My Square Mind

Uns Baban writes for

Uns Baban writes for

by Uns Baban, architect and CEO of interior design company Uns Design



Dear Friends

I got this puzzle by email some time ago and I would like to share it with you because it has changed the way I think ever since and probably forever…..




Here is the puzzle….

A diagram with four squares…….



Question #1

Divide the white area in square A into two equal pieces

image 1 unsEasy, isn’t it?

image 2 uns

Question #2:

Divide the white area in square B into three equal pieces

image 3 uns

Not so difficult!

image 4 uns

Question # 3

Divide the white area in square C into four equal pieces

image 5 uns

It’s difficult, isn’t it?

image 6 uns

Here is the answer.


Question # 4

Divide the white area in square D into seven equal pieces

image 7 uns

Any idea?

Are you still puzzled ?

image 8 uns

Finally, the answer is below…

image 9 unsOh! That is easy!

Why did I not think of it?

It looks like





Now let me think, I could not find the solution for the last question.

So I squarely decided that it’s difficult.

Why!?….Because my mind was conditioned to seek a complex solution……!

The first three questions gradually prepared me to expect a difficult fourth question.

They tricked me and made me forget about the obvious straight forward solution.

They made me look for a complex one and get lost.

It was there in front of me, a simple square that needed to be sliced into seven equal pieces,

As simple as that.


Now why did it change the way I will think for the rest of my life?

Because that experiment made me discover that my mind does not think independently….

That the mind is manipulated by the surrounding circumstances.


Can you imagine how dangerous that is?

My mind could be affected by any idea conveyed to me through culture, through friends, through the media….or any other means…

Oh Wow!

Does that mean that certain circumstances could even affect my JUDGEMENT?

  • Could a TV news article condition my mind to think and judge differently if it meant to…!
  • Does it mean that if, for instance, I had a bad experience with one of my employees it could make me suspicious of all the others?
  • Does it mean that forgiving somebody could depend on my mood at that moment?

If somebody told me that my friend “X” is not honest, would that comment keep nagging on me regardless of whether I believed it or not? Would that idea keep lingering in the back of my mind for some time? And could it, by any chance, affect my judgment regarding that friend?

Think of this very deeply because it applies to every aspect of our lives. Our minds get conditioned by circumstances and our judgment gets drastically affected accordingly…..!

As humans we have been extremely conditioned in our lives. The past, with its experiences and knowledge and memory, informs us how to react to present situations. It is this conditioning which is responsible for much of our behavior towards us, towards others and in every situation in life. It dictates our perceptions of reality, of others and of ourselves.

You see, this experience has helped me discover that I am not always right….even when I’m very sure that I’m right.

The truth that I take from a certain experience, based on my own circumstances, could be different from the truth that my opponent takes from the very same experience. Their experience will of course be based on to his or her circumstances. It is, however, possible for us  both be honest about what we perceive. We may both be right even if our own truths are completely different from each other!

The truth is multi-faceted.

So let us please embrace the idea that somehow, about somebody or something, we may very well be….mistaken.

Admitting that will help us solve our differences and avoid many kinds of conflict.

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