Are You Engineering Your Life Or Letting It Happen To You?

Biological Engineer By Samantha Sutton, PhD
Biological Engineer
Samantha Sutton has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT as a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow. She has presented her life design philosophy to companies such as Google and the National Cancer Institute as well as universities like Duke, Stanford, and Yale.

I am an engineer. I grew up in a family of engineers, building with Legos and electrical sets, and got my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering. So, yes, I have been around the engineering block. 

You're An Engineer...Yes, You!

When I would meet people and they'd find out that I was an engineer, the first response I'd normally get was, "Wow, you must be really smart. How do you think like that?"

This always struck me as a strange response, because the truth is that we are ALL engineers, actually.

Just as an electrical engineer creates a gadget, you create your career. You create your relationships. You create your body, by regulating the inputs in (food) and the outputs out (exercise). We only have neat technologies because an engineer somewhere sat down and engineered them. The same is true of any area of your life. If you have an area of your life that is rocking out and going great, consider that you have done a top-notch job of engineering it.

If you have an area of your life that isn't going as well, consider that it's because you aren't engineering it.

When I first realized that life WAS engineering, I had to laugh at myself. Here I was, this finely-trained engineer who could build any electrical circuit she wanted, or engineer yeast cells to glow green, but I wasn't engineering losing the 20 pounds that I knew would make me happy. I wasn't engineering a great relationship with my boss. I was single and wasn't engineering finding the love of my life.

In fact, in many areas of my life, I wasn't being the engineer at all. I was being a weather reporter, reporting on how my life was going as if I had as much control over my weight or my relationships as a weather reporter has over the weather. I said things like:

  • Off to a meeting with my boss. Let's hope it doesn't end in a fight.
  • I found myself eating the whole box of cookies.
  • I seem to attract boring men.

Imagine what the world would be like if an electrical engineer spoke about electrical systems the way that I spoke about my life. That engineer would say things like, "I wonder if the right components will come together today to make the device?"

That sounds nutty, doesn't it? After all, the job of the engineer is to figure out how to build the device. The parts don't just jump onto the circuit board.

Sure, there are challenges in building a cool new device. But engineers thrive on solving difficult challenges. Consider that you could thrive on solving difficult challenges in your life, too.

My challenge to you, my readers, is to pick an area of your life where you want to engineer a better technology. What challenges do you need to solve? What do you need to do to step up and be the engineer?

P.S.- If you are finally ready to tap into your inner engineer, join me for one of our Design Your Life Weekends (formerly the Life Coaching Crash Course) this summer in Atlanta, Boston, NYC, or Toronto!

Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.


More On This Topic

How To Create More Happiness

Popular Stories


Latest Articles

Latest Articles

Sites We Love

Your article and new folder have been saved!