One year when I went to TED in Long Beach California, they had a lego installation in the foyer. All the pieces were in TED red. Attendees were making all sorts of things, including TED’s!
At the time our children Nicholas and Camille were tiny, but both into Lego. I thought it would be a nice souvenir if I could have some red blocks to take home.
AT a TED conference, they are very generous with the and giveaways. Still, in this instance, they were very protective of their red lego pieces.
On the last day, I dropped by the display, prepared to beg if I had to, but all the Lego was gone, all except for one small red piece. This little red square. In my mind, a little gem, shaped like the most precious of all if you looked at the right way. It would serve as a memento reminding me of the many amazing people I met, and their amazing ideas and stories that they shared.
In my mind, it was like that scene from Finding Nemo when the Dad, Marlin, returns home to find his wife and all his little eggs all gone, all but one egg that was to hatch into Nemo.
I pocketed this one little red block, and with more luck than the devotion of Marlin, I have managed to keep it. Maybe it is more of a Nemomento!
This block is an excellent analogy for both starting and finishing a project. This simple drawing of a small red lego block might be a starting point. In placing the block, it is so easy to add another and then another, and then something is created. Just start.
Recently I have decided it is about time I stopped procrastinating and got back into my painting. In the past, I have painted in oils on large canvases. Whilst I have a great studio to accommodate this practice, it still takes a degree of extra effort in the setup and cleanup. So on January 1st 2020, I started doing a small watercolour each day. Two months later I am still going strong and I know it won’t be long before the oils come out!
Each small completed step is rewarded with feel-good endorphins, giving the motivation to move to the next step!
But equally, the little red square could be the crucial last piece. The last brick laid when building a house, or the final brush stroke of a painting, or the cherry on top of the cake.
Or the last scene of a story about finding Nemo.
Whether it is at the start or the finish, I have found that breaking down my creative projects into smaller manageable steps has given me greater traction, and a better completion rate, whether it be on a grand scale, or just a making a little memento!