A step over the line
The solution to the Nine Dot Puzzle is probably more instructive than working it out. I’ve demonstrated the conventional answer and the less well-known three-line solution in this short video.
The message of the puzzle is simple: to achieve our goal, we sometimes need to step outside our boundaries. We often describe this as thinking outside the box or leaving our comfort zone.
The concept of the comfort zone has become widespread, although it is more a metaphor than a documented psychological theory. To move out of your comfort zone is to experience challenging feelings for which no internal defensive mechanism exists. Often, it may involve fear of being judged, exposed or rejected.
So, moving out of your comfort zone has the potential to create an environment for learning and growth to survive these experiences. But, conversely, these stresses and fears can become barriers to the change they can bring about.
How did you feel as you realised the solution involved drawing a line outside the box? You might have experienced the exhilaration of growth and achievement. Alternatively, you might have come up against emotional resistance to drawing a line that took you outside the domain of the nine dots.
Either way, the Nine Dot Puzzle is an essential lesson in change and growth.
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