blog banner
It is Much Easier to Destroy than Create

It is Much Easier to Destroy than Create

Good morning, John. I am a little bit shocked by how much I like
jigsaw puzzles. Like, you have noticed that I am a little
bit obsessed with productivity. We can go ahead and say it.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy. I tie my self worth to my output, and then
often I tie what I imagine to be my output to external validation from an audience,
or in economic terms, or other imperfect surrogates for the magnitude
of “impact,” whatever that is. A jigsaw puzzle has none of that. If there is something that has less impact
on the world than re-assembling an image of a wintertime
scene, I can’t really think of it. But jigsaw puzzles trick my mind
into thinking that it matters without any of the responsibility
of it actually mattering. And that allows me to – get this – relax and
also spend time with friends and family. And there are lots of different things I like
about puzzles. I like how it feels like you get to know every
puzzle and they’re all just a little bit different. And sometimes they’re very different! And the tricks you develop on one puzzle might
not work for another. And in these ways, doing a puzzle is like
solving any problem. No two problems are the same, but as you get the feel of the shape of a
problem, you get better and better at addressing it. Puzzles also have the advantage of being finite,
and so you know when you’re done solving it, which is something that real world problems
tend to not have, unfortunately. I am unlike a lot of puzzle people who I know in that
taking the puzzle apart is actually my favorite part. I just love watching the complete order of a puzzle
being almost instantly reverted to complete disorder. And not because I like love chaos and destruction. Like a little bit I do.
But mos – but here’s the thing. I love seeing how hard it is to build something
and how easy it is to destroy it. Now, that might not sound like a good thought,
but I think it actually is. Because if it is much easier to destroy than build –
this is mathematically true so you can’t really deny it – then everything that remains built, every problem
that gets solved, every disease that gets cured, everything that just works remains that way
only because of human action. Only because of billions of people placing
puzzle pieces every day, carefully, and thoughtfully. Obviously, during the Project for Awesome,
we are focused on problems. And the puzzles we’re solving here are not
puzzles that have the luxury of not mattering. So, we have to look a lot at the problems,
and they can feel very heavy. But they need to be looked at,
and they need to be understood. And we need to support,
the master puzzle-solvers out there who understand the unique shape
of each one of these things. Like the people who work at Partners in Health
and Save the Children, the charities the Project for Awesome is supporting
in its first half. The puzzle of healthcare isn’t simple anywhere, but these organizations help communities build
more robust healthcare, decrease illness, they provide stability, and they make the
world a better place. Everyone who supports the Project for Awesome
by making a video, supporting a charity, joining us on the livestream, or getting some
perks at… You are helping put puzzle pieces down
where they most need to be. The problems of the world can feel like a
weight, but they can also feel like a puzzle that, yes, we’re never gonna finish, but that
brings a better world with every piece we lay. And the Project for Awesome, by the way, begins
shortly at noon eastern time! And you can join us for 48 hours of fun and fundraising and silliness and thoughtfulness
at John, I will see you on the livestream! Go to to find
our Indiegogo. There are so many cool perks! And you can get them now and ONLY during the
Project for Awesome.

  • The Project for Awesome is our community's yearly fundraiser.

    We have tons of amazing perks at the indiegogo:

    Money donated there is, for the first half of the P4A, given to Partners in Health and Save the Children.

    During the second half, the money raised goes to charities voted on by the community at People all over the internet make videos promoting their favorite charities and people watch those videos and then vote for the ones they think most deserving. Our company pays for all non-volunteer staff time so, after manufacturing and shipping costs for perks, all of the money goes to charity.

    We also have a 48 hour livestream which is very fun! You can find it at starting at Noon Eastern Time today!

  • What the world would look like, if destroying things and systems was much more complex and energy-taxing, than building and sustaining them?

  • I do this exact same thing with video games. When I'm "done" playing a video game, or I become too addicted to it, I'll enable cheat modes, install cheesy mods, and basically tear the game apart. I love just watching the game fall to pieces. Removing the challenge of the game also almost instantly breaks my addiction so I can get back to real life.

  • Your thesis reminded me of one of the most poignant beginnings to a novel I've ever read.

    "Life is hard.

    Dying’s easy.

    So many things must align in order to create life. It has to happen in a place that supports life, something approximately as rare as hen’s teeth, from the perspective of the universe. Parents, in whatever form, have to come together for it to begin. From conception to birth, any number of hazards can end a life. And that’s to say nothing of all the attention and energy required to care for a new life until it is old enough to look after itself.

    Life is full of toil, sacrifice, and pain, and from the time we stop growing, we know that we’ve begun dying. We watch helplessly as year by year, our bodies age and fail, while our survival instincts compel us to keep on going—which means living with the terrifying knowledge that ultimately death is inescapable. It takes enormous effort to create and maintain a life, and the process is full of pitfalls and unexpected complications.

    Ending a life, by comparison, is simple. Easy, even. It can be done with a relatively minor effort, a single microbe, a sharp edge, a heavy weight . . . or a few ounces of lead.

    So difficult to bring about. So easy to destroy.

    You’d think we would hold life in greater value than we do."

    ~ Jim Butcher, Ghost Story, Chapter 1

  • Hank— can we help raise money by buying the awesome sweater/jacket you are wearing in that video!? My hubby would look awesome in that!

  • Hank, a scret anarchist inside his heart. Also Immeditly thought of Dr. McCoy in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

  • Not gonna lie; watching the tearing apart of puzzles in reverse low key gave me the heebie jeebies. I’m not sure why, so I watched it again. It still messed with me and I still don’t know why.

    It’s like rubbing a cats hair against the grain.. /shudders

  • Exactly bro,it's easy to destroy easy to break a lady's heart…guys please show somelove by subscribing to my YouTube channel

  • I’m glad Hank (or you if you are reading this Hank) enjoy puzzles but I’ve never been able to enjoy making puzzles. I completed one with a. Friend over like a afternoon and part of the night. It was excruciating my friend basically drug me through the process

  • I just used puzzles for teaching the other day! It went down far better than I expected (when I asked the kids if they wanted to put them in the rubbish, they all went, "No, we want to take them home!" even though they were all pretty bad quality).
    I think I'll have to come up with some harder ones!

  • I love puzzles!!! What you said about tricking your brain into thinking its being productive was spot on. I do them while listening to podcasts and audio books so I feel double productive while relaxing. Great video. Thank you 🙂 PS: Where can I get that beautiful puzzle with the doves where the pieces are real shapes.

  • I love that you are completely aware of how you tie your self-worth with your productivity. 😉 That's also an issue for me, but I've made great strides just being aware of it! And I also love puzzles – great insight here on why!

  • Reverse-gravity was slightly disconcerting but I really loved how gently everyone started destroying their puzzles (since if you go in rough you will ruin the pieces) so it looked like they were also gently un-destroying it in reverse

  • Actually, destroying something within narrow specifications, is harder than creating many times. So as long as you don’t care about an outcome, the task is easy to do. If you care about an outcome, it is harder to do.

  • NOOOOO! All that time put into putting the puzzles together and you broke them up! (my heart, my heart. it was crumbled into tiny pieces. beware the piece the cat finds. forever incomplete!)
    Okay. Overly dramatic scene is done. But seriously- nothing more frustrating than losing a puzzle piece?

  • I kept the video on the comments because the audio 100% resonates with me but seeing them being taken apart is SO STRESSFUL

    E(by the end)TA: it's unsettling, to put it best

  • I love doing jigsaw puzzles. Been doing a bunch of them with my mom once she moved into Long Term Care. Have to be careful which ones – pieces can't be too small, graduation can't be too subtle – but it's so much fun.

  • "How hard it is to build something but how easy it is to destroy it" but how much more value the solvers have including Hank and John. Thank you for being solvers!! We love you both!!

  • Life's not like that. It's like building an house of cards. During a tornado. At night. And they're punching you in the face.

  • I couldn't even focus on what was being said because I was so entranced by watching puzzles be destroyed, but in reverse.

  • I have never enjoyed something more then this video of puzzles being destroyed in reverse!! Hanks points are great, but I could have watched that without sound!!

  • It's also often easier, cheaper and quicker to consume or use something than to create it. We usually don't think of eating a hamburger to be "destroying" it, but to make a hamburger takes at least ten minutes while it can be eaten in just a couple of minutes. Or take the example of a painting. Artists can put lots of time and effort into painting a picture, but it takes just a second to look at it.

  • I am finding the illusion of the puzzle assembling as if by magic very satisfying ~ coming from a person who becomew beyond frustrated with jigsaw puzzles usually; and the message is also not lost,

  • My favorite memory from Thanksgiving this year is putting together a puzzle with my grandmother while drinking tea and watching Harry Potter (she doesn’t know much about the series, and inquired why they kept pointing sticks at each other ?).

  • I really identity with what you said about productivity, self worth and external validation. Also I recently got to spend a few sessions solving puzzles and it was really positive and relaxing. Not many activities in my life are so tranquil and let me be entirely in the moment amd I really need that more.

  • Alright Hank how is it going? Most enjoyable video

    This is a little bit non-sequitur but have you and John ever looked at Rowdy Burton's youtube channel. It certainly is awesome and I very much recommend it:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *