The Four Quarters 3 – Breaking Down The Pieces

16 June 2009, by A. Cedilla

When you’re haggard, harried and hurried by all the demanding To-Do’s that are either staring you in the face or breathing heavily down your neck, it would seem like the craziest thing to do is to sit down and let your plans go to pieces, right?

But when everything you know is screaming at you that this is exactly the wrong thing to do, breaking things down can actually kick you out of the spiral of stress you’re in, and jump-start your engines.

As the old joke goes,” How do you eat an elephant?”

You know the answer: “Bite by bite.”

And how do you live a life, or realize a dream?

Day by day. And you build a life the same way. Simple, yes? But not easy. Nobody ever made absolute 100% full-refund-or-your-money-back-guarantees about life being easy. Run away from anyone who says so, and run fast.

Okay, so you’ve got your Big Dream, you have your sequential goals leading up to it, and you’ve marshalled up the resources and tools to go after it. But you’re also strained to the point of snapping.

How can you use your time to straighten your head and go on with building the life of your dreams?

You break down what you built up.

As children do with building blocks, they see an image in their head and try their best to make it come out with what they have on hand. They can knock it down and build it up in better and entirely different ways. That’s the fun in it. They haven’t been trained to think things should be perfect on the first try (which intimidates adults into never trying, because we’re afraid it won’t be right.) They see the possibilities, and can adjust on a dime.

You need to be able to relearn that ability to break the images down, to be able to roll with the moment and turn on a dime, to not-lock yourself into one rigid, linear model of approaching and dealing with issues, upsets and goals.

That kind of thinking must be tempered with the flexibility and resilience required to deal with today’s mach-speed changes. What you know today may be outdated, debunked or rendered useless tomorrow, so you need to be able to break apart and re-fit your plans to adjust. So you break your plans down.


Use free-association techniques. Instead of connecting the dots logically, separate the step-by-steps. Disconnect them, and use them as springboards to totally different responses towards the end result. “What if, instead of doing this, I do THIS instead? What could happen? How can it help? Can I use it?”

Start at the end and work your way back. If you have a very good idea of what you want to happen at the end, not knowing how to get there can inspire you to taking totally new approaches that would give you new skills and expose you to a wider range of experiences.

Recognize your very own building blocks and inner resources as leverage. Your tools: native intelligence, experience, fore-sight and planning. Your materials: time, a non-renewable resource, and creativity, which you can stoke and replenish with rest and relaxation. Your guidelines: persistence, and the cheerful willingness to make an absolute ass of yourself, also known as daring.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The lessons stick better that way. Mistakes aren’t bad in and of themselves, it’s how you take them that matters. Instead of thinking yourself an idiot,(“I should’ve known better, dammit.”), see it as just another solution that didn’t work for this particular problem. Maybe you can use it somewhere else, who knows?

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