As a kid, if I wasn’t curled up with a book then I was spread out on the floor with my LEGOs, constructing spaceships and castles — recreating scenes from the stories I enjoyed. My reading and LEGO building went hand-in-hand! And like the books I read, I learned a lot from those simple plastic blocks.
With all those happy memories of building both by myself and with my LEGO loving friends, I was pretty pumped when my son Felix recently took to the toys. We’ve had some sets around, but up until a few months ago he showed no interest in them. His four-year-old fingers are finally adept at popping the pieces together, and he’s ready for the toys intellectually as well. He’s developed a love of procedures, and so following the directions in the booklets to make cars and firetrucks and the like gives him great joy. Even if he can’t yet work with the tiniest of blocks, he searches for them in the pile and sets them up for me or his mom to snap in place for him.
Working with him the other day — and I take LEGO so seriously, I say “work” instead of “play!” — I started thinking about all the ways in which LEGO are awesome teaching tools. I don’t mean like, “They teach dexterity,” though they obviously help improve it. No, I’m talking philosophically here, folks. Those bricks, with their shiny smooth surface, have life lessons hidden deep within them.
Click on to find out what I’m talking about, and then please leave your own words of LEGO wisdom in the comments section!
Click on to learn the wisdom of the blocks… 1 of 10
There's some good lessons in there.
You need to have a plan… 2 of 10
A person doesn't just jump into something, right? If you want to build a house of LEGO or a house of stone, you need a plan. And if you want to reach a dream, you need to think about the baby steps that you take to get there. Forethought is an important quality for being successful in life.
But be open to inspiration… 3 of 10
That said, you want to avoid becoming too rigid. When things are underway, you sometimes see opportunities that you didn't think you'd have. Like, I could build a LEGO greenhouse on the back of my house! Or take a volunteer opportunity that might help me get that dream job. Often, inspiration reaches out to grab us midstream, and you have to be willing to let go of the plan and follow it.
And don’t be upset if things don’t come out exactly how you thought they would. 4 of 10
Alright, so that house doesn't look quite how you imagined it might, or perhaps you're not where you had hoped you would be in your life at this point. That doesn't mean you've failed! You might find ways to play with your house that you didn't anticipate, accidental pleasures. And if not, so what. Don't beat yourself up about it. Remember...
Don’t fret when things fall apart. They can be rebuilt! 5 of 10
Was a beautiful LEGO truck coming together and then—crash! It fell off the table? Or did you just get frustrated that your plan wasn't taking shape the way you intended? Don't cry over past mistakes, accidental or otherwise. It's always possible to start over. In fact, it's a good feeling, being at the beginning of things again.
Complicated things are built of small, simple components. 6 of 10
Those beautiful, big LEGO castles that you see on the front of the box, or those really cool, elaborate LEGO sculptures people make, all began the same way—from a bunch of simple blocks. So too do careers, or other life goals, form—in simple baby steps. Put together over time, things seem complex. But they're easy to understand when broken down!
You must be patient… 7 of 10
Are things not clicking into place the way you'd like them to? Hang in there! Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, steady yourself and...
And persistent. 8 of 10
Keep trying! It took Felix a few attempts to get these blocks together, and yes, he did let out a cry of anger, but then he recovered and kept at it. Eventually, success! We can't build a masterpiece in a day, and sometimes you might shed a few tears in the process, but don't give up.
Remember to view things in three-dimensions, from multiple angles. 9 of 10
A lot of times when building a beautiful LEGO toy, there are stages where things just don't look right. In fact, they might look kind of awful. Like, this? This is my helicopter? But then you flip it upside down, or turn it around, and whoop, there it is! Sometimes it's like that in life. What seems like a problem from one angle is simply an opportunity from another.
Sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. 10 of 10
It took Felix and I about an hour or so to make this airplane. He was so proud of his work! But after playing with it with for about ten minutes, he wanted to take it apart and make something new. The building can be more fun then the toy itself, just like the process can be more fun then the product. So enjoy the act of trying to reach your dreams! The struggle to achieve may be more fulfilling then the achievement itself.