“Only the Best is Good Enough”
This phrase translated from the Danish ‘det bedste er ikke for godt’ has been a driving motto for the children’s brick building company Lego, which started in 1932 in Denmark. While the industrialized world was spiraling into the Great Depression, a woodworker called Ole Kirk Kristiansen was creating what would be recognized by Forbes Magazine in 2015 as the most powerful brand in the world. Lego, which in Danish means play well and in Latin, I put together, is synonymous with imagination, creativity, learning, and fun.
Young minds have long been captivated by the many ways these interlocking bricks could be transformed into a variety of designs. In essence a creator was spreading a spirit of creativity and innovation by providing an immersive learning experience that initiated spatial development. All this by way of using the simple to build the complex.
But tragedy struck at Lego in 1942, when a fire turned the entire factory with all its inventory into ashes. Having bounced back from tragedy before (a previous fire, the death of his spouse, and bankruptcy), Kristiansen came back even stronger and so did the company. His comeback took place while Germany was occupying Denmark and had it eyes set on European domination during World War II. But Kristiansen was more committed to his goal of quality toys even against the backdrop of war and personal setbacks.
Launching Into 2019
Maybe you have experienced personal tragedy and setbacks that made 2018 a difficult year in light of the hopes and dreams that you had at the beginning of the year. But in similar fashion to Kristiansen and the building of Lego, you can come back stronger in 2019 and use the experiences of 2018 as stepping stones to leap into what could be your best year ever. The story of Lego reminds us that as long as we are living and breathing, our stories are not over and we can use what we have to create a better future.
I would like to share five interconnected building blocks to a strong 2019:
1. Gaps: Between our hopes and habits, dreams and reality, expectations and experiences, possibilities and predicaments, lie gaps. Gaps can intimidate, inflict fear, and turn us into grasshoppers: seeing ourselves in a diminutive way compared to what we want to accomplish. Leadership expert John Maxwell alludes to several gaps in an eye opening blog titled, Mind The Gap.
How do we fill them? By using what I call the daily advantage. A calendar year carries approximately 8,760 hours. Our obligations take up a chunk of those hours. If you decide to dedicate thirty minutes to one hour daily to close those gaps by engaging your energy in the direction of your goals, you will notice subsiding intimidation and fear, growing confidence, as well as incremental progress throughout the year. It’s the little we do daily and intentionally that leads to what we hope or dream of seeing eventually.
2. Organization: This is one of most underappreciated skills to productivity. Yet, it is a vital component to goal accomplishment. But organization is not simply about calendars, filing systems, journals, or decluttering. It’s a mentality surrounded with healthy habits. Instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, getting organized helps you determine if accomplishing the goal you are pursuing carries significance to your life or is simply an act of chasing the wind. Organization separates the essential from the excessive. It will give you a clear picture on the right things that need to get done.
3. Application: For all the training a boxer goes through, the only way to discover if the training has paid off is by fighting an opponent. This requires entering a ring and more specifically coming out of their corner to the center of the ring. Transformation only comes by way of application. Application is scary because of the risk it involves. At times the risk requires coming out of our self-built cocoons of comfort, other times it means relinquishing control so that we can grow. Risk also includes the obstacles and opposition that we must face and overcome.
As thieves do not break into empty houses, opposition will not invade our life as long as we add no agency to our goals, hopes, or dreams. These three equate to aspirational value. And opposition, like a parasite aims to leach on goals, suck your passion, kill your resolve, and leave you stagnant. But steady application is the push back and your way of telling opposition in Winston Churchill like fashion,
“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight
on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence
and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever
the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the
landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall
fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
4. Language: Your self-talk is a key contributor to your quality of life. Your self-talk either adds light or darkness into your life depending on the words you choose to speak. Positive words are like natural light on a bright sunny day while negative ones can be compared with an enclosed dark tunnel. By introducing the motto, “Only the best is good enough.” Mr. Kristiansen developed a language that governed the quality of Lego products. Every year, I come up with a word or phrase that will serve as theme language for the year. For 2019, it is, “Create more, Consume less.”
5. Standards: In last week’s post, I wrote briefly on the importance of standards which contribute to a way of life that will either sink us or make us stand in the worst of circumstances. Having the right standard calls for a look in the mirror and asking a heart question, “When the pressure is on, what do I stand for?” When the going got tough for Lego, they dug into their standards that are centered on quality, fun, creativity, learning, imagination, and caring. Their standards sustained them. What are yours?
Final Thought: If you haven’t noticed, the first letter of every block interlocks to form the word GOALS. We all have them but the key to reaching them will come down to the dedication we apply to keep the blocks interlocked to create the life we have always wanted. Set and live your goals! Give it your all and remember, “Only the best is good enough!
Keep on Keeping on!
Thank you for the time you dedicate to read my blog posts through the year.
I am continuously challenged to dig in to ensure I deliver quality and helpful content for everyday life. I aim to educate, edify, and equip for a higher quality of life.
Have a Joyful Christmas and a Peaceful Crossover into 2019! Look for my next blog post on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019.