The Philosophical Lessons of a Jigsaw Puzzle


I don’t mean to unnecessarily philosophical, but my recent puzzle-ing escapades have led me to some introspective meditation.

You see, it all began after doing the same-old 100 piece puzzles at work with the kids, I’ve realized that one can only do so many ‘My Little Pony’ and ‘Pixar Cars’ puzzles before one’s sanity is put to the ultimate test. However, I was not completely put off by the activity and actually went out and invested in my own 1,000 piece puzzle. It’s a real artsy affair: a painting of a waterside town at sunset (it was either that or a snowy village). I’ve been working away on it, slowly but surely (emphasis on the slowly), and I’ve come to realize that my biggest fault is that I will look at a piece and convince myself that it belongs in a specific spot. I am so sure that this 1/1000 of a puzzle is a part of the boardwalk, and yet I can’t quite make it fit anywhere. Frustration ensues, followed by begrudging acceptance that I made a mistake, and  finally I find myself able to look at it from a different point of view. This isn’t a piece of the boardwalk; it’s clearly part of the roof on the fish shop!

After struggling with many similar instances of stubbornness, I finally came to accept that what I at first assume is not always accurate. I’ve learned to keep an open mind and look at things from multiple perspectives. Sure, at first glance this one piece may seem like a bit of the ocean, but in actuality it’s a fold in a woman’s dress. By having a rigid mentality, I’m unable to see this, making the puzzle about 20 times harder.

So here are the philosophical lessons I have learned during my puzzle experience:

  1. Keep an open mind– whether it’s about a puzzle piece or a person. It’s important to not get stuck on one thing, but to realize that there are any number of possibilities and solutions.
  2. View each situation from multiple perspectives. So what if you didn’t get into the college of your dreams, view it as an opportunity to explore rather than an impediment to your future. It is important to view each and every situation (or puzzle piece) in multiple ways.
  3. Don’t assume, or at least accept that assumptions are prone to inaccuracy.

And finally

4. Puzzles are hard.

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