5 Things We Can Learn From Jigsaw Puzzles

In today’s installment of Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects I want to take a look at something that can be fun one minute and frustrating the next. A game that features levels of difficulty for ages 1-100+.

No I am not talking about Candy Crush.

I am referring to jigsaw puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles can be described as an activity where you must assemble many oddly shaped pieces together to form a complete picture. If that isn’t a good analogy for life, I don’t know what is.

Five Things We Can Learn From Jigsaw Puzzles

1. Quick Wins

One popular strategy for putting together a jigsaw puzzle is to start by finding all the edge pieces. By finding all the straight pieces and corners, you not only get an idea for how big the finished product will be, but you also set yourself up for some quick wins. The edges are the easiest pieces to match together and by starting with them, you help yourself get off to a great start.

Financial author helps thousands of people get out of debt by using what he calls a “Debt Snowball.” Ramsey’s theory is that the best way to pay off debt is to start with the smallest debt first. He feels that you need some quick wins in order to get excited about paying off debt. Once you see yourself paying off debt, you will stay motivated and want to continue. The motivation will snowball and you will quickly be rolling.

The same idea can be applied to chasing your dream. If you are trying to start your own business, start with some quick wins. Create a logo or a business card before you sign a lease for a 10,000 square foot office. By beginning with the easiest parts first you will create a snowball of momentum that will help you plow through the difficult parts.

2. Organization

Step #2 for completing a jigsaw puzzle is to group pieces together based on color. If you are doing a puzzle with flowers, group all the yellow flowers in one place and all the red flowers in another. This will help you find pieces that match.

One of the pitfalls of pursuing your dream is being unorganized. You get so wrapped up in brainstorming ideas and concepts but you forget to keep things structured. Writing down a million dollar idea on a napkin is fine, but it does you no good if you can’t find the napkin because your desk is a mess. Just as you wouldn’t group yellow puzzle pieces with red ones, find an organizational strategy that helps you achieve your goals.

3. Some Pieces Just Don’t Fit

I think that the makers of jigsaw puzzles just like to mess with us sometimes. They create pieces that appear to fit together but have very slight differences that prevent them from being a match. You can spend hours trying to force pieces together, but to no avail.

A quick glance at the picture below and you might think those pieces fit together. But upon closer look you will see that the opening on the piece on the left is just slightly bigger than the round side on the piece on the right.

puzzle 2

The road to achieving your dream may be filled with pieces that just don’t fit. You can spend hours trying to force pieces together or you can just move on and continue looking for the right piece.

4. Things Take Time

No matter how well you know the faces of former presidents, a 10,000 piece puzzle of Mount Rushmore just takes time. Puzzles are hard and require time and effort. You may be the best jigsaw puzzle strategist in the world, but you still won’t be able to rush through to the finish line

No matter how great you are with quick wins or organizing, chasing your dream can take time. You can’t do it all at once. And you can’t let that fact frustrate you.

5. It Is All About The Journey

Sure it’s cool to have a jigsaw puzzle of a lighthouse, but we rarely do puzzles for the end picture. You don’t spend five days working with your family on a puzzle of a lighthouse because you really want a picture of a lighthouse. The comradery or the challenge means much more than getting to see how the puzzle looks at the end. If all we wanted was a lighthouse, we would just print out a picture of a lighthouse.

The journey to achieving your dream is also much more important than a picture of a lighthouse. Life is about the journey, not the end result. I know I am not breaking any ground with this concept. There have been stories, songs and even Pinterest pages featuring this idea. This can be a difficult thing to remember, so I think it is good to have constant reminders.



Photo credit: Wikipedia

  • L&O SVU Fan:Link

    Can someone pay me to assemble a jigsaw for them