How Learning to Solve Rubik’s Cube Changed Me

Most people are familiar with Rubik’s cube, yet only a fraction of people can actually solve it. Chances are, if you don’t know how to solve it, it’s virtually impossible to solve it just by intuition (& it would more likely end up giving you a headache).

What started as an ergonomic experiment by Hungarian Architect Erno Rubik, soon became one of the most popular mainstream puzzles. With almost half a billion cubes being sold, chances are you came across one and were amazed (& terrified) with it.

After a decade of running away from the cube, I finally added it to my resolutions list for the year of 2020. However unlike other items on my list, I dreaded getting started on this one and postponed doing it till as late as November 2020. During my block leave for the year, I finally got my hands on solving the cube. It took me about 4 hours (and multiple anxiety attacks) to solve it for the first time and almost a weeks time to take my average time down to just under 3 minutes.

Learning to solve Rubik’s Cube went on to become one of most special experiences of my life. So much so that I decided to capture the emotions I went through this experience (& immortalise it) by writing a blog about it.

Here are the 5 ways in which the Rubik’s cube changed me:

1. Astronomical Boost of Confidence:

There are over 43 Quintillion (43 Billion Billion) possible combinations of a Rubik’s cube and only one of which is correct. To put it in other words, there are more possible positions of Rubik’s cube than there are grains of sand on the entire Earth. In fact it is so complex, that when Erno Rubik first took it to manufacturers, he was turned down saying that, “Why would anyone want to buy a puzzle they can’t solve”.

The ability to reach the correct combination, no matter how scrambled is the cube handed over to you, feels like a superpower! It teaches you to reach order from chaos.

“Sir Issac Newton unraveled the mysteries of Gravity. But could he have unraveled the mysteries of Rubiks cube?” said the first ad of Rubik’s cube.

Solving the cube is not that intuitive at the first. It took Erno Rubik almost a month to solve it the first time. However when you learn to solve it, it almost becomes your second nature.

There are 4 stages one goes through while learning a cube:

At first it looks difficult. Then you attempt solving it and it now looks almost impossible. You keep up the efforts and now it looks somewhat plausible. And then you finally solve it. And now it feels as easy as riding a bicycle.

2. Happiness:

There are few moments of your life that you probably would never forget. Getting your first Rubik’s cube solve is definitely one of them; especially if you self learn it. No matter how smart one is, no one has / or will ever be able to solve the Rubik’s cube in his/her first attempt. In fact, tens of attempts are spent just to understand the ergonomics of the cube. Trying to solve the next layer of the cube, without disturbing the perviously solved layers is a challenge in itself. And after all this hard work, when you finally reach the first solve of the cube all by yourself, it puts a big smile on your face! A moment of sheer happiness!

3. Sense of Entitlement:

There are 2 types of people in the world. The ones who can solve the Rubik’s cube and the ones who can’t. Being able to solve the cube puts you in the prior. I often say that, “there is no nobility in ignorance”. Everybody wants to be a know-it-all kinda person, and being a cuber, you know one more skill than an average person.

Learning a new skill puts you in the league of “doers”.

4. Helping to get over the Learners Block:

After completing my formal College education in 2016, I felt (and enjoyed) the relief that comes with not having to study or appear for exams anymore. So much so that I became nauseous to study or learn anything new. To top it, the advent of internet and social media made me easily distracted and unable to concentrate on anything new. The process of learning Rubik’s cube helped me regain some of my concentration. I experienced the learning curve after almost half a decade. It ignited a new desire for learning in me.

5. Philosophical Parallel with Life:

Just like with Rubik’s cube, we often come across situations where any thing we do elevates the problem even further. There seems to be no solutions and we feel helpless. Learning to solve cube teaches you that while there could be as much as billions and billions of wrong combinations, there is definitely one solution to the given problem, which is very much achievable if you just try!

After reading the above blog you might wonder — is being able to solve the Rubik’s cube really such a big deal? Does it open secret portals or reveal the secrets of the Universe or admit you in the Illuminati? Probably not. And I may have exaggerated a lil in what I said. But one thing is for sure, learning to solve the cube will be one of the very cherished moment of your life and you will carry a (tiny) chip on your shoulder.

If you already know how to solve a Rubik’s cube chances are you might have experienced some of these emotions earlier. If you don’t, this might make you curious about it and might give it a spin the next time you see one. And once you learn to solve the Cube you would see the world a lil differently. And whenever you come across a scrambled cube in life, you will leave it solved!

Thanks for reading it through. Will see you in the next one!

~Sangram Kakad

Founder, MTJF - More Than Just Friends