Go Back to Simplicity

A friend e-mailed me questions regarding a square, I found it not only interesting but also very enlightening.
Here are the four questions.

Can you divide the gray area in the upper right quadrant into two equal parts?


Of course, it is easy. Now try to divide the gray area in the upper left quadrant into three equal parts.
Here is the answer.
Continue to divide the gray area in the lower left quadrant into four equal parts.Yes, it is a little hard, but take your time and you can do it. IMG_1815

Here is the answer.
Now let us try the last question. Can you divide the gray area in the lower right into seven equal parts?
The world record was 7 seconds. Time is up, I believe you got the answer.
The answer is at the bottom. It is not that difficult, is it?

Most of the time, our thinking is governed by the external environment and we become creatures of habit.  As we see here, the question started simply and became more and more complicated.  Similarly, we assume things should be increasingly complicated.  It is all because our thinking has been trapped in this box (frame) without our knowing it.

When I tried to solve the above four problems, I noticed that I was trapped in the same way. I wondered how others would do so I picked two doctors (male and female), one successful real estate agent and two young MBA graduate as candidates. Can you believe that the results were the same? Like me, they were stumbled by his same thinking – that things start out simply and always grow more complicated. None of us could answer the last question correctly.

There was one last test which I tried on a middle-aged woman who worked at a car dealership. Because of time constraints, I skipped the question prior to the last one accidentally. Surprisingly, she gave me the right answer to the last question.  It was very obvious that she was not trapped in the habitual thought pattern as we all were. Her mind was still in the state of simplicity, so she was able to answer the last question.  This shows that we should be careful not to let ourselves fall into this habitual thought pattern.  If we do this, we will not make simple things complicated, and we will not make life harder for ourselves.


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