5 Valuable Lessons from Jigsaw Puzzles
Written by Soon Cho / January 4th, 2023
Are you a puzzler?
When do you call yourself a 'puzzler' anyway?
I would define a puzzler as a person who does puzzles regularly and it is part of their practice, just like going to the gym.
Well, whether you are a puzzler or not, puzzles teach us many things.
Since creating a puzzle brand and becoming a puzzler myself (side note: I am an artist who accidentally fell into puzzling when I made puzzles with my art), I learned many valuable life lessons and I want to share them with you all.
1. Great things take time
That's right. I hate to admit it, but it's true.
If you ever tried a 1000 piece puzzle, or even a 100 piece puzzle, you know you cannot complete it in a minute or two. For a regular puzzler, an average time it takes to do a 1000 piece puzzle is roughly 3-5 hours. That is a commitment right there. Not only that, it requires your 'full attention'. Nope, you absolutely cannot multi-task while puzzling. The only thing you could do is to listen to music, an audio book, or a podcast.
Similarly in life, all things that give you true fulfillment take time, and you can only do the job well with a complete focus. For example, if you want to be an expert at something, the study shows that it takes at least 10 years of regular practice to build a skill and be great at it, and ONLY do one thing at a time. This means no multi-tasking. Many great athletes solely focused on their specific fields for years to be where they are even if they did many other things (like starting a business, becoming an actor, etc) after they became 'great at one thing' first.
2. You will have frustrating moments
Puzzling is fun.
It lets you be in a 'flow state' where you feel 100% engaged, immersed, and fully present. Especially in this day and age, we don't get enough flow state with our smartphones around. However, it doesn't mean that puzzling is easy (oh, it will certainly challenge you). Yes, there are different levels of difficulties in puzzles, but you will have a few frustrating moments where you feel stuck, and need to use more of your brain or step away to clear your head.
How similar does this sound to our life?
Do we always have fun, feel happy and have roses and unicorns? Certainly not (for me at least)! Life is composed of joys, frustrations, challenges, accomplishments, and many more. It is a whole package of emotions we go through, and I think that's what makes life interesting.
I have learned that when I get stuck in a puzzle, I give it a break and come back to it. My brain needs to recharge, and if I don't force puzzles to progress, it solves itself out and I find myself solving it effortlessly. And yes, if you get stuck in life, take a break and breathe. You will be fine.
3. One step at a time
It is quite intimidating when you pour out 1000 puzzle pieces out of a box. However, if you take one step at a time, it's not as hard as you think. These are the steps I take to complete a puzzle.
- Choose to do a puzzle
- Pour out the pieces and flip them right side up
- Sort the pieces by colour or image
- Start somewhere that's the easiest
- Focus on one section at a time
- When I get stuck, I step away (don't give up!)
- Get back to it, and start putting small sections together to make a larger section
- At this stage, the puzzle image starts to take its shape, and I fill out the missing areas
- When there is a large section of solid colour, I sort by piece shapes
- Now, it's a matter of time. I see the last few pieces and I am done!
- Rub the puzzle surface and stare at it for a while.
Lessons learned are: take small steps to achieve something, and don't give up.
4. Joy is doubled when it's shared
Do you have a hobby you live for?
Some people love to knit, some love to skateboard, and MANY love puzzling. When hobbies are your regular practice, it kind of becomes your lifestyle. Often, you will find communities of like-minded people who share similar interests. Why? It's simply more fun when you share your joy, just like sharing a delicious meal with your friends and family. We are social creatures, period.
Well, the puzzle community is definitely a place to be if you are a puzzler. Puzzlers are the kindest, and the most welcoming people you will ever find, and not only you could share the joys of puzzling but also find lifelong friends! Check out our Puzzler's Profiles and start connecting.
5. We are all different but we need each other
Just like us, every puzzle piece is different. Either in shape, image or both, no two pieces are the same. This is why the pieces go where they are supposed to go, and you will have that 'so satisfying' moment with a soft click. And if there is one missing piece, the puzzle image won't be complete. Every single piece is important, and I think this is how the world runs. We need 'different' pieces (whether it is a metaphor for personality, occupation, or taste) to complete a beautiful world.
Puzzling also teaches us patience, perseverance, and staying calm. I love puzzling, and I am so happy that I can create this experience for the community. As an artist, I can use my skills to add the fun to the puzzling experience, and support many artists like myself as well! What a blessing. Thank you, thank you.
Keep on Puzzling, Keep on Living!