“Not My Circus, Not My Monkey”

In Polish the phrase reads “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy” and means “not my problem.”

It serves as a warning that we shouldn’t take on the world’s problems.

But this isn’t about monkeys. It’s about brick walls.

Far more dangerous to your success than other people’s problems, obstacles appear before all your big goals. And the closer you get, the taller, meaner, and scarier they appear. After seeing the brick wall for the first time, you may be tempted to say, “It isn’t meant to be.”

Randy Pausch has another viewpoint. He writes, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

So when you see that wall, smile. It’s not there for you. Or your monkey.


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