The Life Discovery Canvas is not a simple 2x2 matrix, but a multiple-dimension model for visualizing a holistic view. However, the 2x2 matrix is a subset of the canvas.
I divide the canvas into four areas from the view of the 2x2 matrix:
THINK: What should I Think for myself?
SAY: What should I Say to others?
LEARN: What should I Learn for my life?
DO: What should I Do for others?
The THINK area echoes the Theory area of Thematic Space Canvas. For Life Discovery Activity, I consider two pairs of concepts for the THINK area:
Supplies — Demands
Aspirations — Situations
I will offer more details for each pair of concepts. For present discussion, I only focus on Spatial Structure.
The LEARN area echoes the PRACTICE area of Thematic Space Canvas. For Life Discovery Activity, I consider two pairs of concepts for the LEARN area:
Skills — Knowledge
Themes — Contradictions
The SAY area echoes the END area of Thematic Space Canvas. For Life Discovery Activity, I consider two pairs of concepts for the SAY area:
Resources — Opportunities
Results — Contributions
The DO area echoes the MEANS area of Thematic Space Canvas. For Life Discovery Activity, I consider two pairs of concepts for the DO area:
Concepts — Ideas
Solutions — Problems
The above pairs of concepts are inspired by the Project-centered approach.
3. Two Subspaces
The Life Discovery Canvas is divided into two subspaces: Inner Space and Outer Space.
The Inner Space contains the following concepts:
Supplies — Skills
Aspirations — Themes
Resources — Results
Concepts — Solutions
The Outer Space contains the following concepts:
Demands — Knowledge
Situations — Contradictions
Opportunities — Contributions
Ideas — Problems
4. A Multiple-dimension Model
I have emphasized that the Life Discovery Canvas is not a simple 2x2 matrix for building a typology, but a multiple-dimension model for visualizing a holistic view in order to sense-make a dynamic meaningful whole.
Now let’s look at more dimensions.
4.1 The Self — Other Relevance
There is a dimension behind the “Left — Right” direction: the Self — Other Relevance.
I have introduced the Relevance of Zone in the Life Discovery Toolkit (v1.0). It considers four keywords: Self, Other, Thing, Think. It was inspired by the iART Framework and the Typology of Relevance. You can find more details from
One of the theoretical resources behind the Life Discovery Activity is Activity Theory which is originally about “Production”.
The “Think — Do” connection refers to the Production Chain. The term “Chain” refers to “Think — Do — Think — Do — Think — DO” which is about a network of project.
4.4 The Communication Chain
I also consider Relevance Theory as one of theoretical resources for the Life Discovery Activity. The Relevance Theory is more about communication.
The “Learn— Say” connection refers to the Communication Chain. The term “Chain” refers to “Learn — Say— Learn— Say— Learn— Say” which is about communities, platforms or other social contexts of projects.
A person has an expectation of her or his life achievement in the future. This is called Anticipation. For example, a friend of mine made a vision for her ideal life in general and a life plan for the coming three years. This anticipation inspires her to make some decisions which lead to some actions. This is called Feedforward. Her life vision and short life plan guide her to design an adult development program which became her primary project last year.
You can find more details about iART Framework
The Inner Space and Outer Space is guided by the “Internalization — externalization” principle of Activity Theory. I consider the mapping between Inner Space and Outer Space as the starting point of Life Discovery Activity.
This idea echoes the Thematic Space Canvas’s same spatial structure. Since the Thematic Space Canvas is developed for Developing Tacit Knowledge, I call it it “Objective — Subjective” Knowledge Curation. While Objective Knowing refers to the outer space, the Subjective Knowing refers to the inner space.
For Life Discovery Canvas, I just call it the Inner — Outer Mapping. Readers can find the difference between Inner Space and Outer Space from the following sections about pairs of themes.
. We could make a similar visualization from Mapping Life Discovery.
However, I should emphasize that the Inner — Outer Mapping is not the only way of Mapping Life Discovery. Since there are several types of spatial configurations, we can explore more ways of Mapping Life Discovery.
The Inner — Outer Mapping is just the starting point of the journey!
7. THINK: What should I Think for myself?
The THINK area contains two pairs of themes:
Supplies — Demands
Aspirations — Situations
The pair of themes “Supplies — Demands” refers to the first basic principle of the Project-centered approach:
The pair of themes “Aspirations — Situations” refers to two modules of Life Discovery Toolkit (v1.0):
Life Aspiration Orientation: What kind of hero are you?
Life Process Awareness: What is the status of your primary life project?
While the “Supplies — Demands” Mapping is about a discovery about life meaning at an abstract level, the “Aspirations — Situations” Mapping moves to the daily life activities at a concrete level.
8. LEARN: What should I Learn for my life?
The Life Discovery Activity requires designing and developing individuals that learn and adapt. These individuals can bring about their continuing transformation in the face of growing challenges to their stability. Thus, I consider LEARN to be an important area for Life Discovery.
The LEARN area contains two pairs of themes:
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