Friday, October 06, 2006

Throwing Cold Water?

What could a group of monkeys have to do with your town? And, cold water? I hope you read this blog and see if it applies to you.

In a famous experiment, five monkeys were placed in a room with a bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling. Beneath the bananas was a ladder. It didn’t take one of the monkeys long to figure out how to climb the ladder to get a banana. However, every time a second monkey tried to go up the ladder, all of the others were hosed down with cold water.

Eventually, whenever a monkey made a move for the ladder, the other four monkeys would physically prevent him from reaching his prize. Eventually none of the monkeys ever made a move for the bananas.

One by one the original monkeys were removed from the room and a new monkey was introduced. Each time that the new monkey in the room made a move for the ladder and bananas, the other monkeys would beat him up. After several beatings each monkey decided not to go near the ladder.

Eventually all of the five original monkeys were replaced by new monkeys. None of these new monkeys were ever sprayed with water, but none of the five new monkeys would go near the ladder or bananas.

Does this lesson apply to your town? Do you “beat up” anyone with a new idea that could assist your community to reach a higher level, until eventually no one is willing to try anything new because they know how they will be treated?

Isn’t it time to stop throwing cold water on any new idea? What have you got to lose?


Anonymous said...

Famous experiment..

Was this experiment ever actually performed? Do you have a source for this?

It's not that I don't believe it, but I wouldn't mind finding more detail on the origin.

Could it be that the more a story is told (whether it is true or not), the more believed it is? Until no-one questions it?

mmoedt at vansco dot ca

BoomtownUSA said...

I read of this experiment in a number of different places and cannot verify if the experiment actually ever took place.

However, whether it did or not, I am convinced that the analogy is appropriate. Too often I've seen people who have had cold water thrown on them repeatedly (eg. You are too fat, dumb, short, tall, etc.) and as a result came to believe that which was repeated to them.

The same thing happens in towns. It is those that are willing to look that themselves with a fresh perspective, that are the towns that are forging new ground and creating new opportunities for their citizens.