Here’s the short story about The Monkey and The Juggler.
In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.
One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.
Days went by and the town people with terror looked upon the monkey. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.
One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”
When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.
The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.
But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.
The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him to a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo.
That was the end of the greedy monkey.
What if you think you can, but you can’t?
Do you remember the two places in the personal development journey? We must exit the one to enter the other. When we make the move we are liberated to live with purpose and passion and achieve even more.
High performers exit their Comfort Zone, a non-threatening life of status quo thinking, behavior and low performance in order to march into new territory. Having calculated the risk, they enter their Safety Zone and go for it.
To leave your Comfort Zone requires self-efficacy – that “can do” way of thinking. How you see yourself…what you believe about your ability and how much you trust yourself determines whether you are stuck or will achieve your potential.
Self-efficacy theory suggests that personal mastery expectations highly influence behavior change. Self-managed leaders and high performance teams enjoy positive self-efficacy.
When do you let go?
In Demolition Friend I told the story of my decision to take on something I had not done before … replace carpeted stairs with oak treads and risers. I’m pleased to announce it was 97.5% successful.
The next step (no pun intended) was to build the stair and bannister rails. This required new newels, balusters, handrails, and wall rails. As I did with the stair replacement I wanted to believe “I can do this.”
After studying how to proceed I stepped into the task. This time I recognized the boundary of my Safety Zone. To continue was “high risk,” the potential of losing both time and money. It was time to release and delegate.
No amount of positivity would make up for my lack of experience. My self-efficacy, while sufficient for the steps, became scarce in with this task.
The truth is…
There are times when trying to boost your self-efficacy is not the answer … wisdom and prudence calls for letting it go.
As the ancient Hebrew Proverb says:
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
It is a sign of wisdom to acknowledge our limits and tap into our resources to get the job done.
The project required two experienced installers ten hours; I can only imagine how long it would have taken me. Writing that check felt good. I let go of “the peanut.”
The monkey lost his freedom as his clinched fist made him a hostage. His unwillingness to “let go” limited his potential.
What is in your hand? What are you clinching that could be holding you back?
Here’s to your next level…