Figuring out the Puzzle (25 Life Lessons)


I’ve made puzzles before, but I don’t think I ever really understood them.  I also don’t ever remember making a puzzle in my adult life, but it is something I will definitely be doing more of in the future.  I stayed over at a friend’s house last night, and when I was about to leave in the morning, her room mate woke up around the same time, and decided to show me a puzzle she had just started working on.  She hadn’t done much of it yet, but had started working on the edges, and for some reason, I sat down to look at it for a few minutes, and we ended up making the whole thing together!  My friend woke up a couple of hours after we started, helped us for a little while, and then we finished it.  It took us just under 5 hours, but it was definitely the most insightful 5 hours I’ve had in a while!  I never realized how much you can learn about yourself and the journey of life, just by putting a difficult puzzle together!  I decided to share 25 of the lessons here.  Feel free to pass this on to anyone who you think may get something out of it, but I wanted to personally thank you all for being pieces of my puzzle!

1) Only look at the box once to get a rough idea of what you’re going for, but a huge part of the enjoyment comes from figuring it out along the way.

2) Start by putting together the outline. Get the foundation in place. It’s ok if one or two of the pieces aren’t there yet. They’ll come. You’ll find them in time.

3) Celebrate the little achievements in life, and the moments when the puzzle pieces start coming together. Remember that every little piece is a necessary part of the puzzle.

4) You may not know how something or someone is going to fit, but eventually it will all make sense.

5) Keep going.

6) Sometimes you have to change your perspective in order to see things that you couldn’t see before. View it from a different angle.

7) Make sure you have enough space to work with the pieces that are already inside the puzzle. Work on them as much as you can first before bringing in new pieces.

8) Sometimes you think you know where something goes, but really it goes somewhere else.

9) It’s ok to let other people help. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Sometimes other people can see something so clearly, when it was hard for you to figure it out by yourself.

10) Different people bring a different energy to the puzzle. Be clear about the types of energy that you want to have around.

11) Sometimes you have to walk away from it, and get some distance to see the bigger picture.

12) Use your skills, but don’t just concentrate on your area of expertise.  Challenge yourself by working on things that you aren’t so good at as well.

13) Every piece holds unique clues, so pay close attention to the details.

14) When you connect two large chunks of the puzzle together, that is a major accomplishment, and a magical moment.  It feels great to know you’re getting somewhere!

15) Encourage each other. Work as a team with a shared goal, as opposed to keeping score of who is getting more done.  Work on the things that you’re drawn to.  It will all get done eventually.

16) Don’t spend too long trying to find one piece. When you’re supposed to find it, it’ll come to you.

17) No matter how hard you try to make two pieces go together, if they don’t fit, they don’t fit.

18) We all move at our own speed and in our own way, and each of us get different things from the puzzle, but we all contribute to the full picture in equally crucial ways.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  It is a personal journey.

19) Don’t worry about whether or not you have all the pieces, just keep going, they’ll show up in due time.

20) Sometimes it gets really hard but you can’t give up. Eventually you’ll get somewhere.

21) You go through times of big spurts of things coming together, to times when everything looks like a blurry mess.  (Times of major clarity and productivity, to times of feeling overwhelmed, where nothing gets done at all).

22) Sometimes you have to try it to know.

23) The more challenging the puzzle, the more satisfying the finished product.

24) When you complete the puzzle, that journey is over, so don’t be in a rush to finish it.  Enjoy all the little moments of connection along the way.

25) You can get a lot done if you focus.