500 Pieces

Last Christmas, my sister gave me Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet — as a Lego set. The model has 500 pieces.

If even a small-scale replica of something immensely powerful — a glove that can wipe out half of humanity in one finger snap — takes half a thousand pieces to function, how many more parts must the real thing have? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000?

Even if the pieces just resemble small steps on a long journey, whenever I have a tough week in business, when the bad news keep piling up, I like to remember I’m assembling 500 pieces — and today, I can only put one in place. Or two, perhaps. Maybe, on a productive day, even three. But no matter how strong my output or how unsettling the mails in my inbox, crafting a 500-part masterpiece is a long journey, and I’ve always just begun.

Whether your masterpiece is a book about fly fishing, a model train landscape of Switzerland, or a happy family of four in which your kids actually like going to school, you, too, are assembling your life 500 parts at a time. Every so rarely, you’ll put the last stone in place, and, for a brief moment, you’ll get to celebrate. Pump your fist. Snap your fingers. And then? Then, you grab the next Lego set and do it all over again.

Life is not finishing. Life is building. The final touch is only the cherry on top, and that’s what keeps the building fun. Rewarding. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Pick up one piece, put it in place, and you’ll see: One brick at a time is always the right pace, and if it takes as long as it takes, all timelines are exactly long enough.