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Scared To Try? – Don’t Be A Monkey

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Are you scared to try something?

Maybe you don’t realize it is fear, maybe it comes in the way of other excuses.  It will take too much time.  Other people are already better at it.  It wouldn’t be responsible.  There isn’t time in my schedule.  Still thinking about it.

There is another way to word this – Scared To Try

There is a study/story that goes something like this.  Five monkeys were put in a cage with a ladder and a banana hanging at the top.  When a monkey tries to climb the ladder to get the banana they are all sprayed with water.  Quickly the monkeys learn the cause-and-effect idea going on here  (cause they are smart).

Soon one monkey is traded out for a new monkey that has never been sprayed.  The monkey does what monkeys do and tried to climb the ladder to get the banana.  The other, previously sprayed, monkeys all pull him down.  Soon the new monkey learns climbing the ladder is a bad idea.

Slowly all the monkeys are traded out one-by-one in this fashion until none of the monkeys in the cage have ever been sprayed with water.  None of them climb the ladder but none of them know why.

They are scared to try

I don’t know if this is a true story or not, but if you search it is all over the internet.  Find a longer version here.  I am not really worried if it is true with monkeys or not because I know it is true with people and it is true with me.  (however if it was actually done with monkeys I hope they all got a banana at the end).

Going for what we want in life (i.e. the banana) is our right.  We are entitled to it.  We all have ladders.  No matter who you are or where you are you can take steps toward the life you want to live.

Why is it we so often just sit around and stare at each other hoping the banana will fall?  (I talked about the pulling others down a few weeks ago).  Most of us have never been sprayed!  We just hear stories about other people trying something and it not working out or someone says something that leads us to believe we aren’t ready to climb yet.

  • The banana isn’t going to fall

  • Climbing the ladder is never going to be easy

  • Climbing the ladder is worth it

I would love to say I have figured out a step-by-step plan to solve this problem.  That if you follow these simple steps (for only $19.95 😉) you can get the banana without climbing and eat it when no one else is watching.

There is no steps.  There is no easy way.  There is always risk.

What do you want out of life?  Do you want to adopt minimalism?  Start a new career?  Become an artist?  Begin public speaking or writing?  Start voicing your opinion? You have to climb the stinking ladder!

Change is never easy and growth is never comfortable.  (want to tweet this?)

I have had to take on an evil personal trainer position with myself on this one.  I am so scared to do so many things but I have no reasons to be.  No one is holding a gun to my head if I fail.  No bridges or cliffs are in sight. I was terrified to adopt minimalism and move to an apartment.  Some people probably raised their eyebrows but I wasn’t sprayed with water.  Every time I press publish or log onto my blog I am scared someone will be offended or not agree with me.  I have no place writing books…I almost flunked out of every English (or related) class I took but I keep pushing myself past my fear and keep blogging and am working on two more books to come out soon.

I don’t share my experience to say anything I am doing is great or even successful, but it does represent something I am doing that I am terrified of.

In the past few years I have learned to watch for these experiences.  Do I want something but am avoiding it?  That is probably the thing I need to jump into.  It is the opportunity I have to grow and become more of who I want to be.

You and I only have the chance to live once.  If you get sprayed with water or if you have to thump the heads of a few other monkeys trying to pull you down…so what!

Climb the ladder and get the banana!

Thanks so much for reading 🙂  I had fun with this post.  I don’t mean to yell or come across as harsh but I feel pretty strongly about it.  Life will be full of butterflies in the stomach but I want to be a person who will face my fears and die empty.

How are you going to start climbing the ladder today?  (if you are reading RSS join us in the comments)

Wanted to add that two books have helped me with this have been Strip Off Your Fear: Slip Into Something More Confidentand Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life (this one I got an advanced copy of and I am loving it!  You can get the first 20% of this book for free here)

Thanks so much for coming by and reading! If you haven’t already please sign up to get new simple living tips by e-mail.  Also, if you have enjoyed this post and this site, please help me get the word out by sharing on social media.


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5 Comments

  1. Mallery Mallery

    Thank you for your post! My husband & I will be retiring from our jobs next February at very young ages. We get a lot of monkeys who just can’t believe it. And because it’s not possible in their life it certainly can’t be possible for us. If you listen to them too much you begin to doubt yourself. But after reading your post, I feel inspired to not let them get to me. We see the banana and we’re going for it!!

    • yay! Congratulations!

  2. Melissa Melissa

    Great post! I definitely have those moments myself where I want to climb the ladder but syche myself thinking about the climb. So here I sit, waiting for the banana. Your analogy puts the hamster-in-the-wheel cycle in perspective. Yes, it might be tough and uncomfortable, but what’s worse? The water or the waiting? More personally, what’s worse: slipping a few times or viewing your dreams forever from a distance? Don’t be a monkey! Push beyond the fear, and you will ultimately reveal the goodness beneath the peel.

    • Love this “More personally, what’s worse: slipping a few times or viewing your dreams forever from a distance?” I have been reading several times lately about needing to be open to failure. If we never try anything we might fail at then we will never try anything. Just by the numbers we will probably fail much more than we succeed, but the success is worth it. Thanks 🙂

  3. Melissa Melissa

    Great post! I definitely have those moments myself where I want to climb the ladder but syche myself thinking about the climb. So here I sit, waiting for the banana. Your analogy puts the hamster-in-the-wheel cycle in perspective. Yes, it might be tough and uncomfortable, but what’s worse? The water or the waiting? More personally, what’s worse: slipping a few times or viewing your dreams forever from a distance? Don’t be a monkey! Push beyond the fear, and you will ultimately reveal the goodness beneath the peel.

    (Now – on to applying this great advice to my own life, lol.)

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