There is a certain amount of mystery to a puzzle.
Like puzzles, people are different shapes, sizes and colors. Each carries his or her own image.
Whether it’s an old-fashioned cardboard table puzzle, online, or in real life itself, we are often perplexed by the enormity of the task when starting a puzzle.
In the beginning, the pieces are an incoherent, jumbled mess.
But then, as Thomas Pynchon says,
“Why should things be easy to understand?.”
I tend to agree. At least our level of interest and curiosity remains piqued. If you’re like most people, you thrive on challenges.
Socrates took a different perspective. He said, “The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense out of it.”
Ah, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to figure it out, does it?
Life itself is a puzzle. And as part of the human experience and what it even means to be human, we want to make sense of our lives. We can’t understand everything, but we certainly want our lives to have meaning and purpose.
Take language, for example… any language not our own, it’s a puzzle. We pick up pieces of conversation.
The cryptic sounds mask the underlying reality of another culture we simply don’t understand.
Even if it is our native language, we still don’t understand it perfectly.
We turn over a figure of speech, couch it in metaphor, try to give it context.
We give it shape and weight by the meaning we assign it.
At some level, we strive for order and balance. We compartmentalize. We arrange according to what seems to go together.
Sometimes we get it right. Other times, the answers still elude us and we need to regroup.
So where do you begin when you are flummoxed?
Begin at the beginning. Start with where you are right now.
LIFE LESSONS FROM A PUZZLE
In looking at life from various angles, here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way.
I trust these will benefit you. This may surprise you, but these are in no particular order 😉
If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it.
If you’re working at solving a puzzle online,
it is impossible to force the pieces to fit.
But with a table puzzle, if you try to force the pieces in where they don’t belong, the rounded edges will separate and crease, damaging the puzzle.
In life, if you try to force things to fit where they don’t belong, at the very least, you will meet with resistance.
In the Land of Puzzledom, Patience is King!
John Denver once sang,
“Some days are diamonds, some days are stone…“
When going through tough times, remember these things:
- Always seek the best possible outcome.
- Concern yourself with what you can control.
- Look for the lesson to be gleaned, not what you may lose.
- Wise words passed down from people who knew: THIS TOO SHALL PASS!
So, above all things, BE PATIENT and make the most out of every moment.
Observation Is Key!
Observation skills are the most important aspect of solving a puzzle.
The more observant you become, the faster the pieces fall into place.
As a leisure activity, time is not very important. But in police work it sure is. When a serious crime has been committed, it is important for investigators to solve the puzzle before more of us get hurt.
Presumptions only serve to mislead you.
With puzzle pieces and in life, we often encounter mistaken identity.
We assume, presume and reassume. In a fraction of a second, we instantly size them up.
We make instant decisions as to their importance, what context they play in our lives.
Everyone we encounter has something of value. Trust me… they’re all important.
The Puzzle Of Humanity
We are like puzzle pieces, we are all unique. We are uncommon, even in our commonality.
We all have enormous complexity, even in our seeming simplicity.
In fact, human behavior is often very puzzling. There are aspects about ourselves we don’t understand. At times we are highly irregular. We expect people to act a certain way, and they act “out of character.”
One thing that puzzles me is why people do not act kind when they have the chance to BE LOVE TO OTHERS.
LIFE IS A DYNAMIC PUZZLE
When we are young and seemingly invincible, we have our whole lives to live, to explore, to play.
In our carefree estate, we connect easily, even if briefly, just to play. We are not at all concerned about, nor do we even care about what lies ahead.
As we begin to mature, we also begin to lose our childlike sense of wonder. One day, out of the blue, an almost nebulous awareness creeps into our imagination. The wonderment of juvenile days become a new type of wonder; one of skepticism and doubt.
As you know, life gets messy. We try to sort out our feelings. There are times we feel disconnected. We feel just like the piece labelled OOSOOM (Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind.)
When we begin to discover who we are, an outline begins to emerge.
Along the way, because we are inexperienced, we pick up pieces, such as BAD HABITS, FAUX PAS, and MISGIVINGS.
We aren’t wise enough yet to let them go, or to realize what an unnecessary burden we carry around with us.
We pick up pieces of life’s puzzle called OPO (Other People’s Opinions,) and tend to give them more weight than they deserve.
The color of life slowly erodes into shades of uncertainty. If we are not careful, we trade pieces of our brilliance for jaded judgment, rusty reasoning, and tarnished thinking.
If we are less mindful than we ought to be, nothing fits. What used to work, no longer holds true.
But because life is a dynamic puzzle, when we are discouraged, we can pick up the pieces of our lives
and still move forward. We can pick up FAITH and cling to HOPE.
One day you discover the piece that completes you. This is TRUE LOVE. From that point on, you are inseparably connected.
Another piece is called your LIFE PURPOSE. Completely surrounding this one piece are IMPORTANT DECISIONS, which need to each be carefully weighed and given a deliberate measure of consideration. Combined, these pieces are central to all of your connections.
The wisest amongst us learn to set down and skillfully replace BAD HABITS.
The Big Picture
In the “big picture,” we all have something meaningful to add – another facet of beauty, an element of humaneness,
a very distinct and original improvement. We all have our rightful place in the grand design.
Deepak Chopra says,
“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill,
and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.“
Jen Leaman says, “The human race is like a puzzle: Everyone fits in somewhere, it just takes a while to figure it out.”
In fact, the big picture would be incomplete without your piece.
What do you bring to the table? The brightest piece of all… your INNER BEAUTY.
This is the real you!
You Have A Voice… Let’s Hear It!
What came to mind as you read this?
What other parallels between a puzzle and life come to mind that I did not mention?
Please let me know by adding your valuable comments here.
I love learning from you. Your thoughts are always appreciated. Thank you!
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