Call us nerds, but we've always found the idea of a treasure hunt exciting! Even as far back as elementary school, choose your own adventure books seemed like the most fun and interesting to read. So, it's probably not much of a surprise that our team is currently obsessed with escape rooms. And in true Black Zen form, we knew we had to share some of our insights and discoveries from our first experience, since there were so many great parallels to real life. In that excursion, we learned a lot about how the game was structured and what was required to win. These same tools may just help you navigate life, a new adventure, your next career switch, or all the above.
For those who don't know, the rooms are basically one big treasure hunt. In the game, you uncover clues and figure out riddles along the way that ultimately solves a mystery. Solving that mystery then opens the door so you can escape. If at this point you're thinking, "This is some Harry Potter bull@*$#," then yes! You're not wrong. Lol. And like our young wizard friend, the quest began in a tiny room.
While we were in this room, we knew clues could be hidden anywhere. This made us all pause and really look through every drawer and at each painting or object on the wall since all of it could lead to our escape. As one clue lead to the next and we figured out how to open a trap door (does this remind anyone else of meditation?), a whole new room appeared! #mindblown. It never occurred to us that an entirely new door would open. What's more, it was there the entire time and we just hadn't found it yet. In retrospect, it makes total sense considering that we'd already solved all the puzzles and found all the clues in the first room. Just like life, when it's time for another door to open - it does. This started a whole new adventure and we set off to discover a brand-new set of clues. The difference is, the clues in the new room required a different set of skills and new ways of making connections to uncover all the fun surprises. The game was switched up and the way we solved riddles in the first room needed to adapt to this new environment.
What made the game even better, is that any time we felt like we were banging our head against the wall trying to find the next clue, we could use the handy walkie-talkie they gave us to ask for help. I went in all tough and bold thinking we wouldn't need to use it, but about 15 minutes into the second room, we realized that our brains were tapped. We had no idea how to figure out the next step. We rationalized that we could either stay stuck and lose the game or ask someone for a tip to uncover the next clue. In The Power of Asking for Help, the writer finds herself in a similar position. While we don't want to give away the ending of the article, we'll just say it's one of the best articles we've ever included in the weekly wellness. Not only is it thoughtful and well written, but the writer's discovery at the end completely hits home.
It turns out that one hint was all we needed and we were back in the game. The clue we were looking for was literally right in front of our faces the whole time. Because we were so convinced it would be elaborate, we missed it. How many times in our lives have we missed the simple clues? How many times have we overcomplicated a situation because we were convinced that it wasn't going to be easy? The question then becomes, in life, how do we spot the clues and recognize what signs to pay attention to?
I think the answer depends on the type of person you are. People are basically separated into three broad camps of thinking on this. On one side, some believe life is totally random and operate by having a strategic direction and are led by pragmatic choices. On the other side, some feel that signs are everywhere and we just need to find them and follow them. In the third camp, some believe that a higher power is directing our steps. Even in this scenario, there are choices we can make and multiple versions of how our stories can unfold. Personally, we believe all camps and lines of thinking on this have value.
With as many escape rooms as we've done, you'd think the game would get boring or the clues obvious, but the truth is, every room is different. Like life, each new experience tests our individual skills and we get increasingly better at finding clues and figuring out the next steps.
If you’re at a time in life where the “room” you’re in feels boring or stale, maybe it’s time to find the door that leads to the next adventure.
If you’re currently right where you should be but feel stuck and can’t figure out the next clue, seek help to push you forward. Either way, the game stays interesting and we choose to remain curious and excited to play.