Life is a Japanese puzzle box

. 2 min read

It so happened that I picked up a book by Seth Godin from the bookshelf - it was the only one I could reach without getting up from where I was sitting - and started reading. It was a book called Poke the Box. And what a book it was.

Let's just say that I got inspired. More inspired than usually.

Until quite recently when I decided to buy copies of a considerable part of his published literary works, I'd only thought of Godin as "that Linchpin guy" whose opinion was that getting a job in the conventional marketplace was the way to. And I used to dislike him for it. I had had the entrepreneurial drive in me for a long while already and this dude was telling me I should become indispendable for some external company other than my own. (This was my assumption, anyway - I had only read a random page or two from that Linchpin book so perhaps my stand wasn't entirely justified.)

But how could I or anyone else not like a guy who has quotes like these (to mention just a few)?

Human nature is to need a map. If you're brave enough to draw one, people will follow.

Soon is not as good as now.

Let your ego push you to be the initiator.

Life is a buzzer box. Poke it.

The last one especially caught my eye - because it sounds so right and insightful. (No wonder he chose it as the title of the entire book.) What he means by the buzzer box is that you poke it different ways until a result presents itself. Then you can make conclusions as to what caused what.

I'd like to develop this metaphor even further and say that life is a Japanese puzzle box - you know, one of those that need twisting and turning and pushing buttons for it to open and reveal a hidden message, like the one in The Da Vinci Code and the latest Tomb Raider. (Why not the desks in National Treasure 2 as well.) You twist and turn and click life until you find a combination that works and the puzzle is solved and you get the prize. The prize can be anything from a sustainable diet to owning a successful business to finding a cure for cancer. The puzzle will form around the prize according to it - to find the right diet, you must try different ones and different combinations, or to get the business to succeed, you must try different fields and different strategies and adjust your business plan to however the marketplace changes. When it comes to curing cancer, I doubt it can be done with a blackboard - most efforst today are via trial and error to find the right ingredients and the right rations to maximize their effect.

So think of life as a puzzle box - or a buzzer, if that's more to your liking - and start twisting and turning and pushing and poking it. See how it reacts. See if you can find some secret buttons not clearly visible at first sight and if they can help you solve the puzzle. See if it starts making clicking sounds.

If it does, you know you're getting somewhere.