This article first appeared on Alpha Efficiency Magazine: Issue Collecting, subscribe and buy here
Life is a lot like a Lego house; it’s made up of a collection of conscious and unconscious selections you make every day. Its shape, colour and stability are determined by those selections, and the result is unique to you.
The kind of Lego house you want to build is unlikely to be the same as anybody else – everybody’s tastes are different. What you consider to be beautiful and artistic others may consider garish and ugly. What matters is that your house reflects the life you want to lead, not what others think you should build.
The building blocks
There are three fundamental building blocks to any Lego house:
Philosophy blocks are those that you select on the basis of the values you hold and the goals you pursue in alignment to these values. Perhaps money is important to you; perhaps it’s family, or community. Knowingly or not you’ll gradually collect blocks that align to these values and goals: the desire to be charitable, the need to stay in touch with friends and family, the pursuit of job satisfaction and progression.
These Philosophy blocks are likely to be at the very foundation of your Lego house. They are introduced early in the construction process and are the hardest ones to unpick when you’re redesigning it.
Process blocks describe the routines and procedures you carry out every day to go about your daily business. This could be a morning jog before work, the way you organise your emails, or the 30-minute power nap you take every Thursday. If you consider the philosophy blocks to be the *why* of your Lego house, the process blocks are the *how*. These blocks are often the most external aspect, and will not only determine your behaviours but also how others perceive you.
Chances are you’re often adding new process blocks to your Lego house, and others are regularly removed (or may simply fall off).
“…chances are that you’ll be experimenting with something new at any given point (downloaded any apps recently?)…”
Tool blocks are the most basic commodity. Whether it’s your phone, an app, a notepad, a car…every day you select a raft of tools that shape and support your daily routines.
Tool blocks are the most superficial aspect of the Lego house, and depending on your approach you might be adding and taking away these blocks on a daily basis. Some of them (like your phone or yor car) might be a more permanent feature of the Lego house; others will come and go in the blink of an eye.
If you’re happy with the configuration of your house, you may not be chopping and changing your tool blocks as often. The inquiring mind is often distracted though, so chances are that you’ll be experimenting with something new at any given point (downloaded any apps recently?)
Building your house
Some people have a clear idea of what they want their finished house to look like before they even start building it. Others like to take a more iterative approach, and are influenced by how the house develops, making changes to the design as they go. Some people make no conscious design decisions at all, and may not even be aware they’re adding more blocks to the structure.
There’s nothing wrong with iterating and redesigning your Lego house; in fact I encourage it. But for a truly fruitful and fulfilling experience you can’t design your house entirely by accident. Alpha individuals follow a design process to constantly shape and improve themselves:
Identify/Discover is about being open to new building blocks, and seeking opportunities to find them. This discovery phase allows an individual to collect a bucket of new blocks that could potentially be incorporated into the house.
Review is a conscious process of assessing the new block. What kind of block is it? How do I feel about it? What will it add to my house? Does it fit with my other blocks? Is it the right time for me to be adding it? Should I try it out for a while?
Incorporate/Discard describes a deliberate decision-making process about whether to add the block as a permanent/semi-permanent feature of your house. This may not be a big decision if it’s a small block (like a tool), but requires serious thought if it’s something weighty like a new value or a fundamental process change. Don’t disregard the implications of choosing to incorporate – adding one tool may not be a big deal but if you’re putting lots of unnecessary little blocks on your house it could become unwieldy and unstable. Once a block is discarded, it needs to be destroyed. You don’t want lots of rejected blocks cluttering up the place and potentially making their way back into the Review pile.
Deconstruct/Amend is something that Alphas need to do regularly. It’s part of the mindfulness mindset, and describes the process of asking yourself *do I really need this?* *Is it working for me?* *How could Improve it?* Fiddling with the peripheral blocks in this way is a doddle; the real challenge is in inspecting and extracting the older, more embedded blocks on which other aspects of your house might be reliant.
“…for a truly fruitful and fulfilling experience you can’t design your house entirely by accident…”
Be proud of your house
Your Lego house is your creation, warts and all. If you’re unhappy with it, change it. If it’s working for you, be proud of it and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If you’re regularly reviewing, improving and refining your Lego house it will be a structure you can depend on for years to come, and one you can be proud to share with the world.