Social peanuts

A coconut shell, roasted peanuts and a string... for centuries these simple items have been used by some native Africans to trap monkeys using a simple strategy.

One end of a coconut shell has a hole that is big enough to allow a monkey's hand to get inside. A long string is attached to the other end. Peanuts are put inside and the shell is placed along a monkey's trail. The trapper hides in the bushes, holding on to the string.

The tantalizing smell of peanuts attracts the monkey to the coconut shell. He reaches in through the hole and grasps the peanuts. But because the monkey must make a fist to hold the peanuts, his hand no longer fits through the hole. Not willing to let go of the peanuts, the monkey is easily pulled to his demise by the trapper.

This African strategy for capturing monkeys can teach many lessons about life, one of which, I suppose, is to beware of sneaky trappers hiding behind bushes. Another is that sometimes we're so afraid to let go that we put our profits, our sanity, or even our business at risk.

We all have these things in our life, things we cling to. I call them "social peanuts." They can be dreams and aspirations, business philosophies, strategies, operating procedures, etc. Most of the time these things are good. The bad comes to play when our social peanuts become outdated, detrimental, or don't fit into our plan for profitability... and we still won't let go.

Identify one thing in your professional life that you aren't willing to let go of, even though it's starting to drag you down. Ask yourself why you don't want to let go. And finally, let it go. You might be short of breath for a bit, but eventually you'll feel some weight lifted, some mental energy relieved, and the freedom to embark on a new road or new challenge. Good luck.


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