The Bricolage Method: The Art Of Managing The Hand You've Been Dealt

I had the opportunity to make a trip to L.A., this week. 

It wasn't really for work. It was more of an excuse to hang out with a friend and soak up the city of Angels. 

The trip turned out to be a great day. First, was the Fairfax district. I was told this is comparable to the Soho district in New York? 

Regardless, the area provides a sensory overload. Food, people, fashion and a never-ending buzz of entertainment. One thing that did catch my attention was that the Fairfax district has money - multi-million dollar homes and beamers right off the lot are the norm.

But you also find a swarm of urban bohemians walking around. Oversized clothing, unwashed hair, Pendleton scarfs wrapped around their necks and a posture that screams, "I'm a non-conformist." 

I like it. 

The clash provides a unique experience. If you're into second-hand clothing, check out Wasteland. 

Then, we headed to Lincoln Heights - a tad different than the Fairfax district. Gritty and with no Whole Foods Market in sight, this place reminded me a little bit of where I grew up - North Long Beach. 

We met up with a photographer who shoots Usher, Madonna, and Miguel among others. Meaning, the guy knows his stuff. 

But what fascinated me was his living space. From what I understand, his building was the first Ralph's grocery store in California. How true this is doesn't matter to me (it makes a great story). 

His 5,000 sq ft studio was the attic of this grocery store at one point. Used as a work/live studio, it was something like you see on Pinterest. 

Every piece was curated from thrift shops. An old record player sits atop a worn Persian rug in the living area space accompanied by revealed pipes across the ceiling. One-half of the studio is original brick and the a series of windows without screens allow for the afternoon glow to provide that warm lighting. 

You get the idea. 

It was a great time. I got to know a little bit about the photographers story and we took a few shots while we were there. 

And then it was time to go home. I figured that 6:30 P.M., was an appropriate time to travel in Los Angeles. 

The trip from Los Angeles to my home in Mission Viejo should take an hour and fifteen minutes or so. 

It look me almost three hours to get back. 

I hate traffic just as much you as you do. It's a bummer, right? 

We start asking questions like, "Why are there so many people on the highway?"

Like the answer will help anything. 

But on this trip home, I thought about something I read earlier in the week. 

It's called the Bricolage method. 

Bricolage is a French word used in the arts. But if we expand its use, it also means commandeering the materials available - Bricolage is artfully solving a problem with the resources at hand. 

And so, even though there was a laundry list of things I'd rather do than sit in traffic, I thought, what are my tools at hand that can turn this around?

Thankfully, I had a mini-computer - my iPhone - on me. Instead of looking at the soul-crushing red lights for miles ahead and wanting gauge my own eyes out, I slapped on a podcast. 

The one I listened to that particular day was the James Altucher podcast featuring Adam Grant. 

I turned what was a dreadful situation into a two hour learning session. Listening to conversation on topics I was interested in distracted my mind from the traffic. 


Sure, this is a light example. 

But, let me ask you, where can you use some Bricolage in your own life?

Do you bake killer cupcakes, but don't have the network or advertising dollars to go mainstream? Hold some in-home bake sales. Create a Facebook and Instagram page and document your process. Let people into your creative baking system. Then, invite them over to taste them. Ask them if they like the cupcakes and then offer to sell them a box of six. Then, repeat the process. 

Do you wish your body looked different, but don't have access to a state-of-the-art gym that offers filtered water and warm gym towels? Hope onto craigslist and find a set of dumbbells and a kettlebell - it'll be few bucks.

These two items along with a list of bodyweight movements is enough to change your body. If you need a workout program to follow, you're one blue link away. 

Are you having a hard time finding work, and running around from interview to interview is getting exhausting? Evaluate what you're good it.

Can you write? Do you know how to play the piano? Do you have an athletic background that people know you for? Are you fashion savvy? Do dominate Instagram with your photos? In today's world, people will pay you for what you're good at. 

You know how to style a man from head to toe? You can be a men's fashion consultant. 

You know how to generate conversation on Instagram with a sick photo? Businesses are looking fro social media managers. 

You know how to make a high school basketball player run faster and jump higher? Programs across the country are looking for you. 

You know how to tell stories in the topics that interest you? Media brands are built on content - if you know how to tell a story they want you to write for them. 

I don't know what it is for you. But, I would bet a little Bricolage in some corner of your life wouldn't hurt. 

Plus, if you get good at turning limitations into assets, it'll be a life skill you'll never regret forging.