Last updated on June 15th, 2023 at 07:04 am
Life is like a Rubik’s cube: intriguing, confusing, frustrating, and rewarding sometimes. My earliest encounter with the Rubik’s cube was during my childhood, when my sisters and I would always frolic around this particular bag of rice that my parents would bring home. I think that the brand was RICEMASTER. I was not so much interested in the rice as in what I found when I dipped my hands into the grains of rice until I could feel the hard, smooth surface of a cube-like object—the Rubik’s Cube.
This cube-like object has become a headache for many and, for a few, a delight. With its colourful sides, it looks elegant when new, with all the colours in their right places until, after a few turns, one loses track of their initial positions.
At best, some can solve one face by completely arranging one colour on the side, amidst smiles, and hoping to progress to solving the next colour, only to end up messing up the solved face. The Rubik’s cube is a little devil, right? Cute but taunting you, enticing you to try one more time till you murmur to yourself, ‘I can never solve this. This is so difficult!’
You can solve the Rubik's cube.
I beg to differ; you can solve the Rubik’s cube. Yes, you! The question in the first place is very misleading. The question shouldn’t be, ‘Can you solve the Rubik’s cube?’ but rather, ‘Will I solve the Rubik’s cube?
I had this eureka moment in the early days of the global wave of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hit with boredom and my chronic itch to always learn new things, I wondered, “If the Rubik’s cube was invented, it surely must have a solution’.
With that discovery, I was well halfway through the journey of becoming a speedcuber. A speedcuber is a person who engages in speedcubing, the sport of solving a Rubik’s cube in the fastest possible time.
Armed with this conviction, I typed into Google, ‘How to solve the Rubik’s cube’. After skimming through a long list of search results, I found a link to a simple tutorial document. I downloaded it and feasted on this document for a week, obeying every single instruction in it. In one week, I understood how the Rubik’s cube works and solved it.
My first solve took me about three minutes.
Sounds simple, right? It is, as with other things in life. There is a solution to every problem.
There is a solution to every problem.
But it even gets better; different solutions come with different levels of quality, and the more efficient, the better. As a beginner using basic methods in 2019, my average time was between 2 and 3 minutes.
Currently, as an advanced speedcuber, my average solving time is fifteen seconds, with my fastest solve being twelve seconds—funny enough, my fastest solve was caught on video!
There is always a better solution, therefore I plan to average 5 seconds when I solve the Rubik’s cube—a topic for discussion some other day—but let me remind you of the three principles that started my journey as a speedcuber:
- There is always a solution to be discovered.
- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Others might have figured it out already.
- If others have been able to do it, I can too! Just follow what they did.
Read these three principles again. You will notice that they have nothing to do with intelligence or how smart you are, though that’s one of the first things people don’t hesitate to let me know after seeing me solve a Rubik’s cube: “Wow Peter! You are so smart. Only smart people can solve this. Even if you give me a whole year, I won’t be able to figure it out.”
You have not been able to solve the Rubik’s cube, learn to play a new musical instrument, learn the game of chess, or any endeavour you consider difficult learning, not because you are not intelligent or smart, but because of your mindset!
So can you solve the Rubik’s cube, or will you solve the Rubik’s cube?
The question you choose to answer depends on your mindset!
The history of the Rubik’s cube is fascinating. Before we get ready for the next discovery in Peter’s Box, here are some interesting facts for you about the Rubik’s.
- The Rubik’s cube got its name from its inventor, Ernö Rubik.
- There are many types of Rubik’s cubes apart from the popular 3 x 3, such as 4 x 4, 5 x 5, pyramorhix, megamix, mirror cube, skewb, windmill, magical octagonal prism, Rubik’s snake, cube 21 or square one, etc.
- The 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856 different possible configurations. If you allowed one second for each turn, it would take you 1400 billion years to go through all the possible configurations. As a comparison, the earth is only about 4 billion years old.
4. The fastest time to solve the 3X3 Rubik’s cube single is 3.13 seconds by Max Park as of June 2023.
5. Ghana had its first speedcubing tournament in 2019 at Al-Ryan with over 60 participants, out of which I placed 13th.
What’s next in Peter’s Box? ¡Hasta luego amigos!