Of Monkeys and Men

Rhesus Monkeys

Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center. Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas. One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water. Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself. Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water. After they made several attempts, they finally gave up.

Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey. As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground. After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.

The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas. In time, the room was filled with monkeys who had never received a cold shower. None of them would climb the pole, but not one of them knew why.

Think about that.

(Excerpt from Failing Forward by John. C. Maxwell)


About A. S. Ellis

I am always learning. Always. And that is as it should be.
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3 Responses to Of Monkeys and Men

  1. Excellent! I can write a book on this regarding my life and family.

  2. There's a bird says:

    On the one hand, I’m grateful that there is something more than opposable thumbs that separates me from monkeys. On the other hand, I lined up more than once to grab the arm of a brother who was holding an arm of another brother who was holding a blade of grass on the wire of an electric fence. Obviously, I could not, at that point in my life, distinguish myself from a grasshopper.

  3. Pingback: Don’t Let the Top Hat Fool You, Pet Monkeys Are Trouble « The Life and Times of Nathan Badley…

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