Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Tis a Puzzlement

by Tamara Martfeld

One of the best ways to exercise the mind is through solving a variety of puzzles. It is great if you are already solving puzzles for fun, however, most people tend to do only one or two kinds of puzzles.

When you are interested in exercising the mind get one of the puzzle books containing a variety of puzzles. Work through all the puzzles, especially those you donít like as well. The puzzles you donít like as well are usually the ones which challenge you more by using your weaker skills or subjects. Do as much as you can without outside help or looking at the answers. Even if you cannot solve the puzzle 100% or end up with a very interesting alternative solution (your solution does not match the answer key), the stretching of the mental skills will help keep your mind more active and healthy.

Solve the puzzles around you in addition to the puzzle books. These puzzles disguise themselves as problems, challenging situations, world crises, etc.:

1) The place you work may be having problems attracting customers. Think of as many ways as you can to draw customers into the business and donít edit your answers. For example, one idea might be for the company to pay anyone who makes a purchase $1,000,000.00. Obviously, you will get the customers and go broke in the process, but the problem of attracting customers is solved. In other words, your answers for these exercises do not need to be feasible, only a solution to the problem. Pass any feasible ideas to the decision makers in your company.

2) Your city might be having the financial challenge of finding a way to keep all critical services without raising taxes or obtaining a loan. Again, think of as many solutions as you can. Maybe a bake sale would work! ; )

3) Find a solution for world hunger. Maybe a food generator such as is in science fiction shows can be created so that anyone who is hungry can order whatever they want, whenever they want. Of the three ďsolutionsĒ I suggest in this article, this is the only one I think might someday happen. Someone has thought of it and showed through film how it should work. I am sure that someday someone will find a way to create the machine. Remember, submarines and rocket ships used to be ďimpossibleĒ.

The key is to make the mind work on something other than whatever is normal. If you happen to find feasible solutions, splendid! Pass them to those who can make the decision to implement your idea, or implement your idea yourself. Most people will find solutions which are a bit wild with this exercise. Wild solutions are still making the mind work and will sometimes lead to the perfect answer.

Have fun in the process of solving whatever puzzle you find and keep variety in the types of puzzles you solve. When solving puzzles for fun the answers donít matter. If you want to match the answer at the back of the book when it is available, fine. Just donít stress out over it.