Life is like a puzzle

Life is like a puzzle

Life is a puzzle

This past weekend I visited my Mom. She had recently started a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle! It was a beautiful scene of over 50 hot air balloons rising above the ground. Many of the balloons were quite intricate, some were simple and a handful looked way too much alike. I could tell this puzzle would be a challenge yet I proceeded to jump right in.

Mom had already built the outside border and a few of the simple balloons (the hippo is adorable.) We sorted the remaining puzzle pieces into groups to help make things easier. Sometimes we’d find a fit by color, sometimes pattern or even shape. We both approached it a little different yet both approaches worked. Teamwork made it easier and more fun.

We worked on the puzzle here and there over the course of the next day. We yelled “I got a piece” and celebrated when we found a match. We laughed a lot, cursed a few times and even wondered why the heck she started this puzzle in the first place. We were both amazed how we could see an “obvious” piece and things seemed clearer when we returned after a break.

Two of the balloons were really tough so we ignored them as long as we could. Since we couldn’t ignore them forever we eventually pieced them together separately and then dropped them into the larger puzzle. (There was extra cursing piecing together those two balloons and an extra feeling of accomplishment when they were done.)

Piece by piece the puzzle came along. Excited we kept working until the last piece went into place. Or so we thought. Oh crap. There was a piece left over?! Not a missing piece but a piece left over. How could that be true? Quickly we realized there was an empty space where the piece went. We had been looking at the puzzle so long neither of us noticed. Finally….

We were done!

We high-fived each other, smiled and sighed. “It’s done”, Mom exclaimed. “I never would have finished it without you” she said. “Funny” I replied. “I never would have started it without you!” We laughed and agreed not to start another one. We took a picture and enjoyed the moment.  I then commented “Mom, this puzzle is so much like life. It took us over 1,000 small steps to reach the bigger goal. And that’s not counting the times the pieces didn’t fit!” She agreed. We chatted about the life lessons the puzzle taught us and expressed gratitude for the gifts.

Perhaps one of these is relevant for you today!

  • Tackle any challenge, no matter the size, one puzzle piece at a time
  • Do the easy stuff first to get you rolling
  • Group like tasks and tackle them together
  • Break big goals into smaller goals to gain a feeling of accomplishment
  • No two pieces are the same, but they all have their place
  • When something fits it goes together easily – you don’t have to force it
  • If it doesn’t fit, keep trying different approaches, eventually something will work
  • Not every step produces immediate success but all steps together eventually do
  • Take breaks when you need them and you’ll return with a fresh new perspective
  • Teamwork rocks, it’s easier to share a challenge with someone vs tackle it alone

And, most importantly,

  • Have fun and celebrate every success – if it’s not fun, why do it

 

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