This week I learned a new word: languishing. I was familiar with the concept but I didn't know there was a word for it, meaning: a sense of stagnation and emptiness, or the feeling of Blah.
You might have come across this NY Times article as well, written by Adam Grant, in which he describes the meaning of the word and why it “might be the dominant emotion of 2021”. Nearly 20 years ago a sociologist named Corey Keyes coined the term languishing since he was struck that many people who weren’t depressed also weren’t thriving.
In his article, Grant zooms in specifically on the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. As a millennial I feel that this word is more than relevant for me and my fellow millennials, who continually seem to be on a journey of 'Beating the feeling of Blah'. As I was looking around me these last couple of years, I wondered how I could use my design skills to help myself and my peers overcome this constant battle of being relevant but feeling numb and unattached to anything we pursue.
Helping out millennial-me
What started as a personal urge for creative and practical tools for life and a genuine interest in helping my friends navigate messy middles, has resulted in developing a Design Approach to Life.
From creating artsy exercises as easy-fix solutions and developing these into a comprehensive approach for personal development, has been a design project in itself. In order to go from make-do workbooks to practical, structured and creative tools I needed to fully grasp what millennial-me was mostly struggling with. In-depth research, both on-and offline, showed me they were in need of a mental filtering system for mapping priorities and crafting a life that suits their strengths and motivations.
To help them beat the feeling of Blah, I needed to transform thoughts into focus and actionable plans so that they would feel this instead:
Feel confident about their own qualities
Have more compassion for themselves
Feel inspired about what drives them
Feel knowledgeable about their intrinsic motivations
Have clarity and focus for future life decisions
From Languishing to High on Life
Design methods and tools lend themselves extremely well for self-exploration practices. Over the years I have created and facilitated numerous creative sessions where I designed all the exercises and tools in such a way to assist people in bringing about intrinsic wants and needs. By making use of tangible props and visual prompts I enable people to make the implicit more explicit and streamline their thought process.
This experience lays the groundwork for how I now use my design skills to provide my fellow millennials with an antidote to languishing. Not by handing them a bite-size solution or facilitating hours-long workshops but by arming them with a practical toolkit to get to know themselves well and develop a clearer sense of direction in life. I truly believe the first step to beating the Blah is identifying who you are and what’s important to you so that you can start centering all that you do around your strengths and motivations.
The High on Life Kit
Pictured above: The High on Life Kit let’s you creatively explore who you are in 5 hands-on exercises, all from the comfort of your own home. With step-by-step video guidance I will facilitate your process, every step of the way. You’ll be reflecting on your core characteristics, energizing activities, intrinsic motivations that shape you and aspirations for the future. All together concluding in a structured and visual overview of your own personal guiding principles in life and the first steps you can take towards concrete action.