My whanau have a $15 maximum for Christmas presents so I was surprised to receive a big parcel from my wife.

I was even more surprised to see that she had bought 6 x 500-piece jigsaw puzzles for just $10.

To be honest, my first thought, was when am I going to get time to do jigsaw puzzles in my busy life schedule? And so my jigsaw education began.

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Here are five life lessons I have learned from doing jigsaws.

Lesson One - make time to do "slower" activities.

I realised that I had to take time out of my busy life to do slower activities such as jigsaws and reading books.

I will often read books on flights but taking time out just to do a jigsaw was a whole new level.

Lesson Two - have a good life picture.

None of the six jigsaws my wife bought me were ugly pictures, they were beautiful pictures of amazing scenes.

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The pictures we have for our lives should also be pictures of beauty.

Whether it is our whole whanau speaking te reo Maori fluently, everyone in good health, success through businesses or the fulfilment of goals, the pictures of our lives are what we make them and no one wants an ugly life picture on purpose.

Our life pictures should be things of beauty.

Lesson Three - start with the borders.

The borders are the easy jigsaw pieces to find because they have a straight edge and usually have clear colours that are easier to join to each other.

I liken the borders of a jigsaw to the borders of our lives that also have a straight edge and are hopefully clearly defined, or should be.

That is, they are the boundaries and values in our lives that are defined as our bottom lines that we are not prepared to compromise on or step over.

Or allow others to step over in our lives for that matter.

Lesson Four - there is freedom and flexibility in how we put jigsaw puzzles together.

We can start at a corner or move to another area at any time.

Life is similar, if we allow it to be.

In any one day we can find ourselves involved in a variety of activities depending on the "pieces" or activities available and our interests at that time.

In fact we could break our whole lives up and see that we have been involved in activities for sectors of our lives depending on our choices.

Hopefully we make the right choices to make the most of the right opportunities at that time to create freedom in our lives.

Lesson Five - I was given six jigsaws which made me think about how I have many jigsaws on the go at any time in my life.

For example I have my professional speaking jigsaw which can take me anywhere in the world at any time.

I have my professional director jigsaw which can see me at a variety of hui making huge decisions at any day of the week.

I also have my whanau jigsaw which can see me out at the Awahou river or in a cafe with one of my kids in Auckland.

In each of my jigsaws I have values and borders which are the same throughout my life and determine which jigsaws I choose to build.

So how are your life jigsaws going? Do you make time to slow down and chill? Do you have values and bottom lines in your life which you will not cross or allow others in your life to cross?

What does your life jigsaw puzzle look like? Are there any ugly pictures to get rid of? What are the various areas or jigsaws in your life such as whanau that you are building piece by piece.

I am sure my wife did not intend giving me all these lessons when she bought me the six jigsaw puzzles for 10 bucks, or maybe she did.

Especially given I am a big part of her life jigsaw as she is of mine, after 32 years of marriage, one piece at a time.

Best 10 bucks she ever spent on me I reckon. Can't wait to see what I get next year for the whole $15.

Ngahihi o te ra is from Te Arawa and is a professional speaker, professional director, columnist, author, businessman, husband and father.