I have written in the past about life lessons I have learned while hiking. Since the past 14 months have offered me substantial opportunities to do many puzzles, I am now sharing some of the life lessons I have learned while puzzling. Are you a puzzler? If so, perhaps you can relate.

If troubled, take a different perspective.

I have often been looking for a puzzle piece and just cannot locate it. I’m sure it went missing somehow. But I have found that when I get up and walk around the table, viewing the puzzle pieces from a different angle, I suddenly find exactly the one I need. In life, we, too, may sometimes have to reposition our perspective in a way so that we see people and things differently. We can’t rely on others to show us all facets of their personalities. Or we may not initially see the positive side of what may appear to be a negative situation. Instead, we have to change our mindset, take a new point of view and look hard to find the good even in a troubling situation. Or I would argue, especially in a troubling situation! This mindset shift will lead us to much more satisfaction and peace in our lives.

Don’t make assumptions.

I don’t know how many times I am about to put a puzzle piece in its place when I discover that it doesn’t fit there. I exclaim, “How can this NOT be the right piece?!” Does this sound familiar to you too? In life, we may meet someone or be in a situation and assume we know all about it. But we can become surprised when we learn that we are wrong. This person or situation isn’t who or what we thought it to be. It should be a good reminder to us to always be open-minded and never assume we know everything. Sometimes life surprises us intentionally to teach us a lesson.

Enjoy it, it’s not a race.

Right now, I am finishing my 45th puzzle of the past 14 months. And the one I am now doing seems somehow more difficult that the others I have done. It is a challenge, albeit a fun one, and it is taking me far more time to finish this one. I am not even sure why. I could get stressed about it, but I do realize it’s a PUZZLE! My own mind wants me to finish it in record time and get on to the next one. But why? Doing puzzles is an enjoyable pastime and I don’t want to get away from that feeling. So I take my time. In life, I can become stressed out if I put an arbitrary timeline on things. So I do things at my own pace. Unless I am in an actual marathon, (which wouldn’t ever happen, by the way) there is no reason to stress myself out. If something is taking me longer to do or learn, that’s okay! I can enjoy the journey on my own timeframe.

If it can be done, you can do it.

When 1,000 puzzle pieces fill my table, I sometimes wonder if these pieces actually all fit together to make this puzzle. I may have doubts. But deep down I know they do, so I keep plugging away until piece by piece, they all come together. In life we may experience the same doubts. We may not be able to see the big picture from where we are right now. That’s okay. We don’t need to. But we do need to know things all work out for our best, and whatever your goal may be, you are going to get there as long as you do not give up.

So there you have it, a few of my favorite life lessons I have learned while puzzling. I hope you are enjoying some fun pastimes and learning from all the lessons life is providing to you as well!

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