Some very persistent trappers in the wilds of Africa wanted to catch monkeys. Because the critters are fast and very difficult to capture, they improvised a way to lure the monkeys down to their level by appealing to their natural curiosity and greed.
As the story goes, the trappers put a sparkling bauble in a narrow-necked bottle that is anchored to the ground. Attracted by the bauble, the monkey skitters over, reaches into the bottle, grabs the trinket and tries to pull it out. But to hold the bauble, the monkey must make a fist. And when he makes a fist, his hand won’t fit through the neck of the bottle.
His dilemma? To remove his hand, he must let go of the bauble. If he lets go of the bauble, he has his freedom but he looses the treasure. So, unwilling to let go, the monkey remains where he is until the hunters return.
Then, the monkey becomes frantic but he will still not turn loose of the bauble. His unwillingness to give up one thing to get something else holds him captive. He is then netted by the hunters, who cart him off to some zoo in a foreign land where he remains a permanent prisoner.
The moral of the story: Change is hard because we overestimate the value of what we have and underestimate the value of what we may gain by giving it up.
We become trapped by old habits, outdated ideas, greed or fear of the unknown. By refusing to let go, we remain captives of self-doubt — hunted and haunted by the possibilities of change.
What are you unwilling to release?