hmm, I will touch on lighter matters now. I see that everyone is trying to ‘conquer’ something/someone. We all have human after all. We all ‘need’ each other. We all ‘help’ each other. Maybe this is why everyone’s story is different?

Sorry, I think I will end it here. I might go over it another time. Breathe in… Breathe out.

^ 16/07 – first draft


Getting unstuck

Mind mapping exercise:

Map 1: Activity most engaged in

engage – occupy complete attention

synonyms – immersed, captivate, occupied, absorb, concentrate

brainstorming… some kind of OBSERVING activity, organising/filing/planning/analysing, thinking & writing

Map 2: Activity most energized in

energized – to be rouzed in activity

synonyms – inspired, stimulated, motivated, excited

brainstorming… when i’m doing something OUTDOORS, travel/go to sites – meet new people there, when the activity involved CREATIVITY/arts – exploring, experimenting, trying this & that – WORKSHOP/STUDIO

Map 3: Activity in most a state of flow

flow- to process continuously & smoothly
synonyms – progression

brainstorming… reading, thinking, imagining


Life des. 1 That thing you are already doing or thinking of doing
6 WRD HEADLINE: Formal & Informal. Baby step growing and meeting people.
Working small firm + volunteering
Qns to ponder:
1. Can I do stuff other than computer drwg? – do a mixture of write reports, conceptual sketch, visit sites, arch photography?
2. What qualifications/certificates do i need in order to submit writing, essays, …?
Life des. 2 That thing you do if Life Design 1 were suddenly gone
6 WRD HEADLINE: Beyond architecture. Beyond sustainability. Beyond, broad.
Work at non traditional arch firm – admin role? arch assisant? personal assistant? interdisciplary design firm, consultant? ENVIRONMENT BROADER…?
+ volunteering + FREELANCE WRITING ( arch, enviro, faith)
Qns to ponder:
1. What other way can i engage with arch? step out of ‘arch’ as in buildings – architecture in production des – VISUAL arts/expression/illustraiton
– work in council?
– ngo? eg. arrcc

Life des. 3 If money or image was no object to you

6 WRD HEADLINE: Interdesciplinary. All rounder. Engage. 

Travel around world, take pics, document, report – writing, exhibition, art bks, interview people, & more professional ppl
– built enviro
– social & cultural
– religious & spiritual
– creative arts – film/video, drawing

Qns to ponder:
1. money, funded, scholarship to TRAVEL…?

12/08 – sorry, I forgot to note the date I wrote these entries. It was most likely written in July.