Mostly we learn important life lessons from experiences. Great learners also learn by observing role models.
First time I recall the experience of “divide and conquer” was as a cub scout. I wanted to pass a test as a “collector”; there were many possibilities and in my case it was a collection of stamps. The collection included thousands of stamps and the task of re-organizing them according to the guidelines was daunting. I created a smaller collection with animals as a theme and passed the test. The re-organization of the subset could have been a first step to change the organization of the collection; instead I realized that this was not something I enjoyed and stopped collecting. I learned that sometimes you are better off focusing on a subset of a challenge and doing it well; and then take on the next challenge.
The success criteria was easy in the specific case. In general I wonder if we focus enough on articulating it; and do we reflect sufficiently if it is worth our resources? As an individual; in our family; in teams - do you?