Can something look so simple, can be challengingly complicated?
That’s how I see puzzles; from as simple as a jig saw puzzle, Rubik’s cube, metal strings puzzle, wire puzzle, and four pieces puzzles. At first the challenge is simple, it’s has one simple rule, that requires deep thinking to solve it for example: to place all the pieces together when solving the jig saw; arrange each side of the Rubik’s cube according to its color; separate the two intertwined metal for metal string and wire puzzle; and arrange the four pieces of the puzzle according to the image indicated in the box. It’s a game that challenges the player on how to think outside the box and solve his simple predicament through different method of trial and error.
I experienced it when I was solving a four pieces puzzle, the pictures looked simple to follow but the pieces doesn’t fit together. Sometimes, I try to follow a certain image pattern and end-up solving a pattern I don’t intend to solve. This is when I realized that the more fixated I am on a certain objective, the more I end–up doing the opposite unintentionally. The method of trial and error, sometimes works but most of the time it doesn’t. I need to be more intelligent in solving the puzzle.
My father had a Rubik’s and I played with no intention of solving it. I just turn each side hoping the cubes will fall into its right place someday, and that day never come, until I got tired and give-up on the challenge. But my interest with Rubik’s occurred again when I was in high school, this time I researched on how to do it. Upon knowing that there is a certain pattern of movement to make the colors come together, I instantly look for the instructions rather than understanding how to make each cube move according to where I want it to be. Unfortunately the instructions, were complicated for me to understand and again I give-up on the challenge. Then, I met a friend at work who showed me how to solve it, he memorized each pattern and tried to teach me. After seeing him solving the Rubik’s, I was determined to give it another try, but my effort was not enough. I only know how to solve the first layer of Rubik’s cube, and totally lost when solving the second layer. So I gave-up again. It took me couple years again to give time to understand how to play the Rubik’s cube. This time I had the patience to understand and follow the instruction and turn each side according to a pattern that will make each pieces fall into places and solve the second layer. The Third layer was complicated to accomplish, again I was back to my habit to give-up and come-back to it whenever I feel like doing it. This time I needed a teacher to guide me, my father taught me how to patiently turn cubes until the cubes were in its proper placing, ready for its final of movement sequence. This time I learn the method of diligently following the instruction, instead of just turning the cubes in the way that I understand it. That there is a much easier sequence, and it took me some time to understand and follow it. It’s a lesson I learn watching him, turning the cubes in the proper place, for me to solve the last movement sequence and complete the Rubik’s cube.
The metal string puzzle from Kasiqi China, and wire puzzlefrom Daiso , had an interesting challenge; seeing how the wires intertwined my hands and eyes had its own eye-hand coordination that I don’t understand. Again, I was moving the puzzle without understanding, until luckily solve it without knowing how. I feel very much fulfilled with my little success, but in order to raise the bars higher, I try to put the pieces of the wires back to its original form. It caught me off guard that this challenge is more difficult. I realized that I should have took time to understand how to detach the pieces properly, because I can’t accomplish the second challenge if I can find the right way back. So, that experience made me realize again, it’s easier to just separate the pieces by accident, but to make the pieces come together it takes so much time of understanding to make each movement right and put back things to order or I’ll end–up forcing the wire to come together.
Jig-saw puzzle was the most common puzzle that anyone can relate too. I think it’s one my most common gift I received when I was young. At an early age, my instinct to force things naturally manifest. I tried to put each pieces together, even if the picture in each piece doesn’t depict the proper picture. It was just forcefully solving the entire puzzle, without understanding. Because I can’t solve it, I prefer an easier puzzle, the one with a lesser number of pieces and has bigger picture so I can easily identify if the picture doesn’t come together. If I didn’t give-up on jig-saw that easily, I could have learn in my young age that it takes patience to find the right piece to fit in a certain position of the puzzle, and see its entire picture as it should be. I was alright putting the piece together, even if it’s not the piece for that position, and again give-up on it when I feel tired.
Playing puzzle made me realize how I live my life. Its funny how through simple things like puzzle magnifies who we are without us knowing? How our certain actions reflects the lesson we need to learn. I guess the greatest puzzle I need or we need to solve is ourselves. It will take time to understand ourselves, it takes patience to realize that we sometimes move without thinking properly, and we need a guide or teacher to show our way out of our old self.
Have fun solving your own puzzle! I hope it will teach you to discipline your thoughts and actions!
Alexander the Great solved the Gordian Knot.