I am Daniela, join me in the journey of uncovering creativity from the perspective of an unconventional designer

Life stories about challenges and decisions

Life stories about challenges and decisions


A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to create a Day of Learning at Eindhoven during the World Design Event. Based on the topic Hack your mindset to revolve your life, we carried out short interviews with attendants of the Dutch Design Week at Ketelhuisplein. We asked them for short stories where they had experienced challenges in their lives and asked them to tell us how they overcame them, what they learned and what they will recommend for other people going through similar situations in their lives.

I am proud to say that we collected 10 very interesting stories among people of different ages and backgrounds. Some of them didn’t want to share their names, so we'll leave those in anonymity.

Enjoy the following stories, given by all these authentic people who were brave enough to share their experience and advice with us all!

About having opportunities as a young person

Maria had worked at the Phillips factory in Eindhoven since a young age, approximately 45 years back. Back then, her opportunities were limited and she had to work to make a living. After a couple of years she got married and had children, but after raising them, she went back to work for another 20 years until her retirement. Maria's advice is that if you have the possibility, take advantage of your youth, travel the world, study what you want and be free!

  “I didn’t have the opportunities that a lot of young people have now… if I could, I would have taken a year off”

“I didn’t have the opportunities that a lot of young people have now… if I could, I would have taken a year off”

About building a competitive skillset

Cecile and her group of friends are going through the University. Cecile is studying Communication and Multimedia design and for her, it is challenging to create websites, and she still needs help from her professors. However, she has the vision to learn HTML, to create her own portfolio and get an internship to work outside The Netherlands. 

“I want to learn HTML because it is the language of the future”

About finding the correct career

This young man has had some struggles in finding the correct professional career for him. He first began studying to become a primary school teacher, then he changed his career to become an English teacher, but this wasn’t what he wanted either. He decided to take a year off and began working while he decided what he really wanted, which he discovered to be journalism. It was a tough decision, his father was not happy about him changing career, but he had a lot of support from his girlfriend at the time and his mother. 

“I’m happy with the decision and the time and effort that it took to decide”

About finding the strength to overcome the loss of a loved one

This brave young woman has had a difficult time dealing with the loss of her grandmother, who she grew up with, and who died about 3 years ago. At the time, it was difficult for her to be able to move on with her life, and she even had some health issues. She realized that she needed help and that it was good to ask for it. She has had a lot of support from her boyfriend, friends, and family, and now she is even able to talk about it and finds it therapeutical to share her story.

“I'm learning that it is ok to ask for help”

About overcoming fear

Roald, a young man from Germany, joined the fire brigade. During his first 2 weeks, he felt inadequate for the job as he had to deal with wounded people and even with dead bodies. He sought advice from his colleagues and told them how he was feeling. They told him that he needed to work on it and make progress, they shared their experiences with him and gave him support.

“My colleagues helped me… they shared their stories with me of what they believed and it helped me to come to terms with it in a good way”

About making life-changing decisions

Dette studied law, after 20 years working, when she was about 40 years old, she realized that she didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. She decided to leave her job and paycheck and began studying to be a primary school teacher. It was a challenging and scary decision, as she was used to having a regular income and then it was reduced by half. She had the support of her girlfriend and family, which was very important to her. What she found out to give her courage to take the decision was to talk to people about it and take some time to decide.

“Sometimes you just have to take that step, go forward and see what happens… it usually turns out fine”

About financial decisions

A married couple had a challenging moment this year when they had to decide whether to keep or sell their big house. They were facing debt and selling the house would give them the necessary money to get out of it. Even so, they decided to keep their house, invest in it to make it beautiful, and rent some rooms to help them pay their debt. Their advice is to follow the heart and not the money.

“Listen to your heart, money is not everything, it makes your life easier but there are other ways to get your goals, so focus.”

About changing careers and finding love

John was a teacher at a primary school, after 32 years working there, he began studying to become a primary school principal. He studied for 4 years and then had to decide to stay at the same school or go to a different one. He felt as if he were in a roundabout and had to get out of it. He was 50 years old at the moment and made the life-changing decision to move to the eastern part of the country, find a house and a job. He worked at this school for 7 years until he retired. Looking back, he now says that this was a crucial moment of his life, and part of this is because it was then when he met his wife. 

“I took the roundabout as a sign, I had to get out of it and take a change my life as if I was taking a dive in the swimming pool”

About learning languages while living in a foreign country

Huan & Ning are students from China and they are learning Dutch. It is difficult for them to learn it as it is very different from Chinese or English, not only the pronunciation but the grammar. It is important for them to buy groceries and read the letters that they receive by post. 

“It is totally different from Chinese and English… at the supermarket, everything is in Dutch, so I just look at the pictures”

About finding the correct life path

When Yvonne was in art school she had the urge to get a career that she could rely on, so she began studying Education. However, she didn’t like it because she wasn’t developing her creativity as she wanted to. Making the decision to go back to the Fine Arts department again was a difficult one, but it was the correct decision for her at the moment and she has been working with art since. Now, several years later she is at a moment in her life when she wants to have that risky and heart-pumping feeling again.

“I have always thought that I had to do things alone, I need to look more for support and listen to people, ask for help and open the doors”


Special thanks to Yvonne Grootenboer for helping me in the quest of hunting for stories and Hector Vargas for his support and photographic skills. 

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Day of Learning at World Design Event @Eindhoven

Day of Learning at World Design Event @Eindhoven