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How to think "outside the box"

Oooh, I was so angry with myself.  I'm a pretty sharp guy (so I thought).  Why couldn't I solve this simple problem.  You start with three columns of three dots down stacked one on top of another (see below).  All you have to do is connect each dot with four lines and you can't pick up your writing utensil at any point from the paper.
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So much traditional education and life experiences had me looking over and over at the page in conventional approaches to solving this thing in front of me.  Why couldn't I get it.  Moments turned into minutes and frustration began to build.  Why can't I get it?  My mind began to reason with itself. "Your a smart guy, c'mon", "Look at it again", "What are you missing".
The solution was so simple.  Sometimes you have to go outside the box.  The solution required you to draw your first line longer than the three dots in order to accomplish the task.  Think outside the box.  I missed it but now I will be better prepared to think beyond the boundaries which traditional thought can cause to limit reasoning possibilities.
Certainly it's just a mind puzzle but it should inspire you to expand your vision in business and life.  It was a wake up moment for me and I smile because I have one more way to approach solving life's problems.  It reinforces the need to think outside the box when traditional methods fail you.
I am a CPA in San Antonio and provide bookkeeping, payroll, taxes and more.  We provide a free initial visit and look forward to serving your business needs.

Richard J. Garcia | 10/16/2010