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What motivates your LEGO creations?

(Written by William)

Every brick we put in place and each building technique we use comes from somewhere. The real question is – what is that motivational spark? Not many of us think too deeply on this subject since we simply build what we want to. However, if we take the time to examine what we build it could tell us a lot about ourselves. 🙂

LEGO has already seen the potential for this. They have a program called Serious Play which works through management issues with the use of building blocks. Of course not all of us are managers, looking to improve our skills in business. That does not matter however, since many of the same principles can be applied in a general sense.

Take for instance, the three areas that generally motivate us: power, achievement, and social interaction. Each of these areas defines how we apply ourselves. Now consider the idea that we actually understood these factors in how we interact with LEGO. Not only could it shed light on issues we are struggling with in our lives, but it can also focus us as builders. As you read this just remember; we are not necessarily exclusively tied to one of these areas only.


Those who seek power wish to have control over the process. It excites them to see a project guided properly and know that they were responsible for it. These are the people that like making decisions. When applied to LEGO and a building project, those who enjoy power should focus their attention on making decisions on how the overall picture should look. You’re a conductor of chaos. Tell people what colors things should be and what size things should take.

The main asset you bring to the table is that of unification. Things often need a purpose, which is what makes you perfect for the lead. LEGO creations with a straight-forward focus tend to look better because we understand things that look and feel logical. The thing to watch out for as a power person is the ability to understand those you exert power over. Each person has feelings invested in a project. Failure to recognize this will only result in steering everything into the ground.

When we build by ourselves, the only power we have gets exerted over the LEGO bricks. This means we like to follow very deliberate patterns or styles. Our creations must bend to our will and look exact. You will probably find a great deal of satisfaction in detail work. You like a challenge. The idea that something can’t be done or has yet to be done invigorates you. You like to find ways to break the mold and explore the world of novelty. Your strength lies in designing. The achiever likes to press forward in novel ways and find new uses for pieces. Without you, a building project will simply come off as being boring. You are the innovator that constitutes success.

The thing to watch out for is managing unrealistic goals. Many things we want to do are impractical. We must realize some limitations need to be respected. Failure to do so may result in consequences that are unpleasant. For example, if you need too many LEGO bricks, you might accidently spend the grocery budget or get into heavy credit card debt.

The solo builder will most likely strive towards one goal. Does it work? Functionality is key in an achiever. The functionality of a piece can be visual as well as practical. Try looking for odd pieces. Chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for in them. A team that is made of individuals is no team. You are the glue that binds everything together. Remember, this is a fun activity that everyone should be passionate about. The bricks before you are not the accomplishment. Rather, it is the fact that everyone working together could make it happen.

The asset you bring to this recipe comes in the form of a go-between. You are someone that needs to help others connect. Two achievers may have great designs, but if they have no common ground you can step in. The downside to the social person is they may lose themselves in the process. Think of all the art projects you had as a child. Very few times was the glue supposed to show. Don’t let this happen to you.

LEGO gets built and taken down so much that the social builder when building alone enjoys the experience. What you build is not what makes you a great builder. You become better by understanding the frustration of your pitfalls and the joys of your successes. You’re not building creations, but memories. For this builder, it’s less important picking out pieces than it is finding new ways to share with others.


Whether building by ourselves or with others, we have motivational needs that drive us. Many of us contain the desire for all three areas. The trick is that we should take some time to understand who we are. Those who do will not only be happier in the long-run but be able to capitalize on their LEGO creativity. So, what kind of LEGO builder are you? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Tony May 10, 2011, 7:13 PM

    Interesting…I never thought to analize my LEGO habits this much, but I suppose you can learn a lot about yourself…

    • Will May 14, 2011, 4:47 PM

      LEGO actually has a program called Serious Play that is aimed at business to discover these concepts about their employees. I figured it’s just as valid to apply to one’s personal life. And that’s where this concept came from.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • brickmaster May 12, 2011, 11:18 AM

    I find this post pretty interesting also. I don’t analize my Lego habits. It is a hobby I enjoy after getting home form a hard day at work. I like to build by myself.
    I don’t think power, achievement or social interactions motivate me in this regard. I just find it a relaxing and rewarding hobby.
    Although I do enjoy interacting with other Lego fans online. So I guess some of the social aspects are there.

    • Will May 14, 2011, 4:50 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. As it is, I only briefly touched upon some of the aspects of the motivation and they do go deeper than what’s covered here. In addition, this is not an exhaustive list of how these motivations can be interpreted.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Inger May 12, 2011, 7:11 PM

    Hi William
    Another great Blog post and more than that, an examination of ourselves through Lego. How we organize our Lego and approach our building process would tell much about us I’m sure.
    For me I know that the “Lego effect” seems, on the surface, mostly like a de-stress process and alot of fun but what others could tell from a more objective viewpoint would be interesting.

    The Brick Life

    • admin May 12, 2011, 8:33 PM

      Inger, sorry that your post got caught in the moderation queue! Right now the word “blog” is on my moderation list as I get so much spam with that word. 😯
      Anyhow, yes, great post by William! And there is more coming! He is quickly becoming the resident sage! 😉
      BTW, I picked up my first Cars sets today after I read your review this morning. They are at Walmart and are SO CUTE! 😛

      • Will May 14, 2011, 4:54 PM

        Walmart! No, I go there all the time! It’s going to be so hard to resist…

    • Will May 14, 2011, 4:53 PM

      When you have a medium that is much like art, it leaves the door wide open for self-examination and personal growth. Which is just one more reason why its so loved.

      My wife and I are going to try to avoid getting into the new Cars series, now that it’s moved beyond Duplo, but I don’t think it’s going to go so well. They’re just so cute.

      And go Mater!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Sarah May 15, 2011, 11:35 AM

      Toys R Us is have a 30% off sale on all Cars 2 LEGO sets starting today the 15th and running through the 21st. Remember, if the store doesn’t have it in stock, but it is listed online for sale, ask at customer service to have them ship it free to your house and you’ll still get the discount. 🙂

      I can’t wait to go and get Mater for my desk at work!

      • Sarah May 15, 2011, 11:50 AM

        Sorry, it’s actually 20%, but it also applies to the Pirates of the Caribbean sets. 🙂

      • admin May 15, 2011, 1:03 PM

        Sarah, thanks for the heads-up on the sale!

        I got my Mater a few days ago at Wal-Mart. Cutest little bugger! 😛
        I also want to get the hippie VW bus! 😆

        • Sarah May 16, 2011, 1:05 PM

          When I’ve wanted a set piece from a larger set, I download the instructions and buy the pieces necessary for that set piece. That’s how I got the flying Ewok with stand from the Battle for Endor set. I couldn’t afford the set, but I really wanted that flying Ewok. So I got him. 😀

          Maybe you could do the same for the VW bus, though you might want to wait a bit for more people to part out the sets so it’s more affordable.

          • admin May 16, 2011, 4:43 PM

            Sarah, yes, I do that too if I can’t get the full assembly. I already got a few responses to my Bricklink request, but the price is a bit more I’m willing to pay. So, I just wait some. There is no rush. This is still a very new set, so I know price will come down soon enough. 😉

            Oh, you should have told me you wanted an Ewok glider! I had a gazillion of them! I have parted out over 50 of this set to my Bricklink store! :mrgreen:

  • Inger May 12, 2011, 8:47 PM

    Got it…Don’t mention the word “Blog”
    The Cars sets are hard to resist aren’t they.
    I am really happy for parents that you can get Lightning McQueen without having to buy a big set, makes it easier on the wallet!
    In regards to Lego and personal growth, I found this post yesterday which William also might be interested in:

    Cheers, and as always love your site!

    • admin May 12, 2011, 9:54 PM

      Inger, yes, that is exactly what caught my attention in your post this morning; that the car-characters are available in small sets! I got Mater – my favorite! – just sitting here on my desk. I would also love to get the hippie VW bus, but it is not available as a separate set just yet.

      Thanks for the link! It is an absolutely great story! Yes, I’m sure William will love it too! 😀

    • Will May 14, 2011, 5:00 PM

      LOL! I love that post, thanks for sharing. It kinda reminds me of my brother and I growing up, except with one difference. I found my happiness in building out LEGO while my brother found happiness in destroying whatever I created. Just one more way LEGO can bring happiness. I guess…

      Thanks again for commenting!

  • Yeriho June 13, 2011, 11:11 AM

    Hi, I found this site with great lego car creations! There are a lot of examples with step-by-step instructions.

    You can also download the pdf-versions and print the lego instructions. Enjoy. I did!

    • admin June 13, 2011, 11:53 AM

      Yeriho, you are welcome to promote your site as long as you meaningfully contribute here. 😉

  • Andy - smallplasticbricks.com August 25, 2011, 12:51 AM

    I love to create real-like buildings or chains. It’s fun to see someone’s face when they see something you made that’s recognizable. It’s too expensive to move to NYC, but I can build it in bricks!

  • Gabriel February 24, 2012, 12:13 PM

    Love this article! I guarantee I will be thinking about it all weekend, but my initial response is that I am all about achievement. It’s the, “Look what I made!” that keeps me building and trying to conquer challenges. I’ve tried twice to build a dragon/lizard and failed miserably both times, but I still want to have another go at it! The Master Builder Academy program has really helped me identify this aspect of my building.

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