There is a very fine balance between overworking something and letting it go.
We are all (we hope) always working on something. It might be a life change, a career move, a family dynamic overhaul, personal transformation, or it could be several at once. But there is no question we all grapple and fuss and think until sometimes we fell like our brains will just fly out of the top our heads.
I know for me, I play with things like they are a Rubix Cube. I force it one way, then another. When I’m focused sometimes I’m overly focused. But often what I’m focused on is the outcome, I may be asking myself questions, but I’m jumping from the question right to the outcome and when the outcome doesn’t come, I end up frustrated.
Sometimes I wind up so frustrated I walk away. I drop the Rubix Cube of an issue and just go do something else. I may take a walk, or workout, watch a TV show, hang with my kids, I might even write a blog. I just do something, anything that takes my mind off of whatever it is I’m not figuring out.
And then miraculously at some point, not always right way – bingo bongo the answer arrives. It just shoots into my head out seemingly out of nowhere.
It happened to me this morning. I have been struggling with an idea for several weeks. I think about much of the time. I have thought about it when my mind should have been elsewhere and I have thought about when in fact I should have been thinking about it, some parts of it were right, but the essence was off. I just knew it. I felt it. We all do that. It’s right, but not really. And sometimes we settle for that not really. I was on the verge of settling for the not really. I figured if I just started ahead in the land of a little wrong, I would find my way to right. But that was not making me happy. I wanted to start out right. But I literally didn’t know how.
So I just thought and thought and thought until I literally could not think anymore.
Then yesterday I dropped it. I was headed to my office and I turned around and took the day off. I walked and walked and did very little. I just figured I needed to give myself space. I didn’t work or think it all day. Sometimes my brain would drift over, but I would bring it back to whatever mindless task I was doing.
I went home and sat at me desk. I started to work and I thought no, stop, just do something else. So I watched the first six episodes of Transparent on my computer.
I figured if my computer were on that I would not work. If I had had it on the TV I might have multi-tasked.
I just let it go.
And then this morning, at the gym in plank, while all I was trying to do was stay in the zone of the exercise the answer came flying in. The exact answer I had been looking for. Just like a Rubix Cube all the sections I had been working on fell into place when I was no longer trying.
So, what is the fine balance. Well, you can’t get anywhere without work. So that early, frustrating over pondering and futzing often has to take place. That is the seed planting stage. It is essential.
You can’t just exist in your life and expect it all to come to you. So work on your part is important, the fine balance part comes in when you know when the time is right to drop it. To let it be. To put down the rubix cube for a spell and leave some white space in your mind to let the universe help you work through it.
The lesson is in doing both parts. Over thinking then not thinking.
Now you might ask what happens if in the non-thinking phase nothing comes?
That might mean you are totally on the wrong path and may need to go back to the proverbial drawing board, or you may need to give it more time. It also may mean this is totally the wrong direction for you and you need figure it out in another way all together.
But thinking it wrong won’t work either. It is truly a fine balance. It’s doing some hard work then handing it over.
It’s actually a three part process, work, trust, and then you are grateful when you know which way to go.