Monday, January 30, 2012

Who Owns the Fish?

I responded to the call of a brain teaser published in a newsletter I received in the mail over the weekend.  Called Einstein's Intelligence Quiz, the newsletter stated that Einstein felt that only 2% of people in the world would be able to solve the puzzle he'd created.  The quiz asks the reader to consider 15 clues and then determine among the five men (who live in five different colored houses, drink five different beverages, smoke five different brands of cigars and own five different types of pets), who among the men owns the fish?  After some contemplation, I found a solution to the puzzle, but not without first examining the absolutes and tossing away my assumptions.  Interestingly, if I looked at the puzzle one way, I could arrive at the correct answer (the one published online for those intrigued).  However, if I looked at it another way, I could also arrive at the right answer. My preference is for the latter (maybe it's my left-handed view on life). I simply got to the correct answer by taking a different route, laying out a different scenario of possibilities, just by allowing for one clue to be treated as factual, not literal.  Purists might say that my alternative interpretation is wrong but I like my unconventional approach.  Every clue fits into place using that other route.  This brain twister (it went beyond just a teaser, in my opinion) made me look at how I make decisions and through what lens I view my everyday world.  How often do I truly look at the absolutes without biases?  How readily do I identify and toss aside my assumptions in order to come to a better conclusion?  How often do I look at a challenge creatively, taking "the road less traveled" in order to get to the "right" answer?  In the coming week, when confronted with a decision or when inclined to make a judgment, I'm going to step back first, contemplate and prompt myself to remember the lessons from the puzzle. Who owns the fish?

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