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I am fortunate enough to work with a great South African man who tells me lots of stories. Not all of them seem to have a point, but I like to listen anyway as he is always quite enthusiastic about them.

One story that I particularly liked was how to catch a baboon.

The story goes that in order to catch a baboon you must hollow out a small hole in the ground and then place melon seeds within it. The baboon’s hand fits into the hole when he reaches in, but the clenched fist holding the seeds can’t fit back out. If the baboon had the sense he could drop the seed and free his hand, but he won’t.

The baboon is trapped. However not by anything physical, he is trapped by an idea that in the past has served him well – “when you’ve got food, hold on tight!” – which has turned fatal.

Baboons aren’t the only ones that are trapped by ideas, humans are too. We are so rigidly attached to certain notions that we can’t let go when they turn against us. The difficulty lies not in new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.

This effect seeps into every corner of existence. Whether that be in the political landscape with our reliance on fossil fuels in the face of climate change, or more personal in someone who works so hard they burnout, unaware that the very thing that brought their success leads to their demise.

So keep your mind and senses open and have a keenness in your awareness. Don’t be caught by what may have worked before. Approach each task with a beginners mind and explore the paths untraveled. Don’t be trapped like the baboon, be adaptable, adventurous and free.

Let go of the ideas that hold you back.