Life is a puzzle.
This weekend I got to put this puzzle together with my 3-year old niece. It may only be a 9-piece puzzle but when you factor in that she wanted to break it up and put it back together again 27 times it turned out to be quite the project.
What struck me most was how excited she was every time she found a piece that fit. What started as a confusing pile of pieces slowly began to make sense. As I watched her gasp for joy every time two pieces fit together, I realized that what I was really observing was our innate drive for meaning.
What we’re really saying when we talk about the need for meaning is the need for things in our personal and professional life to make sense. We like when the pieces fit. It’s why we turn to therapy or to a professional coach or to a mentor. We want someone to help us with our puzzle. We dump all our pieces in front of them and then ask, “…where do you think this one goes?” Where does this failure fit? Where does that memory go? Is the corner piece of my puzzle my family, or my job?
The difference, of course, is that our puzzle box doesn’t come with a picture on it. We get to draw it ourselves.