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Intuitively solved the 3x3 & 4x4 Rubik Cube

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May 10, 2020
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Happy New Year Cubers,

I posted on here a few months ago about solving the 3x3 intuitively when I was a teen. Now ten years later and during this covid quarantine phase I decided to test my patience and problem solving skills again and tackle the 4x4 intuitively. For three months I twisted and turned the cube and on Christmas day I finally found a method and 8 hours later I finally solved it.

What I have devised from talking to other cubers and my previous post is that solving the Rubik cube intuitively is rare. But I'm at a lost as to how this "talent" of mine can correlate to real life applications. I'm currently in the process of determining a future career and was wondering if you guys have any insight as to what I might be good at if I can intuitively solve a Rubik's cube.
 
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EngiNerdBrian

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For what it’s worth I have always put “Speed Solving Rubik’s Cubes” on my resume in the “Personal Interests” category. Now I’m not sure cubing has DIRECTLY affected my career but I always say that cubing has helped develop my pattern recognition and attention to detail which is definitely a trait that is beneficial to scientists, engineers, computer programmers, or other technical fields.

An example is when we are developing a set of drawings to communicate our design from hundreds if not thousands of pages of calculations & computer model printouts into a concise 20-50 pages of details provide 100% of all the information necessary to 100% build a structure (building or bridge). It seems like a stretch but I view the same details over and over from project to project so when we are reviewing and notice a rebar is 6” longer than it’s supposed to be, a weld is 1/16” thicker than necessary, a material grade is specified incorrectly, something is spelled wrong, etc. it’s very important to notice these mistakes otherwise a contractor will BUILD something differently than it was DESIGNED.

In short I truly believe cubing has helped my pattern recognition and attention to detail which is beneficial to math and sciences. It also involves spatial reasoning and abstract thinking (planning moves, anticipating + tracking pieces) which are also useful brain tools.

Edit: fixed my horrific spelling mistakes from phone keyboard.
 

Christopher Mowla

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I think anything which requires: thinking outside of the box, "stepping back and looking at the bigger picture", detective work, "putting 2 and 2 together", patience, persistence, and determination.

If you are looking for a career rather than starting your own business, you need to pretend to yourself that you have the qualifications for whatever career you are interested in pursuing. Network, job search, research companies, using sites like Glass Door to determine the work environment (it's not just about getting the job, it's about being able to get along with your coworkers and tolerating management!), view the OOH salary (as well as demand) projections for the years to come, etc. That way you know what you're getting into and to see if "the juice is worth the squeeze".

And I don't think that employers will be particularly impressed that you solved the cube without instructions. If they are impressed, they are impressed that you can solve it at all. Because unfortunately, most people just think this is just a toy . . . and that everyone who knows how to solve them were smart enough to "find the pattern".

The reality is, the person who should take away most from your ability is yourself. Let this be forever a marker of your capabilities and what makes you different from the rest of the pack. But don't fool yourself into thinking that anyone else cares or believes you.

Most importantly, the Rubik's cube is a static object. The best careers around require you to think dynamically, multitask, deal with people, etc. So if you lack in those areas, try to do something which proves (at least to yourself) that you can do well in those as well . . . because the new reality is, in order to get a great career nowadays, you have to be well-rounded. Otherwise you're easy to replace!

Just my two cents!
 

EngiNerdBrian

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The reality is, the person who should take away most from your ability is yourself. Let this be forever a marker of your capabilities and what makes you different from the rest of the pack.
Lots of good points in the post above; I agree with this bit the most though. Understand that what you did is exceptional and uncommon. Use that knowledge and energy to propel yourself forward in whatever you choose to do professionally. Ask yourself what aspects/qualities you possess that allowed you to solve these puzzles intuitively then build on those skill/traits.

It’s still and accomplishment to have solved intuitively but people outside the forums won’t distinguish intuitive solving vs just having solved it regardless of how it happened.

What sorts of careers are you considering? Are you just now or soon entering university? A random thought that just crossed my mind is whether or not you enjoyed your science class and maybe if you might enjoy research and experiments? The fact that you’re able to spend months tinkering with but the cube without caving and using a tutorials makes me think you’ve got that something that conducting experiments requires...but I’m just some random guy on the internet after all so that that for what it’s worth.
 

qwr

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What sorts of careers are you considering?
to the OP he mentions the LSAT which is for law school. so attention to detail and persistence may help, but those are not specific qualities to the cube, rather good general academic qualities. from what I know about practicing law it's not experimental but does require A LOT of reading and research. funnily enough Phil Yu gave up law school to found his company.
 

SenorJuan

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My thoughts were similar to Brian's - Research, experimental science , where sitting down and thinking out a problem is part of the process. The trouble with engineering/industrial work is that people want you to come up with great ideas, but they want them immediately, or even earlier! And they want you to tell them how long it's going to take to come up with your solution, before you start.

It's noticeable there's quite an overlap between cubing and software engineering. Writing code needs thought, planning, an understanding of the problem, the ability to try things out and change them as needed to achieve a solution. And this applies to all branches of coding, from low-level embedded things like microcontrollers /Arduino's / Raspberry PI's through to high-level database software etc. Perhaps something to consider.

And back to puzzles : The Square-1 would be a good choice for your next challenge. I solved it intuitively many years ago ( 2001 ? ) using concepts borrowed from 3x3 solving, so you can definitely do it. Plus, as a shape-shifter, it has that novelty factor.
 
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