Every problem is a design problem full of design choices. Even the choice to take a hands-off approach is a design choice. Every decision you make in your life — what to eat for lunch, what to do as a profession, who to hang out with on Saturday night — is a design decision. Each and every one of us does our best to design our life. Why would you ever choose something unless you were convinced that it would further you towards your idea of a successful life, for whatever your idea of a successful life is.
Joel gives a nice description of what design is in his 3-parter. Design is all about making trade-offs — as is life. Everything has an opportunity cost.