10 Brainteasers to Stretch Your Brain

Earlier this year, I posted a blog entitled “Tease Your Brain.”  It offered 10 brainteasers that showed how our preconceived notions, combined with the brain’s tendency to see what it wants or expects to see, greatly affect how we solve problems and make decisions.

To my amazement, it quickly became one of the most popular blogs I’ve ever posted in terms of the number of hits and reader comments. So in keeping with the Hollywood tradition of following up a huge hit with an even better sequel, here’s another round of brain teasers to test your wits.

  1. A man stands on one side of a river, his dog on the other. The man calls his dog, who immediately crosses the river without getting wet and without using a bridge or a boat. How did the dog do it?
  2. A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece. Which has the most?
  3. What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?
  4. What makes this number unique — 8,549,176,320?
  5. Put a coin into an empty bottle and insert a cork into the neck. How can you remove the coin without removing the cork or breaking the bottle?
  6. Two boxers are in a match scheduled for 12 rounds. (Pure boxing only – no kicking, UFC takedowns, or anything else). One of the boxers gets knocked out after only six rounds, yet no man throws a punch. How is this possible?
  7. In 1990, a person is 15 years old. In 1995, that same person is 10 years old. How can this be?
  8. A man takes his car to a hotel. Upon reaching the hotel, he is immediately declared bankrupt. Why?
  9. What do these words have in common: polish, job, herb?
  10. You’re standing in a hallway with three light switches on the wall, each of which turns on a different lamp inside a closed room. You can’t see inside the room, and you can’t open the door except to enter the room. You can enter the room only once, and when you do, all the lamps must be turned off. How can you tell which switch turns on which lamp?

Ready for the answers?

  1. The river was frozen.
  2. An hourglass, with thousands of grains of sand.
  3. Take the first letter of each word and place it at the end. It will spell the same word backwards.
  4. It contains each number, zero through nine, in alphabetical order.
  5. Push the cork down into the bottle. Then shake the coin out.
  6. Both boxers are female.
  7. The person was born in 2005 B.C.
  8. The man is playing Monopoly. He lands on a property with a hotel and doesn’t have enough money to pay the rent.
  9. All three words are pronounced differently when the first letter is capitalized.
  10. Turn on the right switch and leave it on for two minutes. After two minutes, turn on the middle switch and leave it on for one minute. When that minute is up, turn off both switches and enter the room. One light bulb will be hot (1st switch) and one will be warm (2nd switch). The cold bulb will correspond to the switch you didn’t turn on.

How many did you get right?

It doesn’t matter because this isn’t an IQ test. The value lies in stretching your brain beyond its normal ways of thinking. And that can come in handy when trying to innovate and add value to customers in new ways.

To stretch your brain on a regular basis:

  • Put a daily calendar with a puzzle, problem, or poser on your desk. Spend a few minutes each morning trying to figure it out.
  • Post a weekly brainteaser in the company lunchroom or common area. Have fun prizes for the winners – the one who gets it “right” and the one who comes up with the most creative answer.
  • Once a week, read a blog or magazine article that has nothing to do with your industry. Once a month, read a book outside your normal area of interest.
  • Visit a trade show or convention from a very different industry. Focus on what you can learn from that industry that applies to your own.
  • Take a long walk on the beach or in the park and think about nothing at all. Just let the mind wander.

Innovation often comes from seeing what already exists in the world and putting things together in new and different ways. So get out there and stretch those brains; create some new wiring to thrive in today’s hyper paced world! It will be good for you and your business.

Call to action: Forward or retweet this blog to all your friends and have a contest for who gets them the fastest or gets the most ‘right’.

Clearworks - Customers, Connections, Clarity

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Holly G GreenHolly is the CEO of THE HUMAN FACTOR, Inc. (www.TheHumanFactor.biz) and is a highly sought after and acclaimed speaker, business consultant, and author. Her unique approach to creating strategic agility, helping others go slow to go fast, will change your thinking.

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3 Responses to 10 Brainteasers to Stretch Your Brain

  1. Pingback: brainteasers | Förnyelse och innovation i Örnsköldsvik

  2. Pingback: Articles of Interest – November 16, 2012 « National Creativity Network

  3. Pingback: Seeing beyond the obvious « Strategyaudit

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