I’ve done my fair share of assembling flatpack furniture over the years.
Not always successfully, I hasten to add.
I don’t find following the instructions that easy. Or interesting.
There have been quite a few times when I’ve inserted part A into what I thought was part B only to find it was part C.
And then the bloody thing won’t come out again.
Cue much wrestling with the piece. Swearing. If I’m lucky it comes out. But sometimes it breaks and I’m left with a 3 drawer chest with only 2 functioning drawers.
Or one that only works upside down. Which is as good as useless.
In the past my state of mind wouldn’t be good in these situations. Frustration would grow.
Then obstinacy… to see the job through, even if it was a complete disaster.
I would swat away any invitation to step away, even though it was obvious to anyone watching, that I needed a break.
Now this ‘Law of Flatpack’ applies to any area of our lives.
When you start getting revved up about something…
🔨that project that’s off track…
🔨that argument you were having about who’s doing their fair share…
🔨your kid not listening to a word you’re saying…
…if you stay in the game too long, the outcome is likely to go bad.
Because when you’re revved up… (your head feels tight, body is tense, mind is racing)…you don’t have the clarity to make good decisions.
So what can you do?
Most modern psychology looks in the direction of tools or techniques. Pop on a quick hypnotherapy track. Do a breathing exercise. Repeat a mantra…
Nothing wrong with any of those, but they all add on some mental load. And they’re not 100% reliable in the long term.
What’s actually needed is to reduce the load. Otherwise it’s like revving the engine like mad with the clutch pressed down.
Your mind is spinning and you’re going nowhere.
How do you reduce the load?
Simple. You step away from the situation. Your mind is designed to settle by itself.
Think of a muddy puddle which you’ve stirred up. How do you get it clear?
Yep. Do nothing…
And no, I don’t mean, crack open a beer and turn on the TV…. in case you’re wondering .
This isn’t simply ‘oh I do nothing and it’s all good’.
Getting it is like the difference between the theory test and the practical in driving.
One will get you safely and legally on the road for the rest of your life; the other gets you nothing.
When I work with dads, I show them exactly how to come back into clarity… first by seeing when they are getting caught in the ‘Law of Flatpack.’
Then by learning to listen to that deeper wisdom we all have, that tells you went to step away. And when to step back in.