At the Alchemia Group we are helping our clients think & act differently in regards to their wealth and its impact on thier family - because we know it is more than just numbers and plans, it's the Balance of Art & Science with Pragmatism and Vision.

The Design of Your Life (August 4, 2017)


This is the third post based on my commencement talk at the Marine Military Academy. I got sidetracked thinking and writing about ‘prized possessions’. I also apologize in advance for all the links I’ve included. I generally avoid them as I believe they disrupt flow. In this case each one is placed to hopefully deepen your look at this topic.

The pursuit of your dreams is a common theme in many talks but how to do that is another subject altogether. I think the best advice, no matter how young or old you are, is not to stress about passions but look at interests. The most popular course for juniors and seniors at Stanford University is not an engineering course, although in some sense it may be. The course is titled Designing Your Life (check it out and is taught by Professor Bill Burnett and Professor Dave Evans. It has led to a book, Designing Your Life, and what has become a movement (

The book outlines an actual roadmap for pursuing an interest, including how to sample or prototype what it would be like to ‘live your interest’. The authors provide many examples and worksheets. As they point out you will probably have many interests (or passions) over the course of your lifetime. There is no reason you must choose only one. You can sample many.

I find this idea particularly helpful for parents who are urging their adult children to ‘figure out what you want to do’. I’ve seen many ‘failure to launch’ scenarios become incredibly painful because of a lack of certainty about the correct path. As with many parts of life, too many choices can lead to paralysis. When you realize you can pick one to try with the knowledge that others are still open to you the world feels better.

I believe some of the language and ideas in Designing Your Life could be used to provide very thoughtful guidance for trustees and others charged with making inheritances empowering and enhancing for future generations.

Thank you for reading.



The Design of Your Life (August 4, 2017)