Life Lessons From LEGOS: The Art Of Doing Small Things Well
Snap, click, click, ah the wonderful sound of LEGOS, and the sweet sound of childhood. We used to sit there for hours, my brother and I. One block after the next, one page of instructions at a time, clicking little plastic boxes together with the utmost concentration and care. Little did I know, I was practicing one of life's biggest skills, the art of doing small things well.
Last year when I made a book, I had to learn all the steps of book production. I was shocked by the sheer number of decisions required. After all, this was just a book. Imagine the complexity of building something like a car, company, or skyscraper. I don't event want to think about the number of decisions that requires, there are so many.
Any time you look at the finished product of a project as a whole, it always seems too big, complicated, and unmanageable. If instead you tackle it like the LEGO kits I used to build, it's a much more accessible way of doing things. Sure LEGO comes with a set of instructions, mitigating some of the risk, but the overall lesson remains the same. Do the small things well.
Let's say you want to become a world class chef. You still have to sit there chopping vegetables like everyone else. The best chefs get this though, they understand that Michelin-star dishes are made from quality ingredients and careful preparation. E.g. if you bake a cake and half the ingredients are rotten, it's going to be terrible. Every piece needs to be assembled properly, no matter how dull or tedious the task.
Our lives are the sum of our days, days the sum of hours, hours the sum of minutes, etc. How we spend this time is our choice, but it's important to understand how these moments add up. Each day is like one piece in the LEGO kit of life. Assemble the pieces poorly and the finished product is subject to falling apart.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but doing small things well can actually be one of the most difficult challenges we face. Because, there's usually no immediate pay-off and it just feels like pointless work. Doing twenty-five pushups once will just make your arms hurt. If you're disciplined enough to do it every day, well that's an entirely different story.
Great creators of the world understand the need for excellence even on the most minute scale. Playing LEGO, two bricks make nothing, fifty bricks make a wing, but one-thousand bricks assembled with love can make a space ship. And well, that's pretty magical.