Open Your Mind, Open Your World

young woman old woman

Look at the picture above. Do you see an old woman or a young woman? 

Last week I met coach Ana Ferreira at one of her life coaching sessions here in Groningen. She runs the website Travel Into You. During the session, she gave all of the coachees a sheet of paper with the image above on it. You’ve probably seen this around on the internet.

She asked us to take a guess and write the age of the woman without showing it to the person next to us. We then revealed our answers and compared them with each other. Two people said the woman was in her early 80s, and me and another participant said the woman was in her mid 20s.

The coach then explained that there was no right answer to the woman’s age. And that this would depend on our own perception. Afterwards, she told us the picture was an optical illusion. I tried to find the old woman, but I couldn’t. So I had to ask for help. It was then that the girl sitting next to me explained that the old woman’s nose was the young woman’s chin. How could I possibly miss it? Can you see it?

She also explained that there are many ways to get from point A (our current situation) to point B (our desired situation/goal). But many times we are too focused on one solution or one way of doing things that we miss other opportunities. 

Get from A to B

This was especially true for me a long time ago when I was cleaning houses and had to commute from one place to another. Every day, I took the same path in order to get to house A. When I was done with house A, I moved to house B. The path I took looked something like this:

taking the road most traveled

One day, after I had finished work at house A, I decided to have a look around the neighborhood before heading to my next cleaning. I had a few spare minutes anyway. So I biked along an unknown street. And to my surprise, once I got to the end of the road, I realized I was almost at my next cleaning destination. It took me just five minutes to bike from A to B, whereas the previous path had been taking me 15.

the road less traveled

I guess this a clear example of what the coach was trying to tell us that day. Once we open our mind to new (and infinite) possibilities, our world expands. Click To Tweet

Open your mind illustration

I realized that I had been taking the known path because it felt easy. And to be honest, I was too lazy to figure out a shorter way on Google maps. This realization caused me to see other opportunities. I also became aware that I had been stuck to my cleaning job because it was “the only” way to make some extra money at that time. And because it was in my comfort zone.

I thought “If I could just put the same effort that I put into finding cleaning jobs into finding teaching jobs, my reality would be different.” So that’s what I did, I started advertising my services as a private English/Spanish teacher, and within two days I got two new students.

What I’m trying to illustrate is that we often overcomplicate things out of fear of trying new things. We take the road most traveled because we are afraid of change. Or perhaps, just like the picture of the woman, we can really only see it one way.

I am a true believer that there is no wrong or right way to do things, because in the end, every experience teaches us a lesson. However, I’d like to ask you this question: Is there anything in your life that could be improved or simplified by doing certain things differently? Perhaps it’s trying out a new hobby, art technique, marketing campaign, or exercise routine. Or even a change of career.

Maybe you could use the advice of a good friend, a loved one, or a life coach to help you figure it out. While I do stand by following my intuition, I also know that asking for help from others can help you see things with fresh eyes. And ultimately, it helps you reconnect with your own wisdom.


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Author: Jessica Araus

My name is Jessica. I’m a writer and illustrator living in the Netherlands. I write stories based on my life experiences and I also create colorful illustrations that entertain and inspire many. It’s my hope that this blog serves you as a simple reminder of the power you have to choose, create, and live a life that you love.

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