Yesterday, we moved furniture (OK, so bad puns are an occupational hazard :) ). More specifically, a large solid wood entertainment center piece that even empty is surprisingly heavy. And had to come down six steps and then up three. Just my wife and myself (and for those who don’t know me or us, we’re not large people). We seriously debated hiring two or four laborers to assist moving it. However, we found another way…
Sitting down and thinking, we decided we could break it down into little steps. First, we waltzed it over to the top of the steps. This was the most scary part, controlling it going down. We put it on it’s back, and slid it down the carpeted steps onto some blankets, controlling the slide.
Now, the harder part, getting it up the three steps to the next room. We stood it back up rather than take it up on the back; that had been important going down, but wasn’t for the upward trip. We got my son to push from the back (didn’t really need it, but he was hanging around…), and we each took the front up a step at a shot. Finally, I went to the back, lifted it up, and pushed while my wife tugged it forward. Success!
The reason to recite this is not the impress you with our meager strength and effort (as if), but instead to highlight the lesson that taking a monumental task and breaking it down into littler steps is a really useful meta-learning technique. Sitting down, working through the alternatives, imagining how you’d manage that particular approach and what you’d need. With patience, a willingness to stop and rethink, and a little bit of courage, you can move mountains!