The Myth Of The Missing Pieces Of Your Life

It’s a common metaphor these days to talk about “the pieces of a puzzle” and fitting them all together to make something whole, complete, finished.

Many of us see our lives as such as puzzle.

We have somewhere within us an image of the box of this 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of our life, with that completed picture on the front. Then, we go through life desperately seeking each piece we need so we can finally put it all together perfectly, and only then can we sit back and be happy.

image: lilahpops

But if we spend most of our lives always frantically seeking what’s missing, then we overlook what’s already there.

What we’re assuming is that to be happy, we must have a completed jigsaw puzzle, and all the pieces must be in exactly the right place. That’s a huge presupposition, and it allows very little room, if any, for enjoying and appreciating what we already have along the way.

If your 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle already has even half the pieces in place, then you’re able to see and enjoy those parts. But you can’t if you’re only ever looking at the gaps that you feel still need to be filled in order to be content.

What if we never complete our puzzle, any of us? What if it’s ok to have a few pieces missing?

What if half or two thirds is the best we can hope for? Doesn’t this free us to celebrate what we already know and have and enjoy?

In another post I talked about listening – really listening – to what you know you need to do. Taking guidance from your internal compass and rudder.

This is part of it, and this kind of listening will help you move closer finding more pieces of your own puzzle.

But don’t overlook what’s there already, all you have to be thankful for, the people you know, the person you are.

Or, to put this another way, are you dreams already around you? Or some of them at least, that you’ve been blind to because you’ve been looking for the ones that are “missing”?

Take another look at your jigsaw puzzle. It’s likely it’s already far more complete and beautiful than you’d noticed.

3 thoughts on “The Myth Of The Missing Pieces Of Your Life”

  1. I love your site, Dan! You’ve got such great insight. The analogy in this post works well for my life – especially since I’ve lost a few pieces of my puzzle in the sea of couch cushions. Luckily the puzzle’s on a beautiful table, so even the empty spots of the picture have a striking background. 🙂


  2. Thanks Kristin.

    I like that analogy of losing a few pieces down the back of the couch!

    Even better, the idea of your puzzle being on a beautiful table. So if you ever did manage to put all the pieces together you’d miss out on the table!

    This also reminds me of that quote by Debussy – “Music is the space between the notes”. If a piece of music had no silence within in it, it’d just be a dirge or cacophony, there’d be no contrast, no melody.


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