I have an obsession. It has consumed my life for the last month since I discovered it. It’s not a secret, but the people closest to me aren’t particularly pleased about it…
It’s Lego Masters.
I cannot get enough.
I’m not sure how it happened, but the phenomenon that was Lego Masters Australia completely missed me when it was first showing. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until a friend (who admittedly has 3 children), told me how much they were enjoying it. After starting season 2 and then binge watching all available episodes I am (very unofficially), calling it the best new TV show of the past two years.
Reality TV at its best
It has everything a good reality show needs. Hamish Blake is the perfect example of a cheeky laid-back Australian host, using LEGO terms he just learned from contestants and sighing over the affliction of ‘sausage fingers’. Brickman as judge provides constructive advice during builds, gives fair critiques and actually sheds tears when he has to ask a contestant to leave.
No soggy bottoms
Honestly, it’s everything that’s good about The Great British Bake-off with the added bonus of finished products that are actually, well, really exciting. As much as I love hearing Mary Berry talk about soggy bottoms, there are far too many finished baked goods that end up with them on GBBO. A soggy bottom does not a showstopper make.
Skills for a successful build
As I was (re)watching an episode from season 2 yesterday, I was ruminating on what made certain teams on Lego Masters more successful than others. A good eye for aesthetics, creativity, imagination and technical skills are all important. What contestants really needed however, was perseverance.
In every episode, completed pieces break, sometimes multiple times. Often large builds don’t look even partially complete until the last few hours. One challenge saw a team do nothing but lay brick on brick non-stop for eight hours. It looked mind-numbing and painful, yet they kept going until what they had set out to do was done.
A persevering life
While I’m sure that not too many people need perseverance to keep them building Lego for eight hours straight, it’s a skill that is incredibly valuable in life.
Perseverance is what stops us giving up.
It’s incredibly easy to start something. Seeing it through is an entirely different matter. When we come up against obstacles that we didn’t account for or when life throws curveballs at us that we didn’t see coming (COVID-19 I’m looking at you), whether we wave the white flag in surrender or push through the pain determines our success or failure.
Have you ever taken up a new sport or started a new job and been sure that you’d never be good at it? It’s often fun to look back months later and see how far you’ve come. When we keep going through uncomfortable moments, self-doubt, fear of failure and all the myriad of things that can stop us in our tracks we grow in our ability to persevere.
Perseverance is also a key trait in developing new habits. We know that making a habit stick requires us to actually do the thing for anywhere between 21 and 70 days. Building habits requires commitment and the will to persevere, even when we forget a day or feel like we’re not making any progress.
So how do we grow in our own ability to persevere?
It’s important to keep a mindset that is geared towards growth. Often we go through childhood and adolescence being told what we’re good at. “Lucy’s good at math and science. Billy’s good at art and baseball”. While it’s great to build others up and to call out their strengths, it can be dangerous if it limits what we are willing to try in the future.
Keeping a growth mindset means that we aren’t confined to developing and fine-tuning what we are already good at. It means we are open to learning about subjects outside our own disciplines and have confidence in our own capacity to develop new abilities and strengths. There is an inbuilt personal belief that nothing is truly off limits.
The curse of perfectionism
Perseverance also requires us to throw off perfectionism. For those that struggle with this trait, it can often be difficult to even want to try something that doesn’t assure immediate success. Perfectionists often hamstring themselves before they’ve even started.
Trying new things anyway and learning as you make mistakes and fail is key to perseverance. It often means that for a period of time, you’ll be pretty mediocre at something. That’s ok. Continuing to push through slip ups and errors and periods of mediocrity is a sure sign that you’re on the path to success.
Persevering this week
As you start a new week, why not decide on one thing you’d like to persevere with? It might be a new hobby that you gave up on last month, a dinner dish you think you’ll never get right or a new task at work that seems out of your abilities.
It might take time, but keep an open mind and be willing to make some mistakes and before you know it, you’ll be looking back on how far you’ve come!
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in South East Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.