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The story of the monkey behind bars

I’m not going to talk about King Kong or another monkey that made history and everyone knows. Instead, the story of the monkey is about a character with which we can all relate.

The story of the monkey starts in the biggest zoo garden in the world. But in order to describe the zoo a bit, I’ll need your help.

Imagine that this zoo garden is so big that you can see it right after you step out of your bed. While walking through your home, even though sometimes you can’t see it through the window, you know that the zoo garden is nearby. The zoo is so big we could say it spreads on the whole planet.

But in this zoo, there’s only one monkey. There aren’t other species or other monkeys. One monkey from one species. Every day, this monkey is visited by tens or hundreds of people. But there are days when only a few people are visiting the money – sometimes none.

One day, you decide to visit the monkey and, as soon as you notice it, you get closer to the bars of its cage. You look at the monkey for a few seconds then you stick your tongue out to get its attention. All of a sudden, you see that the monkey starts to go crazy and it makes you stick your tongue out even more. The more you do it, the crazier the monkey goes. For you, it’s a silly game. Actually, everyone who’s around you is amused so much by your interaction with the monkey that they start sticking their tongues out too.

As soon as the monkey realizes that more and more people are sticking their tongues out, it goes wild. The monkey starts screaming, punching left and right, and throwing everything. The monkey is so angry, it ends up hurting itself.

Being hurt, the monkey stops agitating and goes to a corner of a cage.

Seeing that sticking your tongue out doesn’t make the monkey react anymore, you look around for another monkey. You realize fast enough that there’s only one monkey in the cage, so you leave.

The next day, the same things happen, just with other people. Every day, different people come at the cage to visit the monkey, they stick their tongues out, the monkey goes wild, screams, and finally it hurts itself and ends up in the corner of the cage.

Actually, the monkey doesn’t see the people outside the cage.

Considering it was the only monkey in the zoo and it was a special monkey, the cage was special too.

For the people who were visiting the monkey, there wasn’t anything different. The people were seeing the cage and the monkey inside. But, what nobody knew, was that between the bars of the cage and the monkey was a very tough and smart wall made of glass. While everyone was seeing the cage and the monkey, the monkey was seeing different things, depending on the people who were visiting.

If only one person was visiting, the monkey inside the cage was seeing a monkey holding three bananas with both hands. If the visitor was sticking their tongue out, the monkey inside the cage was seeing another monkey eating bananas and this made the monkey furious. The more people were visiting the monkey, the more monkeys eating bananas the monkey inside the cage was seeing.

The story of the monkey ends here.

But your story keeps on going.

For a second, think that you are the monkey inside the cage and try to understand why you’re so angry whenever someone is sticking their tongue out at you.

Fun Fact: 0 % Better Immunity

Did you know that optimists have a 13% stronger immune response?

Those who are interacting with you don’t want to harm you

Every day, we have moments when we react unpleasant (with lower or higher intensity) to something someone said.

If someone is making a bad joke, you give them a look and think they’re dumb. If someone promises they help you but then they ignore you, you get mad and the feeling of disappointment becomes your main feeling that day. If someone hits your car, you start swearing and maybe even hit that person.

But why?

What does your mood have to depend on what’s happening to you?

More than that, why does your mood have to depend on what you believe others are doing?

Each of the before examples are assumptions and nothing more.

If someone makes a bad joke, you assume that the joke is bad. And you do that because the way the joke was told wasn’t according to your expectations.

If someone doesn’t keep their promise, you assume that the person is a jerk. And you do that because it’s hard to admit that you don’t really know what happened in the other person’s life.

If someone hits your car, you assume that the driver is dumb and get angry. And you do it because you don’t know why the driver didn’t pay attention.

But more than that, even if the joke was bad, the promise wasn’t kept, and someone hit your car… well, so what?

If the joke was bad, move on. If someone didn’t keep their promise, look for other people to spend your time with. If someone hit your car, fix it.

Simply letting things around you have control over you won’t help you. Actually, you’ll get stuck in some negative emotions and feelings that eventually you’ll have a negative life.

Do you find yourself in the story of the monkey? Do you react emotionally to the things you see, without understanding what’s really happening?

Imagine how would it be that every time you see someone driving like an idiot, you get so mad that you are stressed all the time. Or imagine how would it be that every time you see someone driving like an idiot, to smile and say that maybe it’s time to change the city because the current one is becoming too crowded.

If you are like the main character in the story of the monkey and react to everything that comes at you, you’ll live your life based on things that you can’t control.

Nobody should have that privilege

Nobody should have that privilege

Nobody you know (even more, those you don’t know) should have the privilege to influence your mood.

Your happiness should depend on nobody. Absolutely nobody.

Usually, I’m a really calm person, but I have my moments of impulsivity, when I get too angry over things that are too small. So I analyze my life constantly and try to spot the things that are influencing my mood and over which I have zero control.

I don’t have problems with cars or traffic, even though I don’t like crowded places.

Starting with 2022, I decided to give up any form of gifts. I ended up in a place where I was exchanging gifts chaotically with people around me and I was giving or receiving gifts for no reason. And while it can be nice to get gifts, not every gift you get is a nice one. The same idea applies to the gifts that you give – the other person may not like the gift you’re giving.

Therefore, I decided to give up gifts almost entirely and I stopped the way gifts were influencing my mood.

Recently, I made an exception and it happened only after someone gave me three valuable recommendations, so I decided to buy a box of candies and offer it as a gift. But that’s something small compared to the gifts I was offering before.

Going back, I believe that my state of mind shouldn’t be influenced by anyone. I believe that I should be entirely capable of choosing when I want to enjoy something or be sad about something.

Think about this and try to understand the power others have over you. Understand that you are letting people you don’t know influence how you’re feeling. Is this what you want?

With love and optimism,
David

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