Art Of Possibility
June 16, 2022
“Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.”
This is a powerful excerpt from one of my favorite books, The Art of Possibility.
We sometimes struggle with some problems because we perceive them from the lens of our current assumptions and beliefs. Our Mind creates imaginary constraints even when in reality there are none. This tendency prevents us from thinking outside the box.
This issue is illustrated very nicely through the example of the nine-dot puzzle(see image below), where we are required to link all nine dots using four straight lines or fewer, without lifting the pen and without tracing the same line more than once.
(No matter how many times I’ve solved this problem, I still take a few minutes to collect my thoughts if I have to solve it again)
The only way one can solve this puzzle is by by drawing a line outside the “imaginary box” created by the dots. We literally have to “think out of the box” to solve this puzzle.
The key takeaway is this. A problem that appears intractable or unsolvable often appears so because of how we frame the issue. If we change the frame of reference or the perspective, the problem will cease to be a problem. In its place, we will discover possibility.