Only the clever survives


I have kept this story for years and as I reviewed the material, I am amazed at how timeless this story is. It is a story featured on the website ebaumsworld.com. The three characters in this story are a dog, a leopard, and a monkey. After reading this, you might figure out that we have to decide which we are through this fable. Here is the tale to explain the difference:

A wealthy man went on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dog along. Wandering about, the dog started chasing butterflies, got lost, and notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the apparent intention of having lunch. The dog thinks, “Boy, I’m lost, and this is not a very good situation for me now.” He stayed calm and started thinking of how he can get away from the precarious situation.

The dog noticed bones on the ground close by, so he settles down to chew on the bones. Behind him is the leopard slowly approaching. And just as the cat is about to leap, he hears the dog exclaim loudly: “Now that is one delicious leopard. I wonder if I can get more around here.”

The leopard heard this and immediately halted his attack in mid-stride. Feeling a sense of terror, it quickly cowers and runs into the trees to hide. The leopard says to himself, “Oh wow! That was close! That dog nearly had me.”

Oblivious to the two, there is the third character in our story. A monkey was watching the drama that had just unfolded. The monkey’s mind began to strategize and scheme. The primate decided that he can put this knowledge and information to good use. Perhaps he can trade this vital information for protection from the leopard and eliminate the risk of being his lunch. And so, the sly scheming monkey headed after the leopard with great speed, but the dog saw this and figured that something must be up.

The monkey caught up with the cat and reported what had happened. Then he struck a deal with the leopard. The cat is furious. How could the dog have fooled him? Not only did he miss his lunch, but he would be the laughing stock in the jungle. Seething with anger, the leopard said, “Hop on my back, and I will show you what will happen to that conniving canine.”

The dog saw from a distance that the monkey is seated on the leopard’s back, and the cat is rushing towards him. And so, the dog’s mind goes to overdrive and asks: “What am I going to do now?”

The dog took a deep breath, kept his cool, and instead of running, he sat down with his back to his predators and pretended he had not seen them yet. Sensing that they were just a few steps away from him, the dog says in a thunderous clear voice and diction: “Where’s that stupid monkey? I can never trust him! I sent him off a few minutes ago to get me another leopard, and he is not yet back. Maybe he has brought the leopard to another dog, and I hate him.”

Finally, the leopard had his lunch, and it sure was not the dog.

Now that’s what I call cool, calm, and collected.

As I read this material, it looks like things have not changed much. There will always be leopards in the world and the workplace. These are the bullies who will spare no effort in having a free lunch, and you may be their intended lunch. If you lose your cool, allow yourself to be intimidated, react in anger and fear, then you will be eaten alive.

There will always be monkeys in the world and the workplace too. These primates have nothing to do but to flatter their bosses and destroy other people so that they can look better. They do have talents, but they do not put them to good use. Instead, they play politics; they compromise on values and ethics, taking the shortest and easy road to success. So they manipulate and scheme. Smooth talkers, and charming at that. However, victims of monkeys later on discover their true identities only after they have suffered immense losses.

We need to be discerning. And perhaps we need to be like the wise dog in the story. Be cool, be calm, respond, and do not react. Be wise in dealing with people. Sure, it’s a “jungle” out there, but we do not have to be someone’s free lunch.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class online will be held from Aug. 25 to 27. Develop your leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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