February 10, 2014

20 things I just learned from the LEGO Movie

  1. Revel in unabashed curiosity and creativity. These urges fulfill the deepest part of us. Next time you're about to put the kibosh on that, maybe ask yourself why.
  2. Build stuff. Junk it. Start over. And be happy, because this is preparing you for a life of pretty much constant change.
  3. Throw away the supplied directions and come up with something even cooler. (Yes, this is product placement, but wowza.)
  4. Recognize that as you do this, you'll probably have a lot of ideas that take you nowhere at first. This is normal. No rational person should expect perfection. Just stay with it and something awesome will emerge. Really.
  5. If a good story (Star Wars, LOTR, The Matrix) is already out there, borrow from it, but make it your own. Sometimes the way to honor a time-tested story is by poking fun at it, not just always bowing down before it. When you do this, just go ahead and own the fact that you're borrowing.
  6. Playtime is not "extra" -- it's the fundamental meaning-making realm of a child.
  7. Maybe some adults (men in particular) should ask themselves why they continually infantilize themselves by acquiring bigger and bigger toys.
  8. Playtime is essentially an engagement with an alternate reality. Control over that reality is a given for children who are learning what it means to manipulate environments. But locking down complete control isn't the point of playtime. The one with the need to express the most control is usually the party-pooper.
  9. The end of a good story shouldn't have to rely on trickery, or some bait-and-switch moment where the hero turns out to be cleverer than the evil villain figured. Perhaps the good end of a good story can just rely on genuinely emotional material that goes all the way to the bone.
  10. A dumb thing can suddenly be brilliant, whether it is a person or a song. And then it can go back to being dumb again, or it can be sort of semi-smart.
  11. Subtly poking fun is cool. So is overt subversion.
  12. Anyone with half a brain knows that boutique coffee is way overpriced, yet we keep buying the stuff. What are they putting in there that makes us do that?
  13. More color is never a bad thing. Sometimes the most garish colors look beautiful next to each other. It's also okay to feel more than one thing at a time.
  14. Even at the base of our brains, we're still hard-wired to wonder how we got here. It's okay to think about a Creator.
  15. A just and good Creator defines you to have freedom of will so you can co-Create. The hope is that your creation is also just and good.
  16. Reuse old stuff.
  17. Interact with stuff that seems unfamiliar, and explore. If you know who you are and where your natural limits lie, you'll understand if it gets dangerous. Use the brain you were given.
  18. Be willing to say, "I don't know." People who were willing to admit they had no clue to begin with have gone to some pretty great places. A blank slate is okay to start with and return to.
  19. Absurdity and random weirdness still have a place in life. Not everything has to be savvy or world-weary.
  20. Everything really is awesome, and you really are special, but probably not in the way you thought.

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