Tag Archives: Sudoku

Answering The Ultimate Question

What is the meaning of life? Consider the following equation for leading a meaningful life:

  1. The Question Mark acknowledges the challenge in solving the mystery and the meaning of life.
  2. The Arrow focuses your attention on the persistent quest to solve the mystery and meaning of life.
  3. And the Exclamation Point establishes the ultimate explanation point: the satisfaction inherent in the process in searching, exploring, discovering and learning more.

That equation is featured in a book titled A Puzzler, One Man’s Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life.

That equation was first developed to explain the fascination of the numbers-based, 9-square puzzle. To the Godfather of Sudoku in Japan-Maki Kaji -the equation notes that Sudoku is baffling at first (?), then challenging (->) — triggering a range of emotions from frustration to exhilaration — but always so engaging that ultimately it is so satisfying (!).

A. J. Jacobs, the author of A Puzzler, says that explanation of the magnetic appeal of Sudoku is also applicable as the answer the ultimate question on the meaning of life. “What gives me great joy is the searching and exploring, ” Mr. Jacobs observes. “The meaning of life is all about curiosity. “

And, in playing Sudoku, your sense of curiosity is triggered. Big time. Your need to search and explore is unleashed. Big time. Your passion to fill in the empty square escalates. And your ability to discern the impact your action has on the other squares in the puzzle develops your strategic thinking skills. Big time.

Maybe that’s why the American Alzheimer’s Association endorses Sudoku as a “brain game ” that appeals to a person’s need for learning to gain mastery over a challenging situation. Then that sense of agency fuels your feelings of achievement and satisfaction in a job well done.

The key in solving the puzzle of life’s meaning is to focus on the arrow — on the process of working the puzzle with a roll-up-your-sleeves and get to work daily mantra that engages you in the effort and leverages your joy inherent in the work as poet Angela Morgan observes in the following excerpt from her poem A Song of Triumph:

Work! Thank God for the might of it,
The ardor, the urge, the delight of it,
Work that springs from the heart’s desire,
Setting the brain and the soul on fire—

Work! Thank God for the swing of it,
For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,
Passion of labor daily hurled
On the mighty anvils of the world.

To help you better focus on your work of searching, exploring, and learning in your quest to answer the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, consider picking up a copy of THINKING Like a Leader, a Leadership Mints book.

THINKING Like a Leader, With Clarity is the first book in the Leadership Mints Series that develops your sense of purpose and perspective in creating, concentrating and collaborating.
The 292-page book is comprised of 77 Leadership Mints–bite-sized idea on leadership principles that like a candy mint are quickly savored and immediately rejuvenating to refresh your feeling for leading. Readers savor ImproveMINTS: a one-line summary of the of the key learning in that Leadership Mint.



Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a bite-sized idea that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.