Brain teasers are one of the best ways to refresh your mental ability and stimulate your intellectual faculty. Easy to practice and engaging in nature, riddles or conundrums are actually aimed to develop verbal, logical and calculus ability of the brain.
Most brain teasers are exercises that work on the principle of common human fallacy, lack of inquisition, negligence of the obvious facts or simply lack of attention to detail. The Rubik’s cube or the Japanese number game SUDOKU, the daily crossword in the newspaper; these are the most popular versions of brain teasers. These conundrums happen to be the most fun-filled and easy ways of sharpening your intelligence, and gathering some of the most relevant and obvious knowledge, which proves helpful in many other endeavors. Moreover, in some educational institutions and also many conglomerates of repute, solving brain teasers is a part of the hiring processes and determining the worthiness of an individual’s skills and capacities. But solving them is easier said than done. You may find yourselves struggling with certain riddles and breezing through some others.
Identify your Type
The first step towards getting better at solving riddles is identifying what kind of riddles you enjoy solving. Is it math? Is it logic? Is it word puzzles? What is your type? Your type will most probably stem from what your interests are. For instance, a person in the field of creative advertising might enjoy solving word puzzles and the like. Moreover, you’re likely to be interested in the type of riddles that you know you’re good at solving.
Learn, A Lot
Learn as much as you can about the field that you’re interested in. By learn, we don’t mean pour over piles and piles of books. Simple things like having a sound base of general knowledge, remembering the basics that you studied as a kid in school and applying them, being up-to-date with the latest happenings, etc., can go a long way in helping you solving riddles and conundrums.
Conundrums bring forth the ability of a person to use the given facts and apply the best of his or her reasoning skills in finding the solution to problems. The reasons why solving riddles is a ‘big deal’ for many, is simply the lack of practice or less attention. Quite often, it happens that human inquisitiveness comes in the way of uncovering the simple leads based on simple facts, which are very clear, yet somehow overlooked by some sort of bias or presumed notions.
For instance, in solving brain teasers like the case this riddle:
John’s father has three sons, A, B and…?
Most people would go for the obvious answer ‘C’, since it logically follows A and B. So, what you need to do when you see a riddle is first pace your brain. Don’t rush to a conclusion without re-reading the riddle. Instead, look at it from different angles. Be unorthodox and think out of the box. At the same time, you must apply logic using all the knowledge that you have pertaining to the subject of the riddle. However, don’t overthink every single riddle that comes your way. You may miss out on the most obvious answer because, well, it is the most obvious one. So if an obvious answer jumps at you, reconsider it. And only when you’re sure, beyond a doubt that it is the right answer, give it.
There is some truth to the adage, ‘Practice makes perfect’. Once you know as much as you can, all there’s really left to do is practice. So, do it as much as you can. In your spare time, over the weekend, with your friends and family, whenever and wherever you have the time.
The most ideal way to practice though, would be setting aside some time everyday to solve riddles of your choice. This way, you will look forward to it, and because of that, you will be mentally prepared and will concentrate better while trying to solve them.
Compete with Yourself
The main purpose of practice is to better yourself at the kind of riddles you solve. Hence, practicing at the same level of difficulty is not going to do you any good after a certain point of time. What you need to do is once you are confident about solving the current level of riddles, begin gradually with a higher level. This way, your practice is making your skills evolve.
Whether it’s Sudoku, crosswords, picture or word puzzles, there are numerous books and websites that offer varying levels for solving. Use them to your full advantage and compete with yourself to better your previous level.
A Little Practice
Spot the Differences
Given below is a set of two images. They appear to be the same, but they have very subtle differences. Relax, pace yourself and spot them.
Hint! Santa works _____________ to deliver gifts for Christmas.
What’s the Good Word – Against the clock
Hint! He’s _______________.
What’s the Good Word – On top of the world
The most important point to understand is that brain teasers are not a way to embarrass anyone or judge their brain power. One should never interpret inability to get the answers to riddles as a lack of intelligence, especially in kids. These are ‘teasers’ and a fun activity, and should remain so. The very fact, that one is interested in solving a puzzle or getting to the crux of the problem, is enough proof that he is willing to challenge his brain.