February 26, 2024 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Why life is like Jenga

Truth Bomb Tuesday: It should be easy. This is why it’s not.

Making changes in your life is hard for the same reason that Jenga is hard.

You know the game Jenga right? You have a whole bunch of little blocks stacked one on top of the other in a tower, and you have to pull a block from the tower and put it back on top of the tower, without knocking the whole tower over.

Loads of fun.

Now on the face of it, picking up a block and moving it sounds trivially easy. It’s just a tiny little block. It weighs next to nothing.

But picking up a block is hard because through the structure of the tower, it is connected to every other block. You can’t move one without it having impact on every other one.

It’s the same story with making changes in your life.

Often the changes we want to make involve unlearning life techniques and survival strategies we learnt at a younger age.

Maybe as a teenager you saw your parents have a rough time financially, and you learnt to be fearful around money.

Or maybe your pants fell down while you were asking Becky to the senior prom, and since then you’ve spent the rest of your life running from shame and playing it small.

Or maybe you were left to cry it out as an infant, and now you’ve spent the rest of your life papering over the belief that the world is a fundamentally hostile and lonely place.

On the face of it, these things are no heavier than a Jenga block. They’re not huge. Anything that can be expressed in a single sentence can’t be that big.

But you can’t address them in isolation.

Once you’ve adopted a particular posture towards money, for example, that implies particular postures towards careers, relationships, spending on yourself and how you express love for yourself, to name just a few.

To pick up the block called ‘beliefs around money’, and move its alignment even a little bit can suddenly mean that everything else in your life is no longer in alignment. It doesn’t fit any more.

If you stop believing that scarcity is the fundamental nature of existence, for example, then suddenly it no longer makes sense to be working 60 hours a week for the same salary you started on 10 years ago.

Change one thing, you change everything.

And what you find is often the rigidity in your life is not in the foundational belief, but in the things that have been built around it.

You might hear someone say something like, “oh yeah, I am totally willing to change my beliefs around money, but I’m just not willing to walk away from this career I’ve invested 20 years in.”

Rigidity gets transferred up the tower.

And so this is why change is hard. Go back and change the child, and suddenly that adult doesn’t make sense. The adult needs to change to.

But before this becomes all doom and gloom, there’s an opportunity here. And that is to recognise that if we can go back and change just one foundational belief, the leverage of that is enormous. We can change are whole life.

Change one thing, change everything.

That idea should be exciting.