On Christmas Day, I handed a large gift-wrapped box to my nephews and watched them aggressively rip it off. Their faces lit with joy when they realized it was a train set. I told them to play with their other toys in the meantime, so that Andel and I can assemble it.
Plan A- We looked at the BIG PICTURE on the box and immediately began to assemble the train set's removable tracks. It wasn't long until we were stuck. We hit a roadblock when we could not longer see the attached tracks because a picture of a child playing with the train was blocking a key part of the assembly.
Plan B- In my attempt to be a problem-solver, I decided, "Let's work backwards." My new plan was to attach all the "seen" pieces first and use logic to assemble the rest. This plan was ineffective.
Plan C- I pulled out that instructions manual and started to glance at the pictures and skim the words, section by section, because at this point, I just wanted to solve the mystery and the children were getting anxious. After what seemed like an eternity, we put it together, exactly the way the BIG PICTURE revealed.
Grab your vanilla chai. Here's the mind-exploding part...
The next day, I watched my 4 year old nephew, Jeremiah, disassemble and rearrange the entire set, no tracks left behind. (See picture above)
A few hours later, I watched my 2 year old nephew Leon and 8 year old Samuel create two entirely different models using all the tracks.
Laughable but not so much because you're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking which was how could two adults spend what seemed like an eternity assembling a toy train set with removable tracks when a 2, 4 and 8 year old did the same thing in a matter of minutes.
There were many Stop n' Jot moments in this experience. However, I was blown away by this because even though I was looking at the "BIG PICTURE" on the box, I was not looking at the "Big Picture." It's a toy! Forget the instructions manual! Be creative and have fun! We were so focused on assembling it the exact way the manufacturers had intended it to be, that we didn't realize how simple it would be if we looked at our perspective of the "Big Picture."
How do you envision it in your mind? Make it happen. Just because there's an instruction manual, doesn't mean you have to use it. Look what happens when you let your mind explode.
Take the limits off, wipe fear away and grow.
Happy New Year!