Get Rid of Your Monkey! Part 2
Last time we talked about monkeys, specifically the monkey on your back and how it’s dragging you down. The monkey is the broad cause of many problems we have, and eliminating it will go a long way towards freeing up resources of mind and body.
We’ve looked at starting this process in our last article. First, identify if we have a monkey or two. Then, select the most important to eliminate. Third, make a decision to start.
Today we’ll conclude the monkey booting off process.
4. Kick Off the Excuse Monkey First
At this point, you’ve made that fateful decision to ditch your monkey.
Now, you must create an environment of accountability and self-responsibility.
Eliminate all chances to blame others, because you’ll be creating a particularly large species of monkey – the EXCUSE monkey. This is the worst monkey of all because it removes all urgency and buries any sense of responsibility.
It prevents you from identifying the root causes of problems which originated from your own thoughts, actions, inactions, attitudes, perceptions, biases, judgments, and values.
You’ll never find that monkey if you have the Excuse Monkey covering them up.
Understand that the monkeys in your Life are either
i) Ultimately your own doing or
ii) If externally initiated, you had a part in its creation by the choices you made in response or
Once you do this, it will be easier on you. The mistakes we make are the harder ones to face than those made by others, but they are often easier to rectify because you really only have to fix one thing – YOU.
5. Get Additional Handlers
We have two opposable thumbs. The monkey has four. Imagine what a tough time it’d be prying that monkey off you when you only have two hands!
Fortunately, the people in your Life are there to help you in time of need. You just need to ask!
First, admit you need help and understand it’s ok to do so. It’s a sign of strength to know when you need a support, not weakness.
Next, you have to know exactly what help you need.
Be specific so that people aren’t confused with what you need. You might need a referral, a recommendation, a chat, or just company.
Many hands make light work, and in this case, the more opposable thumbs you have on the job, the better.
6. Set a Timeline – Then Turn up the Heat!
Some problems will not be easily sequestered into a time frame, but you must nonetheless decide on milestones. Because dealing with a monkey requires focus, you cannot make your timeline indefinite. Otherwise you’ll have no urgency, it will continue to weigh you down, so how different would that be from your original situation?
One more good reason to set time guidelines: Temporary sacrifice in other areas may be necessary while you focus on prying of that monkey. This means time and energy away from other pursuits.
Accept that, but make sure you make it worthwhile by dealing with that monkey full bore. You are going to bombard it with a concentrated effort until it lets go.
Always remember the big picture is a Full Life.
Don’t make your monkey your obsession without limit. Envision what happens after.
The Benefit of a Monkey History
Think back to when you had exams.
For most of the semester, it’s easy to stay in cruise mode and take it easy… Too easy at times!
Leading up to it, with a dead line looming ahead, your survival instincts take over. You have no choice but to kick into emergency mode. You give up more and more leisure time to fully focus all your energies on the exams.
But on the day of the last exam, what happens?
A burden is relieved. While you may collapse immediately into bed for much needed sleep, you have developed so much momentum and become so accustomed to making every minute count, that there is a little feeling of disconcert. You may have a greater appreciation of time; it’s not for lying around in bed eating chocolate.
It doesn’t last long though.
This is a very precious window of relief and enlightenment you must SEIZE. The momentum of industry you were riding must be continued by engaging immediately in other worthy pursuits, or it will be killed off by lapsing into beach bumming mode.
In the same way, after you get rid of that monkey on your back, you will have a window of relief which you must SEIZE.
With the sudden infusion of energy, happiness, freedom, and other positives, you must ensure you do not lapse into old habits that got the monkey on your back in the first place.
Example 1: Ditching a negative, draining relationship
Don’t: Immediately fill up the void in your Life by jumping on the next opportunity that presents itself. Such hasty, thoughtless action is what got you into the previous relationship in the first place.
Instead: Use the time to develop clarity as to your weaknesses, why you erred, how it happened. Have a very clear idea now of the type of partner and relationship you want, and don’t want. Use this unattached time to develop the qualities and the attitude that will attract what and who you want.
Example 2: Paying off your last credit card bill
Don’t: Immediately rush out and ‘reward’ yourself by getting something with your newfound credit. Once you start, the whole cycle will happen again, and debt will hinder you from true financial freedom.
Instead: Take time to savour the feeling of being debt free. Treasure the feeling of not waiting desperately for your next paycheck, being unafraid of picking up your phone calls, and freedom to open the door to your house without first looking over your shoulder. Start learning about finances, find a mentor who can educate you about investing, create a plan and set goals you never could have before… perhaps even financial independence?
Example 3: Finally losing weight and looking good naked
Don’t: Immediately feel you can ‘spare the calories’ and reward yourself with a high fat, high sugar ice cream milkshake. That is the start of the old Lifestyle which will eventually supercede the new one you have so painstakingly created. Don’t stop exercise because you ‘no longer need it’.
Instead: Understand your body will always reflect a lifestyle, not a one off effort. Having escaped the limitations of your previous overweight body, use the newfound freedom to explore a new sport or skill you always wanted to try. Learn new recipes, new exercises to keep things fresh. Consolidate your knowledge and habits of healthy living by inspiring others and mentoring them to do the same.
Be happy you got your monkey off, but don’t get complacent!
Monkeys on our backs are anchors that weigh us down and hold us back from reaching our potentials, achieving our goals, and creating full and happy Lives. It’s hard not to pick up a monkey or two on this journey called Life, but constantly assess if you have one, then tackle it aggressively. Recognize them and understand how they are affecting your Life. Then free yourself of their grasp, finger by finger if necessary. When you do, the relief of pressure on your back will be sudden, you will feel a new spring in your step, and you will get to work on what truly matters to you in your Life, double time.