The Struggle is Real

A typical moment in my professional life:

I’m at my desk deep in thought — maybe it’s a budget issue, perhaps a community concern, or maybe an organizational dilemma that needs a creative solution. I’m stuck.

It can feel like my brain’s gears are seized or conversely like my wheels are spinning in mud — it’s an immovable tension of struggling to find a solution.

Neuroscientists have learned that the act of struggling is actually an important part of the learning process. Struggling with a problem results in increased neural connections being formed in your brain. The act of struggling forces your brain to develop new networks — bridging the old to the new.

The Escape Room

I participated in my first Escape Room a little while ago at the suggestion of my son and daughter.   Our family made the reservation, piled into the car and headed off to an afternoon of problem solving.  I was intrigued by the concept of solving a mystery using team work and a series of successive clues to make our way out of a locked room.

escaping dog

We Use What We Know To Solve a Problem

Of course when we got there, my son immediately told the clerk that we wanted the most difficult room available.  “Nice”, I thought.  “I’ll be locked in here for hours! So much for my self-esteem.”

There were 5 of us who squeezed into a room no larger than 10′ x 8′ … and I have to say … it was a ton of fun.  Yes, we were stumped occasionally, and when we finally made it out of the room, we found ourselves in another locked room with even more clues to steer us to our eventual escape.  We actually needed a bit of help from the Escape Room employee on two occasions, but our shared knowledge and problem-solving skills enabled us to eventually find our way out.

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