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The Fragility of Lego

Our son loves Lego.

What I'd like to share here is what I've observed about how he builds Lego, and what that's taught me about self-reliance.

Firstly, our son builds Lego by the book.

Meaning, he follows the instructions.

The reason this is important is because he knows what the end product is going to look like.

He has a set expectation even before he connects the first two bricks.

By contrast, when I was around his age, I was more of a free form Lego builder. I still am.

Secondly, our son has reached a level of proficiency where he can build a lot on his own.

That's very much his preference.

The other day he received a new kit as a gift, and he woke up an hour earlier than normal to come downstairs—on his own—to build it.

Once he's finished with a particular project, he's very protective about it. Naturally.

Wouldn't you be?

This means that when his younger sister comes around, he gets a bit tense.

Inevitably, some part of his work or possibly his entire project, will break into several pieces.

If this is his own doing, he's fine. If it isn't his own doing, he's not fine.

So, what has all of this taught me?

Well, I'd like to start by generalizing a bit of the story I just shared.

You've got an individual (our son), putting in a lot of effort on their own to create something (building Lego at 5:30am), with an expectation of what their effort will lead to (what the book shows).

Then, once the individual has finished their creation and they present it to the world, they have a sense of fragility about it (our son being protective against his perilous younger sister).

Doesn't this sound like the process that any creator would go through?

I'm going through it right now, writing these very words.

The reason I've chosen to write about this particular topic in this particular way is because I've recognized my own fragility about things I create.

One way to battle against this fragility is to—as Seth Godin would say—ignore sunk costs.

But for this post, I'd like to focus on a different way to battle against this fragility.

Don't build Lego on your own.

Even if you don't get someone's help in connecting the bricks, at least have a conversation with someone about the bricks you're connecting.

At any stage in your process, choose to be less self-reliant.

Every brick you connect on your own increases your fragility.

Navy blue background with two white Lego bricks in the middle.

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