1 week later and I solved one of these bad boys in 4:12. (Not all that impressive, but I’m proud of myself)

Learning How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube In a Week

I was inspired by this post to make active and measurable goals towards learning new things. We don’t know something until we learn it, and that is something we have total control of. In the post, the author is learning one incredibly hard skill every month, so I decided that I would learn a moderately challenging skill in a week. I decided learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube.

Deciding to learn something is fine, but having a measurable goal and timeline is even better. I hopped on amazon prime, ordered a Rubik’s cube and had this goal.

Step One: Understanding the problem

In order to be able to solve a Rubik’s cube, I had to understand what I was trying to do. When it boils down to it, for most people, solving a Rubik’s cube is done through the memorization of steps and algorithms. So I set out to learn what those steps were and how to complete each step.

Step Two: Learn the steps

After a quick perusing through a few websites explaining how to solve the cube, I came across a gem that explained things in a language I could understand the best. If you’re curious and want to learn as well: https://ruwix.com/the-rubiks-cube/how-to-solve-the-rubiks-cube-beginners-method/

This site provided picture representations of the moves I was to do. This was helpful because other sites would explain what UR`DR meant, but my brain had a hard time visualizing with this representation. So instead I used the pictures.

Step Three: Memorize

I memorize best with hands on repetition and visualization. At first I would complete the cube all the way through by following the examples over and over again. Then I would try to complete the entire cube without help. I would fail at one step, so I would go to that step in the examples and repeat that individual step over and over again. Each time I was making a move, I would speak a word or phrase out loud as to what I was doing. This was a queue for my brain to recall the moves later. For example: “wind it up, right, away, away, and back”. That doesn’t make any sense to you as a reader, but I said phrases like this while making the moves as a recall for myself. Once I felt comfortable in the place I got stuck before, I would try to solve the cube all over again, and if I got stuck in a place, I would repeat trying to memorize that step.

Finale: Attempt Completion

Somehow on my first clocked attempt at solving the cube I beat my goal of 5 minutes. I clocked it at 4 minutes 12 seconds. I know I could improve that time by going further, but for now, that was my goal and my goal was attained. Check it off the list.

Take Away

A love of learning is something that I used to attempt to teach to my 7th graders because I feel it is vitally important to our self growth. As you read this, think of something you always wanted to do or to know. When you’ve thought of it, think of a measurable goal that you can set for yourself to learn it. Once you have your goal, break it down into manageable steps and go for it.

The first step towards being a master of something, is going from being really bad at something, to being kind of okay at something.

What are you going to learn? I’d love to hear about it!

Programmer — Writer. @andyhartnett12