I spent several hours over the weekend working on a puzzle featuring scoops of ice cream in different flavors. I thought this would be an easy puzzle because of the variety of colors but when I spread out the pieces, all the same color pieces appeared to be the identical and I couldn’t distinguish to which scoop they belonged.
After making little to no progress, I began to see details and features of each piece that revealed their identity: that pecan goes in the scoop in the top left; the cluster of cherry pieces is the pink scoop in the center; the piece with the red connector goes here, etc. All the details became vivid clues and allowed me to complete the picture.
It reminded me of the training exercise where I do a similar thing with oranges. At first, all the fruit looks alike, but then people create distinctions and “identities” for their fruit. Once they craft a story about the fruit, they can easily pick their particular orange out of a bushel.
People, like puzzle pieces or oranges, often look alike when you view them from afar or with broad strokes. It is only when we spend time with them and truly understand their nuances that we come to appreciate the gifts they bring. You never say: “just the piece I’m looking for!” without spending time understanding the specifics of what you need or what you have.
Invest similar time in making connections with other people – by learning about their individuality and discovering what their connection can add to the picture of your world.