Merriam-Webster defines deconstruction as “the analytic examination of something (as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy.”
I have found myself hearing or explaining variations of “deconstruction” quite a bit over the past week or so. I’m on the committee for an upcoming conference and in speaking of our plans for next year, I suggested, rather boldly for a new member, that we start planning the 2013 meeting soon after the 2012 event is over. And in order to properly plan, we need to first take a step back and rethink our purpose. Sometimes this means deconstructing our entire program and evaluating each element’s strengths and weaknesses. At work, I found that our workgroup got so caught up in discussion of our project that we lost sight of our goals. Again, I suggested we “take a step back” (obviously my favorite phrase) and re-evaluate the plan.
In another instance of deconstruction, my friend Mr. Fresh spoke of deconstructing drum tracks for a song he was working on. I asked him to explain what he meant, knowing this process was similar to what I had been pondering over the past few days. “When you construct something, you have various elements that you put together to form a whole of something. Deconstructing is the opposite. For simplicity, a drum track is built of the different parts of a drum kit – snare, kick drum, hi hat, crash and ride cymbals, and toms. I used the term deconstruct here to mean focus on each individual part to see what editing is needed, if any.”
I have found the process of deconstruction to be one that can be applied not just in business, or in music, but in life. Many times we get so caught up in everyday busyness, the “rat race,” the “daily grind,” that it would do us good to stop, take a step back and re-evaluate. But deconstruction is much more than just pausing to ponder. The dictionary definition adds that we examine something “in order to reveal its inadequacy.” Scientists and researchers deconstruct old theories in order to prove their inadequacies and create new theories. They build upon the old to create something new and improved.
As in business, you rethink your purpose. I have always been a firm believer that everyone has a purpose in life. The challenge is to first discover that purpose and then fulfill it. Sometimes we are caught up in doing something, not realizing that it may not be that which we were created to do. Many times when things in our lives just don’t seem to be working, it’s time to deconstruct and rethink your purpose. Now, I don’t suggest doing this alone. One must always consult the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) – have a talk with God, since He is the one who designed us for our specific purpose. Why not ask the One who knows all the answers!
Personal deconstruction may involve some minor tweaking, or perhaps a major overhaul. Like in Mr. Fresh’s music example, we need to focus on each individual part to see what editing is needed. How is my physical health (and mental health, for that matter)? What about my spiritual health? How are my relationships with family, friends and business associates? How am I faring at work or in school? Deconstruction does not always have to mean major renovation. It can be as simple as regular preventative maintenance to gauge one’s performance at a given time. So no more excuses – take time to deconstruct!