Note from Niall: Below is a guest post by Trevor Pirtle of Nakefy Your Mind. And above is a video of me and Trevor chatting about the post, and other random things that occur to us. If you can’t see said video, clickedy here.
Oftentimes people just accept the manners, the rules, the tendencies, the social norms of their society or work. We tend to think that because everyone else is doing it must be the right way to do it, right? Not necessarily.
There was an experiment done with five monkeys locked in a cage with a ladder that led to a banana.
Every time one of the monkeys would climb the ladder, a scientist would spray ALL the monkeys with ice-cold water. When a different monkey tried the same thing, they got the same results, everyone got drenched in ice-cold water. The monkeys decided that banana wasn’t worth it, if another monkey tried for the banana, the others would beat him up before he could get up the ladder to insure they would not get sprayed with the water.
After the all monkeys stopped going for the banana, a new monkey was replaced and the scientist would no longer spray the monkeys no matter what happened. Of course, when this new monkey saw the banana he would make his way toward the ladder only to get beat up by the fellow monkeys. The newbie quickly understood that ladder was not to be climbed.
When a second monkey replaced one of the originals, he too would start to make his way toward the banana. Just like before, all of the monkeys would beat up the monkey going toward the banana. What’s interesting is that the monkey who was never sprayed with the water would beat up the new monkey with just as much enthusiasm as the others.
This same thing would happen even when all of the monkeys in the cage had been replaced, and none of them had ever been sprayed with cold water. If one of the monkeys asked, “Why do you beat me up when I try to get the banana?” The others would respond, “I don’t know, that’s just the way we do things around here.”
Don’t just be another monkey, question everything. Find out the real reason and benefit for everything that you do, especially if you work for a big company.
Here are some things you may have never questioned before
- Why do you wear underwear? Is it because it’s so amazingly comfortable?
- Do you really need to use soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, or cologne/perfume? Do you think it’s natural to have bad B.O. just because everyone else does? Maybe it’s what you’re putting into your body?
- Why do you think you need running shoes with lots of cushion? Did humans evolve needing shoes to run? Have you ever tried running barefoot?
- Why does the next day start in the middle of the night? Wouldn’t it make more sense of the next day started at like 5 in the morning?
- Why do you work a job you don’t enjoy? or for a boss you don’t like? or with coworkers who don’t inspire you? Is there a better option?
- What’s the real reason you drink coffee or alcohol, or smoke cigarettes or cannabis? Is there a way to accomplish that same goal without purchasing and doing drugs?
- Are you questioning everything you do at work to understand the whole process and see if it’s the most efficient way?
- Is school really the best way to learn how to make money and be happy?
One of the most valuable things to question is so important it needs its own section. Here’s why it’s important to…
Question What You’re Learning
One of the most important factors in learning is that we need to know the reason for learning something. This is why it’s important to always question what you’re reading. What is my purpose for reading this? What am I trying to learn from this?
For example, the reason you may be reading this article is because you want to learn how to think for yourself and to be more creative and efficient.
When you have a clear purpose of WHY you’re reading an article, your subconscious mind knows what to gather and store in your memory. If you don’t tell your subconscious mind what’s important, how do you expect it to remember what you want?
It’s good practice to consciously think of your purpose of reading an article before you start reading it. As you go along you may find, with the new information presented in the article, that you have new reasons for reading. If so, pause and restate what you want to learnt from the article before continuing on. This will do wonders for your ability to retain the information YOU want to retain.
Another important part of the learning process is that we are most interested in subjects that have immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives. That would involve asking questions such as how is this going to help me now? And how can I apply this to my work/life to get results now?
Whenever you’re doing something, whether it’s reading a blog post, watching the news, accepting an invitation to socialize… ask yourself, what is my purpose for doing this?
Oftentimes I’ll find myself reading an article and after a little while I’ll ask myself, what is the point of reading this? The reason I ask is not because I’m not entertained or not enjoying what I’m reading, it’s that I’m not really learning anything of value that I can apply to my life right now. And because of this lack of immediate application it feels like a waste of time.
Sometimes when I’m reading I think, “Oh this is some good information, but it’s not going to help me now.” If so, I’ll make a note to read or watch it sometime in the future. Some things that I read I think, “This is not going to help me ever,” and cast it aside, never to be returned to again. I feel it’s safe to say that most things you’ll encounter fall under the latter. That is, unless you’ve done a very good job at filtering out unnecessary noise.
If you can’t apply what you’re reading to your life right now it’s not worth your time. But of course if you’re reading fiction for enjoyment, this does not apply.
To wrap this up
Don’t just be a monkey, question everything, your thoughts, your desires, how you spend your time, the “right” way to do things, even question the idea of questioning everything. 😉
How has questioning, instead of blindly accepting, changed your life? What do you now do differently because you questioned the status quo?
Hi! I’m Trevor Pirtle, author of the blog, Nakefy Your Mind. The theme of the blog is deconditioning your mind to all of the beliefs and ideas that society has given you, and learning to find out the truth for yourself. Take, for example, the article Why Do You Eat Cheese?