Puzzle Day 1

We must be in the later part of autumn moving into winter.  How do I know?  Well yes, the calendar and the weather both point that out, but for me the definitive clue is I broke out a puzzle today.  For me puzzling is my fall and winter Sunday afternoon activity.

When Jerry and I took a walk today he asked me why I like to work puzzles (he clearly does not!).  Is it that puzzles add another “p” word to my vocabulary – like my much loved word pondering?  I think it goes deeper than that.

Take the puzzle I started today; my sister in law gave it to me last Christmas.  It’s a reproduction of an Italian painting and it’s a tough one.  I was tempted to put it aside, but that would be admitting defeat without even trying. I am a bit too competitive to do that.

I like the challenge of taking something that seems impossible and breaking it down to “can do” steps. I truly thought at the end of the day today I may not have anything other than the border done, but I am pleasantly surprised! Persistence paid off.

Puzzles sharpen my problem solving skills. They help me

  • see that details matter.  Paying attention to the shading differences, or subtleties of a piece are sometimes the only way to make a match
  • things aren’t always how they look – how often have I searched over and over for a particular piece, then when I finally find it I am surprised to see it was that piece.
  • realize that everything doesn’t have to be done at once; sometimes a break from puzzling allows me to come back to it with a fresh perspective and I can tackle an area that had stymied me before.
  • the end result doesn’t come overnight (unless one of Jerry’s attendants finishes it for me, but that’s never happened!). Often it takes a lot of hard work and every piece is necessary to make a beautiful completed picture.

I don’t usually consciously ponder these points while puzzling, but I do see how they have been influential in developing the way I tackle projects or problems in my personal life and in my work life.

So here’s to a new week that I enter refreshed and rested with the knowledge that the goal that seems so far away can be broken down and be within my reach.
Need that reminder too? Feel free to stop by and puzzle with me. You’ll find one in process for the next several months.