THE SMART DUCK AND THE DUMB MONKEY
There is a story of a duck that went into a shop and asked, “Do you have grapes?”
The shopkeeper gently said, “No.”
The next day the duck came again and asked, “Do you have grapes?”
The shopkeeper, this time with louder voice, responded, “No.”
The third day the duck showed up and asked, “Do you have grapes?”
The shopkeeper shouted, “No! And if you come along again asking for grapes, I will nail your webbed feet to the door and hang you upside down!”
The following day, the duck, shaken by the threat of crucifixion, asked, “Do you have nails?”
The shopkeeper replied, “No.”
The duck continued, “Do you have grapes?”
If you had a kid come along like the duck, would you think him smart and see how you could help him become even smarter, or would you consider him a smart aleck who had to be disciplined and put in his place?
Your reaction will tell whether you are the innovative, inventive, and creative kind or just the opposite – the staid and proud kind who will not accept anyone cleverer than you.
If we do not have the capacity to be the smart duck, we must at least be careful that we are not the dumb monkey.
There was this experiment with five monkeys in a cage with a hanging banana. Whenever any of the monkeys tried to get the banana, all five monkeys were doused with cold water. Soon enough, any monkey who tried to get the banana would get beaten up by the others, as no one was enjoying the cold showers!
One of the monkeys was taken out and replaced with a new monkey. This monkey wondered what was wrong with the other four monkeys, who were all placidly leaving the banana alone. So he reached out for the banana, only to be promptly set upon by the other monkeys. The new monkey did not know why he had got the beating, but learnt fast there was something prohibitive about the banana. No one knew the cold water had been turned off.
Then another of the original monkeys was taken out and replaced with a new monkey who again wondered what was wrong with the other monkeys to beep ignoring the banana. The second new monkey went for the banana, only to be mercilessly beaten up by the first new monkey.
One by one the original monkeys were replaced with new monkeys. Finally there were five new monkeys, none of whom had experienced the cold showers. All they knew was that the banana was an invitation to be beaten up. Nothing could be changed, nothing could be improved. If only the banana-which-caused-a-beating could be replaced by an ordinary banana?! But no one dared to go for the banana, so there could be no solution.
So this is my blog for the week… do you choose to be a smart duck or a dumb monkey?