Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Puzzle out the best connections

Most people enjoy puzzles - at least the ones that they solve. Put a jigsaw puzzle on a table and most of the people who walk by will find themselves drawn to adding at least one piece to the puzzle. Every newspapers carries crosswords and sudoku puzzles. Puzzles are a way of problem-solving for fun.

Another way of problem-solving for fun is to make connections between what you want and the best interests of the people around you. The challenge is not to manipulate others into giving you what you want. The challenge is to find the places where your puzzle and their puzzles overlap - the pieces that belong to all the puzzles. Those are the pieces that create great relationships - and great results.

How do you know there is overlap? The joy of jigsaws and crossword puzzles is that we know there is a solution. The same thing is true of riddles: we know we can solve them because we know they have a solution. Can we know that there will be overlap between what we want and what somebody else needs or wants?

I believe we can. Partly, we can be sure because the human condition is one of change and even if overlap doesn't exist when we start, the act of looking for it is likely to bring it into being. Partly, we can be sure because being sure is useful. We may not always be right, but the belief itself generates good things.

So what do you have to lose? Start with the presupposition that every connection you make tomorrow can be good for you and good for the people with whom you are connecting. Then go ahead and get what you want - and move them closer to what they want, too.

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