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Your Future Self

Skilled designers often create abstracted representations of the people for whom they design.  These “personae” are based on an in-depth inquiry into the target customer for whatever it is that is being designed.  From the inquiry, an archetype of the customer is created; one with a face and defining qualities as well as needs, goals and values.  Say, for example, that a young designer is working on a new health-oriented website intended for middle-aged users.  The designer might create a persona named Orville who is 45, trying to stay in shape, eager to maintain his health, looking for nutrition tips, exercise guidance, etc.  Orville is a fiction, but one based on a researched understanding of whom this site is being designed for.  In a sense, he’s more real than any individual customer.

 

I’ve seen huge posters of these personae hanging above designers’ desks providing inspiration by reminding the designers of their focus.  The persona is an abstraction but it is, nonetheless, able to motivate and offer real guidance.  It serves as a beacon.

 

An analogous tool exists for life design called the future self. An individual creates this persona by following a guided meditation or other form of inward inquiry. During the inquiry the individual imagines his or her life at some point in the future, say 20 years from now. The future self can be named and its life described and explored. Where does she live? Who is she with? What does she do? Is she happy? He or she might even offer us some useful advice or wisdom, beyond the image, to hold in our present lives.

 

The technique allows us to imagine our lives free from the present’s nagging concerns. We project a crystalized incarnation of our highest values and aspirations. Or course the wisdom offered by this avatar comes from within oneself but from a place of resonance, free of anxiety.  The image and wisdom can be both inspiring and useful.  The future self, once personified, also offers an ever-present resource available as an internal beacon showing us the path to what we aspire to become.

(Other Thoughts and Essays)

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All content copyright 2011-20 Michael D. Rabin, Ph.D., LLC

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