Today I proved a theory.
I saw a video once of five monkeys that had been placed in a cage, in this cage, there was also a ladder and at the top of that ladder, bananas. The first thought of the monkeys was to climb up the ladder to get the bananas, however every time a monkey would attempt climbing the ladder the remaining monkeys would get soaked with cold water, which led to that monkey getting beat up by the rest of the monkeys, eventually no monkey attempted to climb. One of the monkeys was swapped out for a new one and of course, his first attempt was to climb the ladder and get the bananas, this only led to that monkey also getting a beating by the remaining monkeys after a few attempts the monkey didn't try again although. A second monkey was swapped, he attempted to climb the ladder also resulting in a beating, the first new monkey participated. This happened over and over, as one by one the original monkeys were all swapped, eventually, only new monkeys were in the cage, they continued to beat up any monkey that attempted to climb the ladder although never having received a cold shower. If you were to ask any of these monkeys, why? Their answer would be, I don't know, that's just the way things are done around here... This morning, while commuting to NYC via train, as I walked up to the platform I noticed a huge line leading towards one of two MetroCard vending machines (train fare cards). I had to refill my card because I did not have enough funds available. Rather than stand on a line that clearly led to one of the vending machines, I questioned why only one machine was being used, so I walked up to the empty machine and asked the person next in line to use it if there was something wrong with it. She shrugged her shoulders in confusion and said everyone is using this one, I continued to insert my card and refill my MetroCard at that point, the funny part of all this and the reason why I began this blog by telling you about the monkey and ladder theory is because I literally laughed out loud at what happened next. Everyone on this long line, whether headed to work/school or simply a day out on the town had the chance to walk up to this machine at any given moment but didn't, it took ONE person to question the why? My action created an immediate chain reaction, once I walked away, a new line formed before the machine I had just used. Was it me? Would someone have eventually noticed the machine and jumped out of line? Or would the line continue to grow despite not knowing why the other machine wasn't being used? So often we go for days, months and even years blindly doing things based on the understanding that this is just the way things are done. Afraid to ask, why? Not being bothered with creating our own experiences and processes. My aim was to refill my card, and I did. You can choose to stand in line and wait. It's up to you how you accomplish your goal.