Puzzles

Today is puzzle day! Now I bet you think that puzzles are funny shaped bits of board, colored on one side and plain on the back, and they all fit together in a perfect ordering. You’d be right, but what other kinds of puzzles do you regularly solve?

There are many kinds of basic puzzles that break down into categories of word, number, image, shape, and story. There is great fun and intrigue found in the many puzzling challenges that exist in daily life. For me that might be figuring the angles and infrastructure, the invisible bits of a sculpture. Or debating the myriad of choices I have to create a robust painting composition from the likes of lines, textures, colors and light play.

Puzzles are not only for artists or brain stimulation craving folks. Everyday puzzles exist and you engage them, too. I’m the chef in my abode and I must solve the dilemma of what to eat several times per day, for example: taking a bag of fresh vegetables and stirring them into a delightful meal; and kneading together flour water and yeast, shaping the dough, timing the bake and savoring the process, smells and taste are regular parts of the conundrum to work out.

Poetic puzzle solving is simply adding a bit of romantic description to what you do and the way you do it. I confess I can’t work out my meal mysteries with such overtones every day. It’s not unusual to show up at the market hungry, tired, and needing to have a meal on the table within the hour.  Not a romantic puzzle to arrange, but an important rather awesome one. The average grocery store contains upwards of 47,000 items for you to sort through. A big jig saw puzzle has 1000-2000 pieces which doesn’t sound so daunting compared to what you likely encounter regularly at your market choosing dinner.

Puzzles are a necessary ingredient in your day. What time will you rise? What to eat? How will you dress for the weather? What route to work? What are the important things to accomplish today? Your day is filled with layers of puzzles to solve. The power question to ask is: How will you work your days’ dilemmas and pull all the pieces together?

A puzzle is a mission resolved by strategy. There are key strategies used to correctly arrange every puzzle.

  • Frame the question/Claim the puzzle.
  • Clearly identify all the pieces.
  • Arrange the pieces in a manner that serves your resolution.
  • Work the process.
  • Know your endgame.

To claim the puzzle you identify what it is you want to accomplish. It might be something like you want to put together a puzzle so you can recreate the photo image.

When clearly identifying all the pieces you’ll need to think about the finished size and arrange the necessary supports while you fit the pieces together. How much time will you need?

When you arrange the actual puzzle pieces you will have to look at and sort them out in some particular manner. I turn them all right side up and pull out all the edge pieces. Then I separate by color and/or shape.

As I work through the puzzle I may rearrange my pieces to suit the next task. I employ image identifying skills looking at both the surface picture and the shape of the actual piece.

A part of the end game will be assembling all the pieces to see the puzzle image. Then what will you do? You could glue it onto another board and frame it or you can break it up to build again.

These strategies will work for any puzzle you encounter including those of work and relationships with people. Frame your question, claim your puzzle, identify the parts, plan your strategy, work the puzzle and plan your ending.

I’d love to hear your comments about your strategies and the puzzles you solve!

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(Photo courtesy of GDJ at Pixaby)

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