A few weeks ago, I was sitting in this cozy café in Tamarindo, on the western coast of Costa Rica.
Its owners were a young and fun couple, and the café had great coffee, chai and pastries.
I spent quite a lot of time there during our two-week vacation. It made a lovely respite from the heat outside and all the swimming and surfing.
One day, the owner showed us a few mind-teaser games.
Disclaimer: I suck at these sort of games.
When I was a child, my sister Martina would sit with a Rubik’s Cube and get it all done, while I would give up after completing just one side. I had no patience whatsoever.
The owner handed me one of the games. The goal was to separate the two linked pieces of metal.
I sat there in my wet bikini with my chai, deciding whether I even wanted to try solving the puzzle. It looked impossible.
My husband took it from me and solved it quickly. He handed it to my son, who also succeeded.
It was up to me. I decided to take up the challenge.
But I was soon stumped. After a few minutes, I found myself trying the same moves over and over. Despite my intense concentration, I was getting nowhere. I stared that mind puzzle down. Nothing.
Frustrated, I looked up to see who was entering and leaving the café. The owner engaged me in conversation.
I was still fiddling with the little mind teaser on autopilot, my attention totally occupied by our discussion.
Suddenly—voilà! I ended up with a metal piece in each hand. I had solved the puzzle!
All while doing what I love, chatting away.
This seemingly insignificant episode made me think about deeper things in life.
When we are focused on a goal that we have set, it is so much harder if we obsess over it.
It is so easy for us to become paralyzed. Tasks seem daunting. Unattainable.
However, when we let go and work from a space of flow and openness—and do not try to control the outcome, but rather put play and laughter into our endeavors—we accomplish so much more.
We don’t see all the ways that lie ahead, so we can’t even imagine what the end result will be, or if it is even attainable.
And so, by trying to control every step of the way, we limit both ourselves and the outcome.
Instead, work from a place of flow.
Being open. Being flexible. Doing the things we love.
Want to learn more?
Watch Monica’s interview with Your Brilliance where she talks about having the courage to be yourself and stand strong in your vulnerability.