“Sometimes fate or life or whatever you want to call it, leaves a door a little open and you walk through it. But sometimes it locks the door and you have to find the key, or pick the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn't even show you the door, and you have to build it yourself. But if you keep waiting for the doors to be opened for you... I think you'll have a hard time finding single happiness, let alone that double portion.”
― Gayle Forman, “Just One Year”
The word we know as “lock” comes from the Old Germanic word “Loche”, meaning “hole”. That’s quite interesting, if you think about it.
Because in general, a hole is an absence. Whether it’s metaphorical—lost love that leaves you with a “hole in your heart”—or physical “I caught my foot in a hole and hurt my ankle”—we associate the word with emptiness. If there’s a hole in the door, you can see right through it.
Yet locks are the opposite of empty. Not only are most locks impermeable to the eye (you can’t see through one end and out the other), they’re also quite specifically full: they contain mechanisms which, if not manipulated in the proper fashion, will leave you stymied, unable to pass.
But that’s part of the mystique of the lock. If we can be whimsical for a moment, it’s almost as if the stuff inside a locking mechanism is actually more like a hole than a mere absence. After all, if there’s really nothing there, then something isn’t a lock, it’s just a barrier, easy to break with brute force, or sometimes, just a little persistence.
Locks, on the other hand, are a special kind of space. They’re tricky, since they’re not like an ordinary opening (empty); nor like an unlocked door (you can go in and out at will) nor blunt, like a wall (nothing gets past without explosives or a lot of climbing).
Why does all of this matter?
Because the lock is a physical representation of that most tricky and rewarding of gateways: your own brain. That’s the ultimate puzzle—the ultimate lock of which your will, your thoughts, your ideas, are the pick.
Face it—every day, people struggle with their minds. Some of us struggle with difficult thoughts, depression, anxiety; some of us fight to get past problems; some of us try to figure out that next skill, that next idea, that next piece of inspiration. (Sometimes, all of those happen at once.)
Being a Lockpick Genius is about using this one highly-skilled, but highly-learnable art of opening the physical, in order to open up your head. If you can conquer a lock, you can conquer any puzzle. And as you learn more and more and become more confident about your increasing skills with pick and tools, you’ll become correspondingly confident and capable tackling the puzzles of everyday life.
Have at it!
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