Which Monkey Are You?

Charles Chu
Dec 18, 2016 · 2 min read

Scientists once put five monkeys in a cage. They put a ladder inside and set some ripe bananas on top.

As expected, the monkeys would climb the ladder to eat the bananas.

There was a catch, though.

Whenever a monkey tried to climb the ladder, the scientists dumped ice water on the other monkeys. After some time, whenever a monkey tried to climb, all the other monkeys would drag it off the ladder and beat it up.

Soon, the monkeys gave up climbing altogether.

This isn’t the end of the story.

The scientists replaced one of the old monkeys with a new one. The new monkey, knowing no better, tried to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys pulled it off and beat it up. No ice water needed.

One by one, the scientists replaced the old monkeys with new ones. At the end of it all, there were five new monkeys that had never taken an ice bath.

Yet, every time a new monkey went on the ladder, they would pull it off and beat it silly.

If we could ask each of them why they did it, what would they say?

You can hear the voices already…

“That’s just how things are done around here.”

“Well, everyone else is doing it!”

“Who the hell are you to question me?”

But maybe, just maybe, one monkey would be a bit different from the others…

“Hmmm… That’s a good question. I don’t know.”

Which monkey are you?

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Charles Chu

Written by

Rethinking the obvious @ http://thepolymathproject.com

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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