Taming Monkey Number 11 – The Results

It’s the last day of November and I decided to write a short report about my eleventh monkey. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read the introductory post. In short, at the beginning of 2011, I decided to ditch my yearly resolutions and replace them with 12 monthly challenges, in which I will “tame an inner monkey”. In other words, try to solve some unfinished business or to cope with some unfulfilled promise I made to myself or to others. If you want to know more about my concept of inner monkey, go read this post.

Relationships. Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Shoot Them

This is precisely how I felt about relationships for a long time. It may feel really counterintuitive, given the fact that not only I run a quite popular blog, but I’m also a very visible person, both business-wise, and social-wise. Like I used to say in my early twenties, “the legend is bigger than me”. At that time I started to notice that there was always somebody who seemed to know me from somewhere. I was moderately popular as a radio anchor, knew a lot of people myself, been very visible (and I still am) as business man, and so on.

Knowing a lot of people is one thing, but having and managing healthy relationships is another one. The last one being always very difficult to me. Why? To make a long story short: I like to be alone. I know it took me thirty something years to realize that, but I made peace with it. I’m a lonely beast and I very much enjoy it this way. I find it tedious to relate to people for longer periods of time. While at the same time, to some extent, I do realize that it’s important for me to maintain relationships for longer periods of time. It’s still fuzzy, as I just can’t put my finger on it, can’t say why that is, I just feel that, for some obscure reason, having and keeping longer relationships may be beneficial. Somehow. A bit of this is explained in the last paragraph of this post, but hold on, don’t jump on it yet.

In short, here’s what I accomplished and what I learned while taming my eleventh monkey.

Relationships On The Move

On one side, I am really happy to have myself involved in a new circle of friendships. Many of these new friendships are in the same social circle as I am: either separated or divorced, and with kids. It was kind of a big step for me to reach out to this kind of people. One of the challenges was to find common pastimes. As a man, on the rare occasions I was going out, it was either running, going to the movies, some business event or the regular Saturday night drinks with the guys. So, I had to search, find and implement a few new pastimes.

One of them is the Saturday pancakes, as I like to call it. The neat thing about keep doing pancakes is that, in time, you become really good at making pancakes. So, I started a series of weekend pancake parties, which of course involved kids and their parents. Huge success. Another pastime was to go to the kids theater. That is on Sundays. Kids are going to see a different play each and every Sunday, while parents are catching their breath with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Of course, there are variations, sometime we go to a specific event or to a kids movie, or whatever.

On another side, I was getting rid of a different type of relationships, which I used to call “empty nutshells”. These are relationships with no core. It may have been that at the time of inception they were necessary, but now the core is consumed. So, I was slowly letting slide into the past a few empty nutshells. It is important to say that I let them slowly. It wasn’t something forced or imposed.

And yet another thing I’ve been massively doing during November: attending to business events. I’ve been called to at least 3, I guess, and at one of them I even wore a suit. I’m serious. I wore a suit and it’s been in the papers and all :). At these events I did my best to mingle, interact and start new contacts. I remember I spent like 15 minutes waiting to talk to Doug Richard, which is something really unusual for me. Again, all this mingle and interacting was done without forcing anything. It was actually fun.

The last, and perhaps most important thing I did during November was to start a new business partnership. It’s about the newly revamped WPSumo, in which I am, for the first time, partner with an angel investor. It is by far the most drastic change I did in my business approaches, and one that is still undergoing a lot of changes. But it’s also something that I felt compelled to. Technically, the business partnership started in October, but I counted it for November.

A Surprising Side Effect

Well, I don’t know if it was because I announced this monkey on the blog, or because the Law Of Attraction really works, but something very interesting happened during this month. People started to call me. Like sending me emails, messages on Facebook or Google. Out of nothing, they wrote to me proposing to meet, to start projects, to get counseling (one of them was breaking up with her boyfriend and needed some astrological advice). It was a huge surprise. People are actually reaching out and trying to get in contact with me. I honestly didn’t expect that. But again, it’s fun. 🙂

What I Learned From This Monkey

We’re cells. We’re interconnected in a bigger picture. Like we’re really interconnected, it’s not just a word or an empty concept. We function differently when we’re in autonomous mode versus when we’re in interconnection mode. There is a bigger and different flow of energy going on when we’re in interconnection mode. I’m not talking about the quality of it, because energy may be either creative or destructive, I’m just witnessing the fact that human interaction is creating much more energy. Which is bigger than the algebraicl sum of 1 + 1. When in bad relationships, this energy is destructive, of course.

On the other side, it’s not at all impossible to live an isolated life. I’m a living proof of that, by the way.

But an isolated life will eventually lead to some form of energy depletion. Like a cell which is claiming independence from the main body. It may get it at some point, no doubt about it. But it may get it in a very brutal way, like a nail which is being cut. You got your independence, but you’re also expendable.

If you’re not providing to the body somehow, you eventually become unnecessary.

But the good news is that, as humans, we may still choose the way in which we provide back. We’re not so specialized, like a liver cell or heart tissue cell, doing only one thing. We can change our ways as we see fit.

The secret is to find that specific place where your skills, approaches and all the other unspoken gifts you have to give to the world are needed.

And then start giving. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Taming Monkey Number 11 – The Results”

  1. Hi Dragos…I have been out of the blogging loop for a while so it was lovely to read this post this morning. Like you, I’m definitely a lone wolf, although from the outside it doesn’t really look like that I’m often told. I’m really sociable when out and about and love to chat with people for a while…but I seem to have always oprated as a single unit even when I was married. It’s the real me and not at all forced. I genuinely am really happy and probably more comfortable in my own company with my animals, kids and siblings. I think some of us are just born that way. Having said that, I learnt so much from my recent training to be a life and business coach, about interconnectedness and how we are all part of one great ‘whole’. And I’m beginning to understand this concept more and more. You are right about energy depletion from too much solitude and isolation…I think it’s because when we give ‘of ourselves’ we grow exponentially. Thanks for a great post Dragos.

  2. Nice article. I was stumbling around looking for some articles on relationships… as I’m working on one myself wondering where I could possibly guest post it. I came across your site.

    Actually, I think I’ve been here before via a comment you made somewhere in regards to video marketing. As I watched your Brilliantly Better video and realized I’d seen it before. Good job.

    So about relationships, I can totally relate to a lot of what you’ve expressed. Being a loner for many years. Often thought of myself as an introvert. But then going through a transitional period in my life where I really got self-aware, and begin the process of emotional connectedness with self. And then realized being shy was a form of self-centeredness.

    That putting myself “out there” made it possible to get feedback from people and the universe and allowed me to grow. More importantly, I found my wife and have an amazing life today. I still revert back into my shell from time to time.

    One of the first things my life coach had me do a few years ago when starting this whole process and a new job was go around and introduce myself to 3 new people in my office each day. I thought he was crazy, I was like “that’s not like me, I’m shy!”

    His response, “it’s not about you Jared!”

    By putting myself out there i get the opportunity to be of service to others.

    However, much like you mentioned (nutshells) the article I was actually working on is titled, “Avoiding Emotional Black Holes, Quit hanging out with those people!” – in that regardless of how good you consider a friend, at some point you have to realize whether our not it’s a mutually healthy relationship. This goes for family too I think.

    OK, now I’m thinking about how long it’s been since I had pancakes. Great idea by the way, setting up a weekly event.

    Funny you picked monkeys, I used to be a primate keeper and one of the other articles I have titled and sitting in my “to do” folder for articles is, “What I learned About Happiness from a Troup of Spider Monkeys.”

    Nice suit by the way. At least I like the dark black.


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