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Lego Life Lesson Reminders

Building Lego kits reminds me of life lessons… I thought I’d share that with you today.

2019-04-09 10.20.32My husband bought me a Lego Creator kit for a 1967 Mustang. This kit has over 1,400 bricks and pieces, and the completed model will be 13.5 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. The instruction manual has 195 pages for the basic design and about 20 more pages to the super charger engine. Challenging, right?

Have you ever put together Legos? Kits, I mean, although, there is something rather meditative about building something from your imagination using Lego bricks.

Lego kits come with instructions and all the bricks you need to build whatever is pictured on the box.

Here’s how it works. Each page  in the instruction booklet features:

  1. a diagram of the pieces you need to build the sequence on that page.
  2. step by step diagram of how to put those pieces together.
  3. diagram to show you where to put that bit you just built.

Legos provides step by step instructions, and building a Lego offers you an opportunity to be present. I cannot think of or focus on anything else while I am putting together Legos. I am required to stay in the present moment in order to build the kit properly.

Master Creators create Legos beginning with the end in mind. Actually, I think Legos may come up with the end result IDEA first (“Wouldn’t a Millenium Falcon be a cool Lego kit? I wonder how we could do that?”, said some Master Creator somewhere) and then deconstructs the idea (go backwards and creates a series of steps) so that they – the Master Builders – can create a kit with all the pieces to build something amazing.

I applied this deconstruction (start at the end and go backwards) technique on purpose just recently – even though I’ve been using it unconsciously for most of my life.

In the beginning of this post I mentioned that Legos provides an instruction manual (sometimes with over 200 pages). I also recall hearing again and again over the years about how LIFE does not come with an instruction manual. Nor does parenting (although there are hundreds of books on both subjects these days… but they are pretty general and each of us is pretty unique).

Except that maybe life DOES come with instruction manuals. You probably have a set of instructions you’ve developed for many of your daily activities, although you may not realize it. Everything we do during the day requires a series of steps. Let’s use taking a shower as an example – what goes into that? Well, the water has to be running, right? Shampoo, Conditioner, and soap are typically involved – what order you use those in is up to you. Wash cloth or no wash cloth (some folks use those plastic scrubbies). You’ll need a towel within reach to dry off. Do you take clothes into the bathroom with you to get into after you dry off? Think about your bathing process. That’s a series of steps.

Getting the kids ready for school? You probably repeatedly do the same thing each morning to get from waking up to getting out the door.

Brushing your teeth. Doing the dishes. Making a meal.

Step by step. A series of processes. You have created a bunch of mental instruction manuals.

When the goal or desire is bigger, or you want to achieve something on purpose, that process may seem overwhelming, or unclear. How then could you apply the instruction manual, or deconstruction technique, to the bigger things in life? The things you desire? Better job, bigger house, that European vacation (I assume everyone wants one of those).

I used the deconstruction for a dream of mine: the end result or desire – a bigger house. How do I get there? I broke it down, I started at the end and went backwards – probably just like the Lego Master Builders. To move into a bigger house, I need to move out of this littler house and I’d like to rent this one rather than sell it. This littler house is not ready to be rented as it is, so I need to improve a couple of things – kitchen, driveway. I also need to qualify for a loan for that bigger house, and be able to pay the mortgage. I’ll need money for both of those things – to fix little house, to pay for bigger house. I have a little income, but I’ll need more, so I need a side hustle. Going backwards, and WRITING IT DOWN, helps me to SEE the process to get where I want to go, and to help me stay on track as I head there – because life will present challenges and try to knock me off track. A written plan will keep me moving forward.

I wrote an instruction manual to get a house.

You can do the same thing to get a job, buy a car, improve a relationship, get into better shape, be a better parent, finish college, or what ever it is that you desire. Step by step, you build upon the foundation of your desire until you get to the end. And you can do this over and over again.

That’s what Legos reminded me about today. I can write my own instruction booklet for every desire I have, big and small. And if I follow the steps, I will reach my goals.

For now though, I’m going to go work on that Mustang!