I heard this story of puzzle pieces and creative problem solving from a business consultant. The idea was so good, I´ll put it here for you to read. I only rememeber the core idea of the story, so l´ll write it here as a short story in my own words.
A small boy had been waiting for the whole day for his father to come home. Christmas was coming and like all little boys he was full of energy just from waiting for it to finally arrive.
His mother was too busy to play. How boring it must be to cook and clean and pay bills, the little boy thought. No time to play? The little boy thought he never wanted to grow up if he had not time to play. So he sat by the window, waiting for his dad to come and play with him.
When his father finally opened the door the boy ran to meet him.
- Daddy! You´re home! Now we can play!
He hugged his father. Father was tired and sighed. He hugged his son, took off his coat and shoes and walked into the living room. He lay down on the sofa and closed his eyes.
- Daddy! Come and play! The boy grabbed his arm and pulled.
- Daddy is tired, the father said, - Too tired to play.
This seemed like the oddest thing anyone could say. The little boy just stood and stared at his father.
- DadDY! His voice was demanding.
The father felt a sting in his heart but was too tired to get up. He reached his arm and took a magazine from the table.
But the little boy would not give in. He stood there, asking his father to play with him, while he tried to read the magazine. To make the boy stop his pleading the father tore a page from the magazine. There was a map of a country on that page. He then took the page and tore it into small bits and gave those to his son.
- Here, put this puzzle back together. I´ll play with you after you´ve finished.
He was certain he could now rest for quite a while and closed his eyes. The map was so big and detailed it would take hours for a little boy to get it back together again. The boy took the pieces eagerly and ran off.
After what seemed like a minute the father felt the familiar tugging in his arm.
- Daddy! I put the puzzle pieces together! Now come and play!
Father opened his eyes. The little boy was holding the page, the pieces carefully taped together.
- How on earth did you manage to do that so fast? he asked and got up.
He looked at the map. It was perfect, no mistakes.
- There was a picture of Santa Claus on the other side, the boy pointed.
The father turned the page. True enough - jolly old Father Christmas was on the other side.
- I turned the puzzle pieces around. I did the Santa Claus puzzle instead and when I turned the page, the map was there too!
Father looked at his son who stood there beaming at the accomplishment. He couldn´t help but smile and got up.
- Ok. What do you want to play?
The little boy sure was thinking out of the box with the puzzle pieces! All he did was to take the problem, look at it from another angle, and he suceeded.
We are often stuck in our traditional ways of thinking when we could really use some 6-year-old thinking. So how about the next time you are faced with a dilemma, you thought about what would you do if you were a child still. What would be the funniest way to solve it? The oddest way? What if you did nothing, what would happen then? Think outside the box, twist the idea in your mind and it just might be your subconscious suddenly gives you a brand new idea you could use successfully!