Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks

27 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Writing an article is like assembling a jig-saw puzzle with words.

You have a central idea, and then all the little ideas get pieced together in an orderly pattern — words to a sentence, then sentences to a paragraph — making the connections until the pieces (which make little sense on their own) form into an image of the whole and show you the big picture.

In doing the research for this article, somehow the jigsaw pieces became blocks.

This is mainly because life rarely gives us the top of the puzzle box to guide us even as we try to connect the pieces we’re given. If we stick with the puzzle analogy, some pieces don’t make any sense, some come in from out of the blue, and some disappear just when we need them the most.

We don’t always get the big picture, and in the process the puzzle image failed, so, being more appropriate for what comes next, the blocks took over.

Picture it, a child’s set of blocks. Depending on who’s using them, and where they are, these blocks can do a lot of things.

The kids can build things with them when they’re playing. Blocks can hurt when thrown across a room, or trip you up when they’re left on the floor. They can also prop up your laptop when you’re too cheap to buy a proper laptop stand (Hey, it if works, why not?)

Blocks are blocks. How you see a block is how you’ll use it. So, stumbling blocks, building blocks, and starting blocks…it’s all in your mindset.

Stumbling Blocks are first cousins to The Wall. You all know The Wall. It’s the one we’re all supposed to be going up and over, or around, or tunnel under, or through.

Stumbling blocks trip us up. Whether we go ass over teakettle or into a mild bobble, stumbling blocks harsh our flow, throws a kink in the plans, a spanner in the works.

But if we frame things differently, stumbling blocks can provide more benefits than we’d expect:

  • For one, ease up by not taking it personally. The universe is not out to get you, that’s just the way the cards fell. The nebulous ‘They’ (whoever ‘They’ are) are not sabotaging you.
  • Stumbling blocks give you a reason to take your time. Time to assess what happened, think of ways how to fix it, and regroup from the event. You can use this time to make alternate plans, back-ups and contingencies, and map out your next move.
  • Stumbling blocks can give you a small break – rest and re-assess, to center yourself and not get hijacked by the emotions of the moment.
  • Stumbling blocks can remind you that in some instances, “the faster you go the behinder you get.” Taking shortcuts and missing things in the race to save some time can backfire, making the time you save inconsequential next to the mess you need to clean up.
  • Stumbling blocks can teach you — if you’re in the right frame of mind to let them. You learn what you can control and what you can’t. You find new reserves, resources, and get to know your triggers and breaking points.

Take a while to think things over, before we continue to part 2.

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