3 Ways to Get Out of the Answerless Desert

I had FOUR (count 'em) Thanksgivings yesterday. Well, I was invited to Four. I actually only made it to two. Now I know that's only 50% but still--it's probably more than you made it to--am I right? [Smiles smugly]

My second Thanksgiving was with my friends Sarah Welch, Ef Rodriguez, Jeremy Tanner and their lovely other halfs. The reason I never made it to the last two was this little game called Mad Gab. There are all sorts of rules that I'm pretty sure I don't remember so let me just tell you the essence of the game. The goal is decipher a bunch of words into a real phrase. Here's an example:
Puzzle: Plea Center Europe As Ward

Answer: Please Enter Your Password

There's a coach who assists while the rest of the team guesses. The coach's job is to help you get closer to the solution without actually seeing what the rest of the team was seeing. We quickly discovered that reading the phrase over and over again while looking at it got in the way. Even though the guessers knew it wasn't right their brains struggled to see something different. As the coach it was interesting to hear people practically saying the phrase without knowing how close they were to getting it right. As usual, I see parallels to life. What can I say--I'm an observer of life and once a coach always a coach.

As the person looking for the right answer it's sometimes hard to see that you're thisclose. It's easy to feel as if you're lost in an answerless desert. All you can see is what's right in front of you. In the beginning and even in the middle of all that guessing the answer can appear to you as clear as mud covered glass block. And, make you feel like you have swim across the Indian Ocean to get to the answer. Um, that's not fun.

Getting Out of the Indian Ocean

Back to my Mad Gab experience. We won the first game by luck. And lost the second by not paying attention to the rules and won the third by developing a strategy. Our winning strategy was essentially a good old tag team effort. When one person said the phrase while the others listened (without looking at the card) they were more easily able to get it. They were close enough but not too close.

3 Ways to Find The Answers To Your Biggest Questions
When we're too close to the answer here are a few strategies to get around solution block to solve your problem.

1. Take a walk on the beach. Walk away from it for a while. This may give you perspective so that answer becomes more readily apparent.

2. Assume that you're closer to the answer than you think. Rather than believing that you're a mile away from a solution assume that it's mere centimeters away. Then just make tweaks to the solution rather than overhauling it completely.

3. Find a neutral person to talk to. Spill the puzzle as you see it while they listen. Their job is to tell you what they're hearing. Not what they want you to do but what they actually hear you saying. Often times they can hear what you're saying and articulate it back to you so you can actually hear it.

No more feeling like you have to swim across a large body of water for answers. Time to wring out that bathing suit.

Just for fun let's end this lil post with some of the best quotes from last night:

- Which way to Heaven? [My guess. It wasn't right but I swear one day this phrase will be a part of urban dictionary.]

- Say it with an accent. [This actually helped the team guess the right answer  (Panama Canal) very quickly.]

- Although it wasn't a quote one of my favorite puzzles had Chewbacca in it. The answer was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Combining Star Wars with a Victor Hugo novel? Genius.