By Patrick McNerthney

Do you like puzzles? Some of us love them. 

Others fear them and, at their very mention, sprint away like gazelles escaping a hungry lion. (I’m the sprinter type). 

ThinkOutsideOfThe Box

When faced with a daunting puzzle, like how to mitigate the horrible effects social isolation has on our elderly population, possibility may be the last thing on our minds.

But what if we acted as-if there’s abundance, and therefore possibility, all around us?

It’s a mindset, best represented by the famous (or infamous) nine-dot puzzle (my worst nightmare). 


The task is to “join all the dots with four straight lines without taking the pen from paper.” Give it a try:

Nine Dot Puzzle

Nearly everyone ends up frustrated, only connecting some of the dots in various fashions because of the perceived frame formed by the outer dots:

Nine Dot Puzzle Attempt

(My attempt resulted in a diagonal line through the middle. I thought I was so smart…alas, not all of the dots were connected.) 

But if we were to amend the original instructions to include “…and by the way, ignore the idea of the square and feel free to use the whole piece of paper…” new possibilities reveal themselves:

Nine Dot Puzzle Solution

It’s as if all along the whole piece of paper, the blank white part, was crying out “Hey! Nobody said this thing is a square. You just think there’s a square. Bring some lines out here!”

The frames our minds create confine and limit what we see as possible. It’s universal, frustrating and insipid. But we can practice chipping away at these frames, bit by bit, and start to see abundance all around us. 

Fine Art Miracles is on a journey to help you see what’s possible as you face the (now more than ever) daunting task of serving our underserved, highly vulnerable elderly population. We want you to use us as a resource to discover ways to connect, empower and support those you care for. 

(In the meantime, I’ll start telling myself puzzles are fun opportunities instead of daunting tasks. It will make me more fun to have at game night).  


*This is all inspired by The Art of Possibilty, Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s breakthrough practices for bringing creativity, and possibility, into our endeavors. 

Bonus – check out Rosamund’s gorgeous paintings on her website. 

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