When I close my eyes, I see grains of falling sugar. When I go to sleep, I dream about cups of sugar overflowing.
A relapse into my gateway drug of choice? No. This is far less detrimental and actually kind of instructive!
A few days ago I discovered an online logic game called Sugar, Sugar. I was immediately hooked. The concept is easy – drop grains of falling sugar into cups. You draw lines to guide the sugar where you want it to go, including through various colored gateways, holes in the floor, and you can even reverse the flow of gravity. It’s a blast.
And, while the concept is easy, the execution is very complex. I found myself resetting levels 5, 10, or 15 times to get the right grains of sugar into the right cups.
Last week, when I was trying to bring my computer back from the night of the living dead catastrophe, I realized something interesting – as awful as that process was, my mind really likes to have a logic puzzle to work on. I get slightly fixated (okay, with the computer is what somewhat more than slightly!) and my brain thinks that is kind of fun.
So I fixate on all sorts of things – occasionally they’re useful (like getting my computer working again), but more often they’re not useful (like spending hours and hours trying to figure out how to create a vector file when I could hire someone online for $10 to do it for me.)
Last night I started reading Gay Hendricks’ amazing book The Big Leap. One of his main points is that we have an upper limit of how GREAT we can feel before we sabotage ourselves. We’re not used to feeling GREAT, so when we hit that upper limit, we unconsciously create a crisis, a fight, or some other situation that brings us back to a place we’re used to – and comfortable in.
Which got me thinking about how my brain likes to do puzzles. Is it possible that if I fill my brain’s desire to be working on puzzles, it will stop fixating on things that are of no use to me. Because I really DON’T need to know how to create a vector file. It’s a skill that I might use once every few years – not nearly important enough for me to spend all those hours fixating on.
Which brings me back to Sugar, Sugar. It has given my brain hours of fun. Even when I’m not playing, my brain is strategizing ways to get that last bit of colored sugar into the right cup. Which keeps it busy and uninterested in learning how to create a vector file.
That’s a screen shot of a level I finished today – really tricky. See that tiny dot of white directly above the “1″? That’s the single grain of sugar I was trying to get inside the cup in this particular level.
See all those cross-hatched lines? Those are what I created to get to my goal. And I had to restart at least a dozen times because I kept making tiny mistakes. But every time I restarted I had a little more knowledge about what works and what doesn’t for this particular puzzle. And eventually I got it right. It wasn’t fast and, as you can see, it darn sure isn’t pretty. But I kept at it and I finally got to the goal.
Is this computer game a time waster? Perhaps for someone else it would be. But for me, it fills a need that I didn’t even realize I had.