A Lesson From the Monkeys

We once took our kids to the Omaha Zoo.  One of our favorite exhibits were the spider monkeys.  These adorable little creatures live on a small island in the middle of a body of water.  There was no other barrier, just the water (which didn’t look very deep).  We were told that monkeys hate water and that is why they stay confined to their patch of ground. 

I like to think that if I were a spider monkey, I would see that the water was shallow and I could leap to freedom by merely challenging my dislike. I picture myself leading the charge and a passel of monkeys following me to freedom.  I mean seriously, how dumb can they be?

But then I considered - maybe I’m not so different.   What are the moats in my life?  It’s always easy to think more highly of oneself when one judging another – even if the “another” is a spider monkey.   Truth is, I have plenty of figurative water around my world which limits me on a regular basis.

How do I limit myself because of fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of even…success?  The thing about fears is they usually dwell in the imagination and most will never materialize into reality.  Like those spider monkeys, we remained imprisoned in a prison lacking any bars. 

We make excuses - When I get thin enough. When I’m fit. When I have more money in my bank.  And while I’m at it, there are the accusations:  who do I think I am?  Oh, the endless ways we build shallow water moats to limit ourselves.! 

What are the stories keeping you from moving forward?