Finding the next piece

by Jared Meyers on 07 Mar 2021

Image of a collection of assorted LEGO pieces

When I was younger, I really enjoyed building LEGO sets. I would open the box, take out the bags, and proceed to empty those bags onto the floor. Then, I'd sit or lie on the floor, with the instructions on one side, the current state of the set in the center, and the shallow pile of colorful pieces on the other side.

The most difficult part of building these sets was digging through the pieces to find the one I needed for the next step. Extensively organizing the pieces seemed to take too long and this was before the pieces were split up into sequentially numbered bags for ease of building. Usually, finding pieces is easy – you scan the pieces and find the one you're looking for.

However, sometimes I'd spend what felt like an eternity looking for a single piece (looking at you, 4865b).

Then I'd stand up. I'd walk around the shallow pile of LEGOs, surveying it as I moved, and quickly notice the piece I couldn't find before.

Standing up and moving around meant that I was physically changing my perspective looking for the piece. It helped me to break out of my limited mental image of the LEGO pile, which I had created from only a single angle, and look at drastically different versions of that pile. Once I was in these new situations, it was very straightforward to find that piece.

It's surprising how effectively this can apply to any aspect of problem solving and even life. By shifting perspective, both physically and mentally, we can find ideas and solutions that we would never have noticed from our previous vantage point.

The ability to shift perspective is a skill in itself and requires effort to practice. That activation energy makes it very easy to forget about its power. Actions as simple as getting up and walking around have helped me with shifting physical perspectives.

I've personally found writing and especially journaling are effective tools for achieving mental perspective shifts. They enable me to give each perspective their own space on a page so I can go put on a new lens without forgetting the old ones.

Effectively shifting and leveraging perspectives to analyze problems is vital for creating the best solutions.

I wholeheartedly recommend walking and journaling (although maybe not at the same time) as a way to build and improve the skill.

This post is part of the Daily Blogging Challenge. The theme for this article was "Perspective." Thanks to Chris Hannah for sharing the challenge and Jeff Perry for organizing it!

Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash