Lesson from a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life in pieces

Shaun Holloway
Dec 4, 2016 · 5 min read
The jigsaw puzzle piece

The Backstory

There are many ways that the brain can be given a work out. For me, I need to exercise seeing big picture things come together. It’s what I do every day… there’s a goal that needs accomplished with a lot of pieces in play.

The Object

A puzzle drought is lifted.

In 2014, it was deja-vu, as I was going through old boxes… I found a puzzle that wasn’t completed. Immediately, I opened the box and got that whiff of old cardboard (at the time, all I had was old puzzles, ha!).

My first 2,000 piece puzzle. High quality, Buffalo Games brand puzzle.

A puzzle snob is born.

Over the last two years, I’ve completed over 30 jigsaw puzzles, and I noticed the development of some deeper and more specific preferences.

  • Poorly cut puzzle pieces are really annoying. It bugs me when the paper of the pieces comes apart, or the pieces don’t fit together cleanly.
  • The image I am putting together needs to be interesting. I guess this is the whole point… I want to put together something that encourages me to see the finished product.
  • Artistic style and intrigue matter more than piece count. Good use of light, dark, and patterns are more fascinating to work with. Like a good book, it has to keep my interest. If a 500-piece puzzle tells a good story, has bold colors, and is of good quality, then it’ll be fun to do.
  • I am a traditional puzzler. I didn’t know this going in… I’ve done my fair share of 3D puzzles and such, but those double-sided, image-changing puzzles block my interest like there is no tomorrow. It’s right up there with puzzles that have huge areas of the same color. Mind-numbing.

I only do puzzles one time.

Every puzzle I have ever completed is saved in whole… all put together. I know some folks prefer to take puzzles apart and do them again later, but I just can’t do it! Once I accomplish or fix something, it’s a pet peeve of mine to do it again… at work, at home, and definitely with puzzles.

An Eric Dowdle puzzle. Folk Art style. These are fun and quick to put together!
My second 2,000 piece puzzle from Buffalo Games.

The Lesson

The jigsaw puzzle is the perfect analogy for so many concepts of life, business, and strategy. Like a huge game of memory, I can immerse myself in looking for patterns, trends, and piece together a fragmented story.

Panorama puzzle of Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
  • If a piece doesn’t fit, don’t force it.
  • Don’t underestimate the need to have a functional and efficient space to get things done. It’ll change the way you feel about work and play.
  • Open old boxes… you never know what you’ll find inside.

Lessons from Ordinary

Business and life learning from everyday objects

Shaun Holloway

Written by

Lessons from Ordinary. Business and life learning from everyday objects. http://www.srholloway.com

Lessons from Ordinary

Business and life learning from everyday objects

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