In snippets of down time, say, between the end of the work day and dinner being ready, I often drag out my trusty old iPad and play a few mindless games. My favorites include some old standards, such as Solitaire and Sudoku, and some newer games you might never have heard about. 

A recent find is Tap Away (free at the app store!), a puzzle game with a challenge to remove all the colorful blocks from a 3-D “structure,” tapping one block at a time to move them in the direction indicated by the arrow on each block. One tap on a block with a “up” arrow, with no opposition above it, will send it “flying” off the structure. A clear shot to the left is easy on the outside left of the structure. The same goes for the right or the down arrows.

The early levels are simple – it took about 3 minutes to get to level 10. After that, the difficulty increased substantially. I had to pay closer attention to which blocks might interfere with another’s passage, and which were open to travel. 

The player is able to manipulate the structure in various directions with the touch of a stylus or finger, turning it around and over and sideways, in order to determine which blocks are stacked on top of others, and which are not. 

As I learned the game, I realized I needn’t get hung up on clearing one row, or one side, or one corner right away. I should just deal with the obvious pieces of the puzzle, let them go, and focus on the remainder in due time, as the underlying pieces are revealed.

One night, as I completed a particularly stubborn puzzle, I suddenly realized I was reiterating a life lesson to myself: Many of life’s little challenges can be resolved by looking at them from a different perspective.

That revelation did wonders for my game and for a conundrum I had been fussing over. There are other ways to consider a solution.

The more one considers other perspectives, the more successful one will be in reaching the goal – whether it’s solving a puzzle, making a difficult decision or figuring out logistics. 

Various perspectives offer more than the “flat,” one-sided view. Turning the puzzle around to look at it from another angle makes the overlaps and the blockages more obvious.

It’s all about the perspective.

Consider, for example, this type of issue with a neighbor. He says your lights are too bright in his kitchen window; you say his music is too loud. 

Have you walked over to his house to see where your lights are shining? Did you notice your light reflects off the water in his birdbath and into his window? And did you know he also is hard of hearing, and that’s why his music is louder?

Seeing things from other perspectives can tone down our tempers, soften our anger, brighten our outlook, and maybe even help us be kinder and gentler to others.