(Written by William)
A while back, I discussed certain areas that motivate you to play with LEGO. (See post here: What Motivates Your LEGO Creations?) Responding to my post was a comment that got me thinking. The person did not find any need to motivate themselves to play with LEGO. Rather, they played for the experience.
This has led me to the topic at hand. What is your goal with LEGO? Anyone who has picked up a LEGO-brick inevitably has to do something with it. It may be to create a colorful mosaic, a daredevil’s death-mobile, or scale replica of a 1930’s whatever. The point is we build, but in order to do what?
Considering the possibilities, I’ve broken them down into three main categories. The first is to educate. The second is for the experience. And the last is for a purpose. Now mind you; these categories are not mutually exclusive. They do overlap. In fact, things seem to work best when they’re in complete balance. Problems arise when one goal dominates, which causes “Builder’s Block.” (Sorry, that pun was too good to pass up!)
USING LEGO FOR EDUCATION
LEGO recognizes that there is a wealth of learning possibilities with their product. It is one of the key factors why it is such a popular toy. Even programs like LEGO Serious Play show how the education factor can be targeted towards adults.
The simple fact is LEGO is a tool of creation. It gives us new insights on how things can work together. A great builder should always be open to the possibility to learn new ways for a piece to be used.
Many adults when they get back into LEGO can forget this fact. They will see a LEGO piece and know that a piece is used in a certain way and that is it. This is caused by the way we are trained to be as adults. For instance, only paper goes in the printer and not our fruit roll-ups. That is very useful in the adult world where imagination has been quashed, but that mindset is tragic for LEGO builders.
USING LEGO FOR EXPERIENCE
The act of doing is crucial in getting things done. The problem is doing things without a point is not worth anything. For example, sweeping a clean sidewalk seems like wasted energy. This logic does not hold true with LEGO.
Snapping LEGO pieces together often proves to be a very therapeutic experience for many LEGO fans. The act of putting elements together is simply a sign that our minds are constantly working.
This assembling process allows us not to judge. We as creators need this permission. If we are stuck behind a wall of judgment, there’s a good chance we’ll never build anything. So give it a try and just create. Who knows, you might build something you like.
USING LEGO WITH A PURPOSE
This is probably the goal everyone gets fixated with. You take your LEGO pieces and build something. This goal dominates and haunts new LEGO builders. They have seen the promise land – large towering edifices with countless features and detailing. Now it is their mission – no, their responsibility – to create something equally monumental.
And this is where the problem lies. Sure the greatest LEGO builders make some really cool things, but it is kept in balance with the other goals. Occasionally, they will construct a model purely for the sake of a purpose. But that same person will go home and take time to just play and learn.
The thing is you never have to focus on a purpose with LEGO. Many times it comes in an inspired moment. At those times, it’s nearly impossible to stop building. For instance, when I was constructing a display for my local LEGO store, I built for ten and a half hours straight. The funny thing is I only had a vague idea of what I was going to build.
LEGO is one of those unique toys that seems to lead to many places. For this reason, many consider LEGO the stuff of imagination. It’s where you can build a fruit roll-up printer and space men that need it for fuel. It reminds us that we should keep ourselves open and discover what is truly possible.
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