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It's a jungle out there.

Mama said life wasn't easy. Boy, was she right. It's hard enough trying to make an honest buck, keep a roof over my head, feed myself, stay healthy, stay safe and have a little fun whenever possible.

It's even harder keeping people's hands out of my pocket, catching blood-sucking leeches on my legs, throwing monkeys off my shoulders (there for a free ride) and dodging knives and daggers aimed at my back.

Damn, when they said it was a jungle out there, I didn't know they meant it literally!

So let's be realistic for a second. All those smiles and laughs may be genuine, but I know as well as any other Joe that some aren't.

It's basic primate instinct (yes primate, not primal) to feel these animalistic emotions: jealousy, envy, hate, greed, opportunism, territoriality.

I'm not an angel, I get these feelings as well; which is why I know they are there.

The problem isn't their existence or their eruption from time to time, the problem is how some people manage these hormonal bursts.

Some folks are cool and secure and can handle these lesser urges with no problem (gorillas), but others can't and act upon these evil impulses every time they arise (chimpanzees).

Another primate trait we have inherited is laziness.

We all have a certain inherent degree of laziness and it corresponds directly to how well we can quell these primal urges.

For example, a lazy chimp is the most dangerous threat because he will find any way to ride you to the top.

The safest example would be an industrious gorilla, because he works hard and wants nothing from anybody.

Every other kind of dangerous monkey lies somewhere in between a lazy chimp and a hard-working gorilla.

Now, whether in the business arena or the workspace, all types of monkeys exist and some avoid trouble and others go looking for it.

Since we have a simple way to classify them, I would like to elaborate a little more on how to identify these shoulder climbing primates.

Here are a few indicators you could look for:

A cheerleader with no meaningful input, who is around for the good times but nowhere to be found in the tough/bad times.

A poser who insists on taking credit for things he barely did.

An idiot who puts you in stupid situations because of things he did or said.

A cheap talker whose word means nothing to them.

A big mouth who talks bad about other people.

A hustler who over-promises, but under delivers.

A liar or thief (once a liar/thief, always a liar/thief).

A crook who wants only easy, fast money.

These are simple lazy traits that can be an indicator of deeper opportunistic tendencies.

If you have someone who wants to work "with you", or be part of your team, or invest in you, or be part of your success in any other way, I say beware. This person needs to be scrutinised more.

Acting on our instincts can have dangerous repercussions because sometimes a lazy chimp angers a hard-working gorilla and, subsequently, gets crushed.

I suggest stay out of trouble, depend on yourself, put on your boots and get your machete out - because it's a damn jungle out there.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Oct 17, 2014
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