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MONKEY TRAP - 5 things you need to let go of to achieve your full potential

“It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom.” ― Albert Einstein

African native tribes who want to catch a monkey, dig a hole into tree or rock that is quite big enough for a monkey hand, but small enough to catch a filled monkey fist. Then they put peanuts inside it. Once monkey grabs those peanuts, it cannot get its hand out of the hole. It panics, holding on to the very thing that keeps it trapped called Monkey Trap.

Often, we all are the same monkey.

Monkey Trap
Monkey Trap

We attach to the people, places, and habits that keep us trapped. We are unaware of the freedom we gain while letting go of the proverbial "peanuts" in order to pursue better things.

You have virtually limitless potential, but in order to tap into it, you must let go of things that aren't beneficial to you. Unfortunately, because you've had them for so long, it's difficult to see these things.

Release yourself from these traps if you wish to reach your maximum potential.


1. The Need for Acceptance

Our society, in many ways, resembles its ancient counterpart from thousands of years ago.

Yes, we now have smartphones, sports cars, air-conditioned houses, and deodorant to spare others from the odors of sweaty summers, social structures such as friends, family, and the need to answer to a boss still persist.

Back in the Caveman era, conformity within the tribe was essential. Failure to comply often resulted in being clubbed out, a punishment almost equivalent to a death sentence.

Even today, this need to fit in persists. We fear rejection, the raising of eyebrows, and negative attention resulting from our choice of attire. This fear compels us to conform.

But if you constantly strive to please others, you will eventually lose yourself.

You'll stay in a poisonous relationship because you're terrified of what others will think if you go to treatment. You won't start your business since you'll have to make budget cuts and take a temporary break from hanging out with the fellas. Instead of expressing your truth, you keep your mouth shut and compromise yourself.

Listen closely – you no longer need to conform.

Disagreeing with someone will not destroy your life. Conflict is natural. It is perfectly normal not to align with everyone around you.

The problem we don't fix become our limits.
The problem we don't fix become our limits.

You possess so much potential within, but you can only use it only when have courage to disagree with others.

Your life does not belong to them.

2. The Pursuit of an Effortless Life

To live an easy life, you must choose the path of difficulty.

Financial freedom, quality time with your family, and physical fitness and well-being necessitate sacrifices. You will need to invest extra hours, rise early, and exert yourself at the gym. That’s how life works.

Compare that to what most people do, and you'll understand why they struggle.

They buy latest iPhone, indulge in late-night drinking sessions, and devour donuts like like a vacuum cleaner.

I am not suggesting that you should never partake in such activities. I, too, enjoy a slice of cake each week. In three months' time, I plan to purchase a new iPhone. However, there is a critical distinction to be made.

I indulge in these pleasures only after I have worked for them.

I have dedicated the past three years to understanding and building a business and the previous one year to focus on my physical strength. I have deliberately embraced challenges, forgoing immediate gratification, with the understanding that they will lead to long-term ease.

"Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life," - Jerzy Gregorek.

Easy Choice vs Hard Choice
Easy Choice vs Hard Choice

You get used to it once you've found a comfortable position. You don't want to continually put in the hard

work. You desire to savor the results of your efforts.

I understand this sentiment.

However, such a mindset keeps you trapped. Progressing and reaching your full potential necessitates renewed sacrifice, whether it be in the workplace, within your relationships, or even at the dinner table. If you do not replenish the engine, do not anticipate moving forward.

Life gets difficult if you become overly comfortable and demand constant ease.

3. The Anchors and Burdens that Weigh You Down

Your ascent is limited by the length of your chains.

When NASA launches a rocket into space, temporary support rockets and tanks called boosters are utilized. These boosters are shed once they are depleted. Failure to discard them would prevent the rocket from achieving its desired speed and altitude. Similarly, carrying dead weight hampers your progress.

Such burdens can manifest in various forms. For years, I possessed a wardrobe overflowing with clothes I never wore, making it arduous to find my favorite shirt amidst the clutter. I also sustained friendships and relationships that dragged me down, akin to a leaky submarine sinking with its crew. Only upon releasing them did I experience liberation and soar to greater heights.

"Show me your friends, and I will show you your future," - Dan Pena.

Choose your friends wisely.
Choose your friends wisely.

It is unnecessary to sever ties with everyone who fails to align with your chosen path. Instead, you can inspire others to embark on a similar journey.

Nevertheless, if you aspire to reach your full potential, it is imperative to honestly assess your life and the individuals within it. Who hinders your progress, and who supports and propels you forward? Detach from the former and wholeheartedly embrace the latter.

4. Your Ego: The Greatest Obstacle You Will Face

You, are your worst enemy.

The one factor that has consistently hindered and undermined me is my ego. Overconfidence in my business resulted in its downfall. Believing I had handled every aspect flawlessly led to the disintegration of my relationships. Refusing to acknowledge my mistakes perpetuated their repetition.

Whatever "success" means to you, the single biggest thing stopping you from achieving it is your ego.

Ego vs Confidence
Ego vs Confidence

The difficulty is that it is extremely intelligent. It will obscure your judgment and distort your thoughts. It's all built on fear.

• Fear of rejection prevents you from trying.

• Fear of being injured prevents you from opening up.

• Fear of being wrong prevents you from noticing flaws.

If you want to realize your greatest potential, you must let go of your ego, as well as your anxieties.

• Be okay with being wrong. It's alright. We are humans. Everyone makes errors. Being able to learn from them is crucial.

• Less talk and more action. Yes, bragging about your successes or grandiose intentions makes you feel good. However, if you want to grow, that is a waste of breath. Instead, start working.

• Quit telling yourself stories. "I'm short, so they don't like me," "I am special and I deserve XYZ." Examine the facts and act logically.

• Prioritize problem-solving over being correct. You'll need to forgive and let things go from time to time. If it fixes the problem, it's a minor price to pay.

• Retain a beginner's mindset. Epictetus once stated that "No man can learn what he thinks he already knows." No matter how far you've come, there's always more to explore.

• Put your vision above yourself. Your legacy will endure even after you are gone.

Your ego brought you to where you are; letting it go will help you progress.

5. Beliefs and Habits that No Longer Serve You

Building positive habits is undeniably beneficial. However, an inherent challenge arises.

These habits can only take you to a certain level. While engaging in activities such as exercising three times a week, journaling on weekends, and reading ten pages a day is commendable, transcending those limits requires adopting different behaviors.

Perhaps your relationship necessitates additional attention. Maybe your children require more quality time. Climbing the corporate ladder might demand acquiring new skills.

Since our current actions have already improved our lives, it can be difficult to realize this.

You must be able to tell when a behavior no longer helps you, and this goes beyond routines.

Your beliefs also fall into this category.

Beliefs are habitual thoughts such as :

• "I must work more to earn more,"

• "My children are my top priority," or

• "Weightlifting is the ideal form of exercise."

Although these beliefs may have held true in the past, it is worth reassessing their validity in your current circumstances.

What if increasing your income does not require more work but finding better-paying opportunities? What if your children have grown, and you need to discover a new purpose? What if heavy lifting at the gym causes joint discomfort?

Examine the beliefs you hold as true. Challenge your thoughts. Pose difficult questions.

Let go and Rise
Let go and Rise

If you aspire to reach greater heights, you must occasionally relinquish what has brought you this far.

CONCLUSION: How to Realize Your Full Potential as an Individual

Letting go is often more challenging than holding on.

We confine ourselves because we have grown accustomed to it. Like a monkey clutching a handful of peanuts, we remain oblivious to the abundance of fruits and freedom awaiting us. All that is required is releasing what keeps us stagnant.

• The compulsion to fit in and seek approval. Do not fear rejection if pursuing what brings you joy.

• The desire for an effortless life. Opt for the path of challenge and adversity, for it eventually leads to ease.

• Anchors and burdens. Objects and people can either impede or propel your progress—choose wisely.

• Your ego. No enemy rivals the one residing in your own mind.

• Outdated habits and beliefs. Just because something brought you to your present state does not guarantee it will carry you further.

Stop limiting your potential; you are far more capable than you realize.

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