Imagine a large, dull, steel cage containing 5 monkeys. High at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys is 10 bananas. Underneath the bananas is a large ladder. As soon as the monkeys are inserted into the cage, within five minutes, one of the monkeys immediately spots the bananas and begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, spray him (or her), along with the other 4 monkeys with a stream of cold, almost freezing water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result—all the monkeys are sprayed with ice-cold water. Pretty soon, when another audacious monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys try to prevent it.
Now, turn off the cold water and unplug the hose. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace him with a new one. As soon as he is inserted, the new audacious monkey sees the bananas and wants to climb the ladder. To his surprise and horror, all the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the ladder and go after the 10 bananas he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another one of the original monkeys who was apart of the spraying and replace him with a new one. The newcomer, who goes to the ladder enthusiastically is attacked. The previous newcomer even takes part in the punishment with great excitement! Again, replace the third monkey with a new one. The new monkey then goes to the ladder and is attacked. Two of the four monkeys that beat him don’t even know why they are not permitted to climb the ladder or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. Nonetheless, the follow along—quite happily I might add.
After replacing the fourth and fifth monkeys with new ones, all the monkeys that have been sprayed or witnessed the spraying have been replaced. However, no monkey ever again approaches the ladder. Even the group that was not apart of the spraying.
Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done. Don’t be a monkey, don’t be a follower. Challenge all assumptions, set goals that test you not compress you, carve your own path, and never give up. If you follow the crowd, if you do what everyone else does, then you’ll get what everyone else gets. If you do that, well, then you’ll miss out on some pretty good bananas.