Leadership

A monkey with a gun

Monkeys can be pretty entertaining. Some are awfully cute. It’s easy to get fascinated by their behavior which–especially with chimpanzees–is often quite similar to human’s. We can get seduced by some of their charming qualities.

At the same time, monkeys are inherently aggressive and can be prone to attack when put on the defensive. It’s also common for them to fling their feces all over the place for no apparent reason. And perhaps, like me, at some point you’ve been at the zoo with your young children and found yourself having to stumble through an explanation of why “that monkey is touching himself.” Let’s just say when it comes to sexual matters, monkeys can be rather impulsive.

Once we accept that a monkey is a monkey just doing monkey things, why would we be the least bit shocked when they act like a monkey? In fact, time spent hoping or expecting them to start behaving like a human, a zebra, a bird, or anything other than a monkey, is simply time wasted. Our best intentions, our righteous indignation, our efforts to change them only results in our being frustrated and, perhaps, a pissed off ape.

If we really understand how monkeys are we know what is safe to let them do and what would be reckless and dangerous. So it would seem rather obvious you’d never give one a gun because something like this could very well happen.

If you have the misfortune to find yourself confronted with an AK 47 wielding chimp you have a few choices. You can run like hell. You can try to stop him. Or you can just hope it all works out.

Of course, the very best thing we can do is never let a monkey get anywhere close to a gun in the first place. Another good thing to do is to never lose sight of a good metaphor.

 

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