Ask “Why?”

Five monkeys were locked in a cage after which a banana was hung from the ceiling with a ladder placed right underneath it. Immediately one of monkeys raced towards the ladder, intending to climb it and grab the banana. As soon as he touched the ladder, all of the monkeys were sprayed with cold water.

After a while, another monkey made an attempt with the same result – all the monkeys were sprayed with cold water; likewise for the third and the fourth climber. Pretty soon, they all learnt their lesson – they were not going to climb the ladder again, banana or no banana.

Then one by one, the monkeys were replaced with a new one. Every time a new monkey was put in the cage it would attempt to do the obvious – that is, get the banana. However, as soon as it attempted to climb the ladder, it was attacked by all of the other monkeys. Every time a monkey would be replaced, the events would repeat themselves – new monkey runs towards the ladder, other monkeys beat him up, new monkey does not attempt to climb again – with one notable difference: that the first new monkey who had never received the cold treatment himself would, with equal vigor and enthusiasm, join in the beating of the new one. Eventually, all the monkeys had been replaced and none of the ones in the cage had any experience or knowledge of the cold water treatment.

Then a new monkey was introduced into the cage. It ran towards the ladder, only to get beaten up by the others. Yet, this monkey turned around and asked, “Why do you beat me up when I try to get the banana?” The other four monkeys stopped, looked at each other slightly puzzled and finally, shrugged their shoulders, “don’t know, but that’s the way we do things around here”.

Message: Do question the status quo and never stop yourself from asking ‘why’ or suggesting a better way to do things.