The story is told of a man lost in the jungle, tired and searching for water. He comes across a group of monkeys and comes up with a plan to capture one. He places some nuts in a hole and one inquisitive monkey decides to investigate. The hole is just large enough for the monkey’s hand to go in without a hitch but as he grabs the nuts and pulls, he’s stuck.
The smart thing to do would be to release the nuts and get his hand out but he continues to struggle to loose himself. The man quickly captures him and ties a rope around his neck and further feeds him with salted nuts so the monkey gets thirsty. He then releases him and follows him to a water hole where he can quench his thirst.
I’ve done the monkey thing too many times to count. I want something and so I hold on and pursue it, even when it is putting my life at risk.
But how do you know when to hold on and when to let go?
I don’t have a formula for this. I wish I did. I want to learn to let go a lot sooner and before it gets too crazy. Right now my decision on how long to hang on and when to let loose is simply this.
Decide up front how far I’m willing to go. How much time can I invest? How much money can I afford to invest or lose? What am I willing to sacrifice and what won’t I sacrifice to accomplish this?
Once I’m settled with this then I go for it.
Do I hesitate or doubt my decision? Sometimes, but I’ve found when I stick to my resolve then in the end win or lose I’m ok. I create some boundaries and goals and stick with them.
I may decide on hindsight that I could have done more or tried a different method but I can be at peace with the results.
This approach is way different from a younger me who was just reckless and would jump in headfirst without counting the cost. Now I will count the cost and even when the math doesn’t add up I can still choose to take the chance.
Having children has not made me less of a risk taker but rather I spend a little more time evaluating how much I want to risk and when to walk away.
The trick is to know when you’ve used up all you have and done as much as you could without destroying your reputation, your family, and you can reasonably live to fight another day.
Often we give so much that there is nothing left to start over with.
Always leave enough to fight another day.