(elegantly simple, and an inexhaustible source of frustration)
With 519,000,000,000,000,000,000 potential combinations, trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube is one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable, which makes it the perfect analogy for life.
Its fiendishly complex nature hides behind a deceptively simple appearance. To only look at it gives you no hint at how deep the rabbit hole goes. Pick it up, give it a couple twists, and before you know it, everything is so completely jumbled there’s no hope of getting it all straightened out.
With a couple hours you might be able to get one side complete, but then you realize that keeping that side solved prevents you from getting the other five sides figured out. If you want to get Green together, you have to destroy all the work you just did to get BLUE figured out, and now you realize you’re back to the same situation with another color.
There’s an internal logic to the cube, and to solve it you need a strategy that takes the whole dynamic into account. It can be done, and it can be done by yourself with no help or coaching, but it will take you a very long time; like this guy who 26 years to figure out how it works.
If he had learned from someone who understands how the cube works, it would have taken him a week instead of a quarter century.
Additionally, there’s not only one way to solve the cube! There are multiple approaches to solving the cube that will get you to the same destination.
Life works exactly the same way.
There are multiple ways to figure it out. What works for one person may not work for anyone else. There are many paths to the top! What does work, however, is paying attention to approaches that have worked for most people through history. Success leaves clues.
What is true for everyone is that things can go sideways real fast.
It’s entirely possible that one day you hit a little problem, and in the blink of an eye you go from valedictorian to struggling to make rent, and your goldfish died.
Then it gets worse.
In an effort to get things back on track, you try something drastic and (predictably) it backfires. Before you know it you’re closer to total ruin.
You might be able to get one area of your life under control (like working 70 hours a week to improve your finances), but while you were working so hard to make money, your relationships & health have suffered. No matter what you try, something always seems out of alignment.
Like solving the cube, it is certainly possible to figure out the internal logic of life & learn the skills needed to get the most out of your time with this universe, but it’s going to take you a lifetime to do it. By then, you’ll be too old to make anything of it!
An approach that gets results more quickly is to work with a coach who can walk you through a proven system that has been shown to bring all areas of your life into order. Like with any skill (and creating a good life is a skill), it will feel uncomfortable until you get the hang of it. Before you know it, you’ll be much farther along than you expect!
Now, is the rubik’s cube the best analogy? Well, there are very real differences between Rubik’s Cubes and life (for example: one is a closed set while the other is infinitely varied), but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can learn from comparing them.
If you feel like your life is all jumbled up with no clear solutions, give yourself the best gift possible: ask for help from someone who can show you the way. Invest in yourself.
A week after I wrote this, a friend sent me this picture and it made me laugh, so I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!