One Sunday back in August 2008, I had an appointment with an acquaintance of mine who needed advice on how to resolve an important business problem. The man lives in Bratislava, and we agreed to meet at one of the small and cozy restaurants near the local opera house. He arrived with his little daughter, and while he was apologizing about his wife not being able to take care of her that day, and I was explaining with a smile that if this was how it had happened, then this was how it was meant to be, the waitress brought the menus and handed a pack of pencils and a drawing block to the four-year-old Katka.

Joseph and I spoke in English so that his daughter could not understand us. He was filling me in on the situation in detail, and I was listening carefully, while at the same time observing the activities of the little girl. After filling a page with drawings, she turned to a new page with a maze on it. At the two ends of the maze there were Winnie the Pooh (Macko Puf in Slovak) and Eeyore. She had to find the shortest way between the two friends and trace it out. The child couldn't read, and since her father was talking, she decided to turn to me for help. I interrupted Joseph for a moment and explained to his daughter what was required of her - Eeyore was in trouble, and Macko had to find the shortest way to him in order to save him. Joseph continued, while Katka stared upon the whole composition for a moment, then grabbed the pencil confidently and traced out the shortest way between Macko Puf and Eeyore - going around the maze...

I was about to explain where she was wrong, but I took a second to evaluate the situation again: the task was to find the shortest way between the two friends, and the word "maze" had not been mentioned. She solved the task correctly, whereas I, under the weight of prejudice, would have forced Winnie the Pooh to go through a maze, condemning Eeyore to go to heaven...

As I was listening to Joseph, it dawned on me what a precious lesson I had received from this little child. In my mind I was going through my life, with all the difficulties and decisions taken, and I was realizing how many problems I could have solved in a much more elegant way...

Joseph filled me in on the whole situation and started listing all possible solutions. Unfortunately, he had to make a very difficult choice - each possible solution carried an enormous compromise, at a hefty price for him...

When he finished listing the solutions, I suggested a new one which he had not considered at all. This solution did not carry any compromises, was easy to implement, and actually allowed him to make a good profit off this "problem".

Joseph was very happy with the solution I had suggested. He kept saying it was genius and wondered how it had not crossed his mind to follow that train of thought. He wanted to reward me for helping him. I smiled and said that the idea for the solution to his problem was not mine, and I looked at his four-year-old daughter. She noticed that we were talking about her and stopped drawing. I asked her to show the page with the cartoon characters to her father. Joseph contemplated the picture. His eyes watered. The solution to the allegedly big and unsolvable problem could have been provided only by an unprejudiced mind...

Take a look at the picture. Seriously, take a good look at it and consider any unnecessary mazes and hurdles in your life. If there are such, let them be, and be happy.