The Focus Project: Letting Go Before Going Nuts

Monkey-hunters use a simple box with a small opening big enough for the monkey to slide its hand inside and grab the nuts. The monkey smells the nuts, ranging from peanuts to Brazilian nuts, then reaches in and grabs them. As he does this, the monkey’s hand becomes a fist. When the monkey tries to get its hand out with the nuts in its fist, the opening, wide enough for the hand to slide in and out, is much too small for the monkey’s entire fist to exit.

Now the monkey has a choice: either let go of the nuts and be free forever or hang on to the nuts and get caught. Guess what the monkey picks every time? You guessed it. He hangs onto the nuts and gets caught!

It’s literally nuts in this instance not to let go.

What Are Your Nuts?

I had to ask myself, what was I holding on to so tightly? Where could I let go to help improve sales? The biggest nut I was holding on to was our branding presence online. Specifically, what we were posting on social media. A designer at heart, anything that wasn’t beautiful drove me nuts (pun intended). To give you a sense of how nutty I was, let’s look at my daughter’s soccer team.

When coaching my daughter’s first-grade soccer team—the Cotton Candy Cookie Rainbow Warriors—if a girl left her water bottle on the practice field—a daily occurrence—I would actually prop the water bottle in a nice setting and take a picture with a good aperture to blur out the background before sending a notice to the parents for anyone missing a water bottle…Crazy, I know! I was taking the time to scout, shoot, and send out a professional-level photograph of a lost Dora the Explorer water bottle. This is how obsessed I am with design.

I realized that if I wanted to go fast on social media, I should be doing it myself. But, if I wanted to go far, we needed to do it as a team. Trusting the team with our design and social media activities allowed me to spend more time deepening relationships with partners and prospects.

While it isn’t easy retraining my monkey brain, I was beginning to learn the benefit of letting go of the nuts.

Ask yourself, “What’s the one thing that I must do well?”



For more content like this, check out The Focus Project.

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About the Author: Erik Qualman

Often called a Digital Dale Carnegie and The Tony Robbins of Tech, Erik Qualman is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker that has spoken in 49 countries.

His Socialnomics work has been featured on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling. Qualman is a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT's edX labs.

His latest book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is a Pulitzer Prize nominated work.
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