by Tyagarajan, June 2016
While there are a number of ways to test your spatial and problem-solving abilities, one of the most popular ones is the Rubik’s cube. The traditional cube has 6 faces with 9 cells on each of the faces and each face has a different color. To solve the Rubik’s cube, you have to bring all the cubes of a certain color to one face of the cube and also replicate this for all six colors. Not only it is an excellent way to keep the mind active, but also teaches you the importance of every single move you make. It teaches you to preserve and helps you notice patterns and eliminate possibilities.
The Rubik’s cube has topped the list of best-selling toys of all times since its creation in 1974. There are a number of interesting things about it. The inventor, Erno Rubik, took about a month to solve it himself. As part of his teaching course, he used the cube as an alternate method to help students understand spatial relationships.
One of the best things about Rubik’s cube is that it is an open-ended puzzle. Once you have the cube in your hand, you do not need an instruction manual or a rule book to solve it. All the information you have is open and is right in front of you. Unlike crossword puzzles, you do not have to take time out to understand the intent of the designer.
If you pick up a cube and try to solve it by yourself, then you will have figured out a lot of things in your head by the time you solve it. All you need is a good focus, a bit of determination and a bit of skill. The simplest way to solve it is to observe. Luck is completely out of the equation in this case. There are so many different ways to solve it. Every time you pick it up to solve it, you will arrive at the solution in a different way.
So, coming back to the original question. Does solving Rubik’s cube make your brain sharper? In my opinion, yes. It will surely not help you pass an examination or clear a test. However, what it will do is keep your brain active and make sure it stays that way. Your mental reflexes to problems will improve. Also, you will develop a wider perception to the entire process of problem-solving. The minute you are presented with a problem, you will be able to tackle it better and with much more confidence than before.
There are other not-so-obvious advantages to solving the Rubik’s cube that will indirectly help your brain become sharper. For one, it betters your eye-hand coordination. It improves your concentration in general and ensures that you are able to process your thoughts faster. This requires better coordination between your eyes and your hands to keep up with the speed of your thoughts. It helps you improve your short memory as well.
Traditionally, humans have nine levels of intelligence. One of the foremost among these is spatial or visual intelligence-the ability to imagine real world spaces in your mind. The Rubik’s cube is a mechanical there-dimensional puzzle that can help you work on your spatial intelligence. This is not merely confined to visualizing things in your head. It also includes analytical and abstract abilities that involve recognizing images and relating it to the other objects in its surroundings. All in all, it helps to your cognitive ability and improves your thinking and memory.
All said and done, the Rubik’s cube will definitely help you improve your cognitive and problem-solving abilities. It will also teach you many life lessons patience, perseverance and focus in the process. All you have to do is pick one and get down to solving it. Some might take a long time while some might solve it in a matter of minutes. Irrespective of how long you take to solve it, the joy of arriving at a solution is unparalleled indeed. The satisfaction of getting there is unmatched. It is one you must experience at least once in your life and take pride in.
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