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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Oh, Thank Blog!

The other day, my post on Meme’s gained some attention after being “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress. My measly 10 random views a day skyrocketed to over a thousand. Comments came pouring in, as did ‘likes’ and even subscriptions to my blog. In fact, the primary reason most of you are reading this now is probably due to my one minor success. I’m not writing this as a boast, but rather to convey my disbelief that quickly led to some over-analyzing of the splendid situation.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons:

  1. To vent to an online community of nameless readers.
  2. To keep myself updated on PR & Media related events.
  3. To get myself (and my resume) out there, even if only as a resume builder.
  4. To deliver news as well as my own opinions.

Going into this experience, reasoning number four was not necessarily leading the pack. I realized that as “just another silly blogger” my chances of actually delivering my messages to a mass audience were pretty slim. I’ve been on twitter for some while, and despite any wit or wisdom (or at least what I would consider to be the two), my followers still mostly include real-life friends and the random spammers who want me to buy prescription drugs off the black market (and I of course don’t block these individuals because, let’s face it, I like to see my number of followers as high as possible–even if they are scumbags or robots). Due to my limited success on twitter, I came into the blogosphere with similar expectations. I planned for it to be more of a personal social networking tool, rather than one with mass appeal. But after the other day’s “Freshly Pressed” occurrence, I found my blog open to whole new opportunities.

The idea of people actually reading these posts is slightly intimidating (sorry for all the grammar and spelling mistakes…), but even more frightening– it’s slightly empowering. While I know my readership isn’t exactly of epic proportions, it’s more than I would ever expect. These readers, and the supporting and informative comments they’ve made lead me to the ultimate point of this latest post: The internet and its social networking sites have truly revolutionized the power of the people in getting their voice heard.

Perhaps I was first struck by this idea when I heard that Tweets would start to be recorded for the Library of Congress (so, years from now, some extremely bored relative of mine can look up my nonsensical 140 character ramblings). This latest blog experience has added to my disbelief. The internet is such a powerful resource in getting our voices heard. PR and Marketing companies caught on to this trend from the very beginning, capitalizing on the free publicity and tools. The best examples of the public using this power comes from Presidential elections, especially this past election when the youth voters made up a great majority of Obama’s support. Our ideas and opinions can be posted for the world to see. There is not filter or gate-keeper to keep our voices from being heard. Of course, garnering enough attention to make your message worthwhile is another campaign, but there remains that ability to freely voice your opinion to the possibility of a mass audience.

I know people will be reading my posts now. This fad may only last another week, or another month, but I at least know that my voice is being heard. People value my opinion and what I have to say. Whether they agree with me or not, whether they learn something from my posts or find them to be aimless ramblings– I know that people are at least taking the time to look at these words that I’ve put effort into creating. This is a wonderful feeling.

While I wanted to (quick) post to reflect upon the powers of the internet, I also want to take the chance to thank everyone for their support. The internet is filled with faceless and nameless viewers that I may never meet, but the positive and encouraging reactions they have to my writings are humbling. Thank you so much for your support and viewership. I wish you success in your blogs, and look forward to reading what everyone else has to say. We live during a very interesting time, and it’s wonderful that we can get the full effect of events through the opinions of others.