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Collateral Beauty

What's been happening with me, you ask? Well, as your favourite author (wink) who mysteriously disappears and resurfaces, I've been on a journey of self-discovery and self-teaching.

Let me dive into the details.

Do you remember that scene from the movie 'Bruce Almighty'? There's a moment where God poses a question: If you ask for patience, does God grant you patience directly, or does He give you opportunities to practice patience? I wholeheartedly believe that while we consume a plethora of motivational content, true motivation comes from within when we have the chance to inspire ourselves. And this year, I experienced one of those profound "teaching myself" moments.

Now, let's talk about what comes after a goal is complete. Different people have different responses to this question. Some would say, "We're done! Let's take a break." However, I proudly identify myself as a member of the second group—the kind of person who takes on the next goal without hesitation. You know what happens when you repeat this cycle enough times? Regardless of the outcome—success or failure—there's a lingering impact of goals that often goes unnoticed.

At this stage, the inertia resulting from all my thoughts and actions becomes incredibly powerful. It reaches a point where all I can do is procrastinate, adding a touch of stress to the mix. Eventually, I'm left with no choice but to let things unfold naturally. It's only when this inertia begins to fade away that new goals can take center stage. However, if you manage to evade this inertia repeatedly and find yourself without any specific goals, you'll discover a pause that resembles a cocktail of emotions—a blend of all the feelings left behind by those previous pursuits.

What I am beginning to realize is that teaching myself to pause is a skill that I just don't possess, despite priding myself on being a patient person. Living within a pause, with a vague horizon in sight, is what everyone seeks in life, right? And yet, I find myself uncomfortably restless in those moments of pause.

What does this mean? In truth, it simply means that my focus has always been on starting and pursuing goals, rather than finding a mental foundation that allows me to embrace both goals and moments of stillness. Restlessness is the result of inertia and can only be alleviated when we learn to embrace pauses. So, after a decade of studying and preparing myself for the challenges of the world, I realized that I hadn't taken a true mental break in over ten years. From the moment someone first mentioned excelling in my school exams to the exhilarating toss of a graduation cap, life has shown me its length while reminding me of its fleeting nature. We need to walk that tightrope, but perhaps we can do it better and smarter.

As I step into this new decade, my focus has shifted from solely chasing goals to valuing the quality of the breaks I take to accommodate the rhythm of life. So, in the spirit of this transformative pause, I assure you, that I haven't joined a mysterious cult (to the collective relief of us all).Instead, I am learning to think slower and react later. I embrace moments of procrastination and reflection. I contemplate various options and gather ideas. I look back at the things I've truly enjoyed and incorporate them to my heart's delight. I stop when needed. I allow myself to be reckless and surprise myself. I meet people and celebrate moments. And maybe, just maybe, in the clearing that lies within these intentional pauses, I'll stumble upon an idea that can be beautifully packaged into a new and meaningful goal like Lego did.

Oh snap! You didn’t think I was going to end this piece without bringing my favourite toy brand into context. (or any brand really?)

Bare with me. Here goes nothing!

One of the most remarkable stories of a brand's triumphant return after taking a well-deserved break is that of Lego, a beloved Danish toy company. In the early 2000s, Lego faced its fair share of financial struggles and witnessed a disheartening decline in sales. As a company that had rapidly expanded into various product lines, Lego found itself drowning in debt. The LEGO Group stood at a crucial crossroads, desperately needing to reinvent itself to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world.

And so, in 2004, Lego made a courageous decision to press pause and embark on a transformative journey of introspection. They set out on a comprehensive restructuring plan, aptly named "The Road to Enfield," paying homage to the location of their esteemed headquarters. This bold plan revolved around the core principles of streamlining operations, refocusing on their fundamental products, and most importantly, reigniting their deep connection with their loyal fan base.

During this profound break, Lego temporarily halted the development of new sets. Instead, they redirected their energy towards enhancing the quality and innovation of their existing products. They made significant investments in research and development, fervently striving to create more captivating and creative building experiences. What's more, LEGO actively sought and welcomed invaluable feedback from their passionate community of builders, enthusiasts, and parents. By intently listening to their needs, desires, and preferences, Lego gained profound insights that guided their journey forward.

But that wasn't all. During this respite, Lego discovered the immense potential of digital platforms, embracing technology as a means to enrich the Lego experience. They introduced Lego Digital Designer, an interactive software that empowered users to design and build virtually, transcending the boundaries of physical bricks. Moreover, they opened the gates to imagination through the launch of Lego Ideas, an innovative platform that invited fans to submit their own mesmerizing designs for potential production.

And oh, what a comeback it was! The result of Lego's inspiring break and strategic reevaluation was nothing short of astonishing. The company's iconic brick sets experienced a resurgence in popularity, catapulting Lego back into the hearts and minds of people worldwide. Lego became synonymous with boundless imagination, unparalleled creativity, and the sheer joy of play. Through strategic partnerships with beloved franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter, Lego ingeniously brought treasured characters and enchanting worlds to life, captivating the imaginations of young and old alike.

Lego's triumphant return after a much-needed break is a testament to the extraordinary power of introspection, innovation, and a profound reconnection with the essence of their brand. By allowing themselves the precious gift of pause, Lego not only revitalised their identity but also created an even deeper bond with their cherished audience. Today, Lego continues to inspire boundless imagination, nurture creativity, and stand as an iconic symbol of playfulness and wonder across the globe.

Ah, the toy that taught us the art of building. If even Lego can gracefully take a pause, then surely we can learn a thing or two from their example. It's a powerful reminder that sometimes, the most beautiful realizations come when we allow ourselves to pause, take a step back, and appreciate the collateral beauty that arises from building our lives brick by brick.


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