Date: March 3, 2009
Byline: Patricia Stark
Last night I was flying out to Salt Lake City for a week of on-camera coaching and filming. I had the good fortune of sitting next to a very nice man who is the CEO of an Oregon based software company who also happens to construct crossword puzzles. His puzzles have been published in newspapers including the New York Times. He gave me a fascinating lesson on how these things are made. Now I'm not someone who is into crossword puzzles so I was surprised to find it fascinating, but it was. He told me the story of a big competition that he recently judged where contestants had to work through puzzles on stage in front of a large audience. According to him it was high drama as the audience would figure out answers before the contestants. One story that really struck me was of a contestant who was a bond trader. He was having an incredibly difficult time solving the final section of his puzzle. The whole audience knew that the answer he needed was "bones" but in his mind he could only imagine that the answer must be "bonds" which of course made it impossible to fill in the other remaining sections correctly. Because "bonds" were so much a part of his life and in the forefront of his mind, he was blinded to the possibility of the word "bones." This really got me thinking. How many times in our lives are we blind to things that are right in front of our face simply because we are stuck looking from just one perspective? If there's a puzzle in your life that you're trying to solve, do whatever you can to look at it from a different perspective. Maybe turn to the audience in your own life and ask them what they see. The bond trader wasn't allowed to do that in the crossword competition, but you can.