The Correlation between Puzzles and Problem Solving

By: Gittan Alicia | Contributing AOJ Journalist

Puzzles are quite an interesting subject. All one is doing is putting pieces together in the right place to form an end result of some sort, yet one can find immense joy in doing so. From an outside view, puzzles sound dull and simplistic, but once one sits down and tries solving a puzzle, one tends to be dumbfounded and overcome with frustration at so great challenge. Why is this so, and why are some people better at working out puzzles than others?

              Puzzles can range from putting together actual tangible pieces of a variety shapes to form the end result of an image, to recording numbers in boxes so all rows and columns equal a particular sum. Yet all of these puzzles, regardless of their type, require a certain skill, this skill is known as problem solving. Puzzles force an individual to take several different approaches to solve a problem, and eventually these approaches will be perfected and evaluated through trial and error. For example, when solving a standard picture puzzle, one could simply grab random pieces one by one and start sticking them together, or look for only corner pieces, or sort through the pieces and put them into sections according to where they might belong based off the picture. An individual could also use a combination of these approaches in several different orders to determine what they think works best, but to do so requires trial and error, which is problem solving. This means that to solve a puzzle efficiently, the individual needs problem solving, and therefore, problem solving is developed through the art of solving puzzles.

              The benefits of solving puzzles can easily be seen in the real world. Jobs require problem solving in a variety of activities ranging from creating theories, forming and testing hypotheses, and changing the approach when something doesn’t work out. This might sound like something that can only be applied to scientific work, but it can be applied to any job. For instance, an individual could use the problem-solving methods by testing out different schedules, amounts of sleep, and activities to maximize their efficiency at work and overall mood. Problem solving is also useful to make an individual more innovative and adaptive when changes occur or things come up at work because they’re able to effectively come up with an approach with a greater chance at working. Problem solving can also give a company an advantage over competition through critical thinking that maximizes company performance.

              Therefore, solving puzzles can be greatly beneficial for improving an individual’s problem-solving skills. These skills can be useful in work and everyday life in several ways and by possessing them, one can be more efficient and valuable as a worker. This means that one should try developing problem solving skills whether it be through solving puzzles or not, because it will help them later in life and possibly lead to a higher paying job or position.

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