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Puzzled by the Puzzle Pieces

Wednesday, September 4, 2019   (0 Comments)
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“It’s an elbow.”

“No, it’s a necktie.”

“What about this? Is this a leg?”

“No, it is the edge of a table.”

These are the types of arguments you have when putting together a puzzle with your wife. Well, these are the types of arguments I have when putting together a puzzle with my wife. It is easy to think you know what you’re looking at when you are staring carefully at an individual puzzle piece -- it is just as easy to be completely wrong.
How do you react when you’re completely wrong about something?

First, let’s agree that when we are putting a puzzle together, we can see both the big picture and we can see all of the individual pieces. The trick lies in how well you can quickly, methodically, and calmly get all of the little pieces assembled so they create the bigger picture.

We have likely all put a puzzle together, so we can also agree that the best way to bring the bigger picture into focus is to first assemble the pieces that obviously go together. While people may use different strategies, each one involves starting with something that is known and gradually allowing the puzzle to form the picture. Inevitably, we also know we will get stuck at some point along the way.

How do you react when you get stuck?

Frustration is the number one reaction I see when someone learns they are wrong when they were convinced they were right. Frustration is also the most common reaction I see when someone gets stuck at a particular part of the puzzle. I also see people blame the puzzle, blame themselves, or even blame somebody else when they get hung up on these unpleasantries.

We use the same “puzzle process” in our lives and in the workplace. Our goals, plans and projects are the big pictures we are trying to piece together. The same frustration occurs when we encounter unpleasant obstacles. Our reactions, however, are more important than we realize.


Paul Purdue

Attorney Computer Systems