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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Finding the Cat

In the image above, there's a cat hidden somewhere amongst all those faces.

If you have a clock nearby -- ideally one that tracks seconds -- have a look at it.

Now, I'm going to ask you to attempt to find that cat in under one minute.

Ready? Go...




Time's up.

Were you able to find the cat in under a minute?

If so, nice job! If not, I'll give you another chance in a few paragraphs, I promise.

Right now, let's think about how you went about searching for the cat, and how similar the process is to how we solve problems in general.

First, you probably tried to look at the entire picture all at once to see if the cat was right there in plain sight. Taking a look at the big picture to see if an obvious solution stands out is a smart thing to do... but things are rarely that simple.

And so, when the "big picture" didn't provide you with an immediate solution, you did a deep dive into the details.

In the case of this image, you likely chose one corner of the picture, then methodically worked your way up-and-down or side-to-side with your eyes (and perhaps even a finger) to carefully examine everything in your path until you spotted that feline figure.

And even using this very methodical, practical approach, it's very possible you didn't find the cat in the limited time I gave you.

That would be understandable because finding the cat in this image was made even more difficult by one important fact: you didn't know what the cat looked like... and it could have looked like anything.

If you don't have a clear definition of the problem, the solution is tougher to find.

Now I'll tell you that the cat you seek is a small, white and grey face looking right at the camera, so to speak.

Have another look at that clock, and give yourself another minute to find the cat.



I'm willing to bet this time you didn't need the full minute.

When asked to solve a problem, most people tend to jump right in, believing that getting to work faster means getting the job done sooner.

That's usually not the case.

Often, the person who finds the solution the fastest is the one who has the clearest idea of what they're trying to accomplish.

Before you start, take the time to ask questions that will help you define your search.

Then find the cat.

P.S. If you still can't find the cat, and want to know where it is, keep reading. Think of the picture as your typical XY graph with the bottom left corner representing (0,0). Now think about every face as a number, and make your way to (3.5, 3.5). Meow.

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