The Puzzlers’ Philosophy

G4G9 invited both those who like to make puzzles, and those who try to solve them. So when I had the chance to speak to one of the puzzle-solvers, Joe DeVincentis, I asked him how he goes about solving puzzles.

He told me the first step is to figure out what kind of a puzzle you’re working on. This isn’t always obvious, and sometimes something that looks like one kind of a puzzle is actually another. Then, you figure out the appropriate strategy for solving the puzzle. And then, and only then, do you go ahead and get to work on the puzzle itself.

I found it remarkably applicable to real life. How many times, when you come across a difficult situation, do you just plow into it (or run away from it) in an effort to resolve it? It would be much more effective to use the puzzlers’ way of dealing with it. First, figure out what the problem really is, and figure out what you need to do to resolve that. And then, go ahead and deal with it. Doing otherwise is often the very cause of further plot twists in novels I like to read; or amusement in TV shows I like to watch.

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