Puzzles and Tools

I love to solve puzzles. Wooden puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, escape the room puzzles, sudoku, and crossword puzzles. I like to work on all kinds of problems. It keeps my mind sharper, there is a feeling of euphoria when solving a hard puzzle, and I find insights into some of my other concerns that I might’ve missed otherwise.

Some people hate puzzles, and I understand why. Many times, the person working the problem is looking for an easy solution or something with just a few steps in it. Failing to find an immediate answer, the would-be puzzle solver gives a shrug of the shoulders and says that the puzzle could not be solved. The next time the particular puzzle style comes around, the person merely says, ‘I can never solve those, it just can’t be done.’

When I was younger, I also used to get frustrated and give up puzzles. Then, I learned and started practicing with a couple of rudimentary mental tools which made solving the puzzle much easier. And later I discovered these mental tools have far greater uses. These tools can actually help us in many other areas of our lives.

I learned that solving puzzles and gaining knowledge in business and life had to start with the belief that the problems could be solved.  This is probably the most important of all the tools. Not believing that something is possible results in never putting forth the effort to actually accomplish it. We may give it lip service, yet most efforts are only halfhearted at best.

My next tool is knowledge. If I believe the puzzle can be solved, then I believe that, in most cases, someone somewhere has done this before. If they can do it, then I should be able to do it. I just need to take some time to explore the possibilities.

My third tool is understanding the possibilities. You need to look at all problems based on possible inputs and possible results. Don’t think about the impossible because more and more the impossible, is becoming probable, and might be able to be purchased within the next five years. Remember, the only thing impossible in technology are some of the folks you’ll meet along the way.

So today I give you three tools, belief, knowledge, and understanding the possibilities. Like any tool, these work best when used often and treated with care. There’s nothing worse than going out to the garden to use a tool and having to brush off all the cobwebs and take time to sharpen it before it becomes useful again.

Well, there’s the mean old master sergeant’s thought again. Thanks for being with me, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.