How being great at Sudoku helps you in life...

I wrote a series of newsletters in the lead up to The Helpline coming out in the UK… I’m re-posting them there because RECYCLED content.

Germaine Johnson on how being great at Sudoku has helped her in life 

Of all the certificates and participation ribbons I’ve ever received, the one that makes me most proud is when I was crowned Boronia Primary School’s World Sudoku Champion.  This was in back in 1992, when I was eleven. 

It was a hotly contested competition.  There were three of us competing but I was the winner.  I completed a level 1 Sudoku in the fastest time.  Level 1 is supposedly the easiest but that specific one was unusually difficult.  I tried not to lord my victory over the others.   Susan Finch was only eight and Simon Peters asked to leave my party early, which affected his performance.

You might wonder how being so good at Sudoku has helped me in life.  Obviously there’s an inherent satisfaction in being able to work out which number goes in which box but if you think outside the box, which Sudoku doesn’t overly encourage, it helps in other ways also. 

These are the top examples:

1.  Friendship

Often in life we’re forced into situations that require us to talk to strangers.  Generating mutually interesting topics can be challenging.  Sudoku fills this void.  There’s nothing more interesting that outlining in great in detail what the problem was and how to solve it.  In this way, a Sudoku that took me a half hour to complete could easily provide hours of conversation.  More if the other person actually participates or interacts. 

2.  Employment opportunities

For jobs that require being putting numbers in boxes Sudoku is the perfect training ground.  Data entry is one example but there are others—I can’t do all the thinking for you.

3.  Self-confidence. 

The day I did my first level 3 Sudoku, was the day I knew I could do anything*.  That’s the level of confidence it’s given me. 

*Exceptions to this include: brain surgery, space ship design and anything related to sports (except for power walking).