Small business owners who play games are more fun

small business brilliance comes easier when you open your eyes to new ideas

There are some numbers that are really easy for me to spot – for example the number 11, 4, and 7. There are numbers, such as 8, 10 and 12 that are difficult for me to decipher.

Why do I know this? I notice dumb things. It’s a quirk. It really hit home though, when playing a numbers game. The best I could do was 98 – out of 210. Still, I discovered the game offers some great lessons for small business problem solving styles that meant a lot more than the final score.

If you are looking for a 5 minute break (assuming you don’t feel certain you’ll become a master with just another try), get distracted then come to back to brag on your results. Or, share lessons you’ve gleaned from this game.

Brainteasers can give you creative insight into how you problem solve.

Seeing challenges in pieces

Admittedly, my first reaction was the problem wasn’t my fault. I was using a laptop, certain once I eliminated all the time involved in scanning up and down, plus using a keyboard instead of a mouse, I’d be joining the 100% club.

I figured I’d be able to remember every number I saw by viewing the entire puzzle simultaneously rather than a different screen each scroll. I was wrong.

Looking at isolated sections of a problem was a lot easier than seeing it all at once. It’s a weird revelation for big picture thinkers. Seeing and implementing involve two different skills.

Planning ahead

While I figured instant recall on the 210 numbers (I do tend toward unrealistic expectations – no photographic memory here), my best approach was to look for the next move while solving the last. This gave me an easy current reference point while spotting my future target. It’s tough to move toward successful completion without focusing on subsequent challenges.

Take a break

Staring at the screen for too long was tiresome and ineffective. Glancing away for a moment then returning with my goal in mind invariably had me focusing exactly on that former illusive number. This is particularly relevant to anyone waiting for creative genius to strike (most notably in the arts, but applicable to any business owner marketing their wares).

Change the rules

small business brilliance comes easier when you open your eyes to new ideasAfter a game or two, it seemed silly to start at the beginning. Why not begin with 7 (my easiest task) and work up from there with momentum, confidence and associated enthusiasm? I’d lose 21 points (out of 210), but 90% is better than 46%.

This game won’t let you do that (I tried). Leading with strengths makes a lot more sense than getting stuck on failures. Fortunately, as small business owners, we can make our own rules to suit our proclivities.

Hitting your stride

Confidence speeds completion. The easy to see numbers took a fraction of the time of perceived tough ones. Do you anticipate likely blocks? Whether it’s mindset or ability, it really doesn’t matter. We tend to excel at what comes easy to us.

What are you missing?

For me, it was the periphery. Most of the time, after several up and down scans, I went back to the top or bottom then outside columns and that illusive find was there. Sometimes we get so focused on the issue demands, we fail to see the easy answers just outside our view.

Do you look for patterns or specifics?

Trying to read numbers slowed me down a lot. Recognizing shapes, pictures (patterns) and sizes meant speed. Knowing how to identify what you’re looking for with a feel for what’s right is a lot easier than trying to find THE solution you’re focused on. Trust your gut.

Who scores your results?

This quiz may be easy for some in the time allotted. Not me, but I can still have fun playing the game. Then again, the “must master this because I’m lousy at it” approach isn’t something I embrace. Sometimes it’s better to learn enough to effectively delegate to another’s strength. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to procrastinate claiming perfectionists then do a worse job than a vendor who enjoys the work.

How will you succeed?

I’ve come to recognize I see the world in a way that’s very different from the norm (maybe you do too). What took me longer to realize is, that’s OK – so long as you don’t try to make your perceptions right only when they align with what others see. Take what others provide as learning opportunities, stepping stones or idea fodder for your next great thing. You don’t have to play by their rules as you learn from opportunities provided. Have fun with the discovery and create a morphed model that works for you.

Look left and share if you would. Then please post below so we can laugh together with our experiences and take-aways from this puzzle I can’t finish in the time allotted. Did you?

Nanette Levin

Writer, author, marketer, public speaker and small business advocate with more than 25 years of experience. Check out some of our affordable introductory deals designed to make it fun and easy for new clients to test results with small projects.

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10 Responses to Small business owners who play games are more fun
  1. Deborah Weber
    October 10, 2015 | 1:34 pm

    What a fun post Nanette – I love the lessons you’ve shared from your experience! While I’ve never thought of it in such clear and extensive ways that you have, I’ve long felt that puzzles and little games like this are very helpful. Once when I was trying to learn something new and very complicated, when I took a break I had the very real sense that my brain was literally trying to sort the pieces out. It was like cards being moved into different piles like some elaborate solitaire game. From that point on, whenever I’m really concentrating on something, or trying to learn something new, or looking at how different things fit together, I’ll often take period breaks and play a game for a couple minutes. Shifting gears like that feels like helpful in consolidating information for me.
    Deborah Weber recently posted..What I’m Loving TodayMy Profile

    • Nanette Levin
      October 11, 2015 | 12:11 pm

      What a great way to shift gears, Deborah. I, like you, find if I spend too much time with a challenge and don’t take the time to refresh, I lose sight of a solution that’s usually already presenting itself. Thanks for stopping in and sharing.
      Nanette Levin recently posted..Triple Crown TriviaMy Profile

  2. Tat
    October 11, 2015 | 11:52 am

    My best score was 86. Totally agree with the need to take a break… My scores kept on increasing at first until I got tired and then no amount of pushing can get you through fatigue to the other side. The other interesting discovery I made was this – when I first had a look at the game it didn’t work and I felt a feeling of panic, ‘Oh, no, Nanette got to play and I didn’t!’ I know how my kids feel now, when they say, ‘It’s not fair, he got more than me’ 🙂
    Tat recently posted..By: Harmony Harrison | Harmony with AnimalsMy Profile

  3. Amy Putkonen
    October 17, 2015 | 3:26 pm

    Hi Nanette,

    I thought that I had commented on this post. I read it the other day, but then when I double checked, I hadn’t commented on it yet! Apologies. Now that I look at it, I know what happened… I clicked off your page to the numbers thing and then got distracted. I love looking at patterns. The I Ching is all about the patterns in our lives and find them fascinating! I think one of the most valuable things that we can do for ourselves is to observe our own patterns in order to self-correct our path. Not only is it good for us, but it is good for everyone who knows us because it reminds them to do it also. Thanks for a great post!
    Amy Putkonen recently posted..The Procrastination HabitMy Profile

    • Nanette Levin
      October 17, 2015 | 10:20 pm

      You always have such an interesting perspective on things, Amy. Curious that you see the I Ching in a numbers game ;-). Agreed – it’s good to notice our patterns and self-correct. Thanks for the reminder.
      Nanette Levin recently posted..Young Horse Training Tip #2: Keep Lessons ShortMy Profile

  4. Elda
    October 19, 2015 | 3:30 am

    Okay, I am up for the challenge although I will do it tomorrow because it’s late and I have too much time on the computer already tonight. I really like the way you analyzed the similarities between this game and small business owners. How intriguing!
    Elda recently posted..Feeling Like There Is Never Enough?My Profile

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