My View of the Meaning of Life


The fourth Design Thinking mode from the Stanford Model is prototype.  Prototyping deals with the construction of something, putting ideas into action, formulating concepts, and taking the abstract ideas from your mind and making them concrete in a representational form.  For this module’s assignment, I was asked practice this idea of prototyping prior to experimenting without actually using my Problem of Practice ideas, but instead, I was to choose from a list of very broad “Big Ideas” to create a prototype representation of using objects around my home.

The Big Idea that I chose was “My View of the Meaning of Life,” and, while I didn’t necessarily struggle coming up with the ideas that make up my meaning of life, I struggled finding items to represent those things, because they were so abstract. I did the best I could and here is a picture of what I created with a short description below.


The meaning of life for me consists of some of the simplest of things; FAITH, FAMILY, LOVE, HEALTH, HAPPINESS, FUN, TRAVEL, DISCOVERY, MEMORIES, and BEAUTY.  Here is my philosophy and the items around my home that represent those things.

The basis of life and, therefore the center point of my creation is FAITH, which is represented here by the open Bible. It is my dose of daily strength and includes what I hope to convey in my daily routine of life.  It is at the epicenter of my creation because it’s connected and interwoven in everything I do and serves as the foundation for the other things in the photo.

Next, I believe that family helps to create meaning in life and is truly the support and backbone of why I do the things I do.  The FAMILY component is represented by the picture frame which holds a picture of my immediate family members.  In life, I want to represent my family in a positive way and I also have their support in all of life’s endeavors.  One day, I hope to have kids and a family of my own.  Without my family, I am nothing.

I have included love letters in my design creation that my grandparents wrote back and forth to one another when my grandpa was in Korea.  Their love for one another is an example for me and truly displays the love and affection that you should not only have for one another, but for life itself.  LOVE your life and those in it.

The pineapple and running shoes are a representation of HEALTH.  In order to make the most and get the most out of life, we must nourish our bodies in a healthy way and maintain quality of life.  I try my best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with the occasional cheat time of course, in order to stay active and able.

The dominos are a representation of HAPPINESS and FUN.  This means a great deal to me in life because it’s too short to be nothing but happy and it should be a journey packed full of fun along the way.

The suitcase represents TRAVEL and DISCOVERY.  You are not able to experience all that life has to offer if you don’t get out and travel to new places and discover new things.  It only adds to the quality of life and also creates happiness and fun.

The camera encompasses the idea of MEMORIES.  In all you do, get lost in the moment and retain those memories that you create all along the way.  Capture them and hold on to them.  Lots of things can be taken from you, but the memories you create cannot.

Finally I have included a bouquet of flowers to represent BEAUTY.  Beauty means different things to different people, but, in all of life’s situations, try your best to find the beauty in all of them.  Each obstacle, each triumph, and all those experiences in between were all meant to happen, good, bad, or indifferent.  The key to living the best life is to find beauty in all of life’s moments because each of them are precious if we look for it.

All of these things are connected together by twine.  Part of my life philosophy includes finding balance.  While some of these things are the most important things to me, it’s important to find balance in any way possible.  I am a teacher, a coach, a learner, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, and so on in life.  I spend a lot of time serving others, which is crucial in life but, I also need to make time for my own fun and my own happiness which is why I included some of the other items and connected them with those foundational ideas.

Finally, there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout my prototype design.  The puzzle pieces represent the fact there are all sorts of pieces that can be connected in your life, but you must take the time to find the right ones that work in your puzzle of life in order for them to piece together.  This takes time, just like a puzzle.  It’s okay to work on small sections at a time, walk away from certain areas only to revisit later, and look for connections along the way.  You will eventually fit every piece in its place.

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