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Life: Your Greatest Design Challenge
Determining what defines a happy life is more difficult today than it was for previous generations. Designer Ayse Birsel demonstrates how a shift in perspective can help bridge this newfound difficulty.
Ayse Birsel is co-founder and creative director of Birsel + Seck, an empathy-driven product design studio in New York City that partners with Fortune 500 clients to bring innovation to market. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and has received numerous awards, including the IDEA Gold and ID Magazine Excellence Awards. She is the recipient of the 2001 Young Designer Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the 2008 Rhode Island School of Design's Athena Award in Furniture Design. She has spoken on design at numerous conferences, including the Aspen Design Conference, Design Indaba, AIGA, and IDSA Conferences. Birsel is the author of Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future.
Ayse Birsel: Today I think there are no roadmaps as to how to have a good life. The old rules have disappeared and I was thinking about this the other day that, you know, when I grew up, there was kind of like a roadmap, a simple roadmap that if you went to school perhaps if you did your masters and you got a good job, you got married, you had kids, you know, you did your work. And that was the definition of a good life. And today I think that things have changed so fast that we don’t have that roadmap anymore.
One of the things that I ask people to do is deconstruct their life so that they can see what their life’s made up of. So deconstructing your life holistically, I suggest that you could do it against emotion, intellect, physical, and spirit of your life. And once you look at those four quadrants, it gives you really a sense of your life’s big picture, like 360 degrees. And then you could see: Oh I have a lot of this here and I don’t have a lot of this here. There is some repetitions and you start to see patterns. And once you start to see that, the next step is about developing a point of view. So if you feel that oh, you know, the emotional quadrant for example is not as fulfilling or rich as I want it to be, what I suggest is to maybe think of a metaphor, which is one of the creative tools. And metaphors are great for helping us imagine things using something that’s familiar to us. So maybe if you feel that you don’t have a lot of love in your life, maybe think of a metaphor that’s full of love. And then using that as a hook, imagine how you can bring more love into that.
So one thing that comes to my mind is, for example, a dinner party might be a great environment for love and kind of friendship. And then you could think about well, what’s in a dinner party? Like who’s bringing the food and how do we share it and people bring gifts and so could we use some of that to think well more sharing and more giving could be a way to bring more love into my life. And the metaphor kind of helps you through that process of thinking about love in a different way, which really what I love about design is it gives you tools and the process to think about the things you know differently. Life, like a design project, is full of constraints and challenges and we can’t have everything we want. And often what we want and what we need are opposing. So design process and tools are actually a great way to think about design and to think about the life we want with creativity and optimism.
Determining what defines a happy life is more difficult today than it was for previous generations. In this video, designer Ayse Birsel demonstrates how a shift in perspective can help bridge this newfound difficulty. Once you deconstruct your life, she explains, you'll be able to determine values, opinion, strategies, and vision for everything else moving forward.
For more, check out Birsel's new book, titled Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.