By Benescke Janse van Rensburg
Two American professors, Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad conducted an experiment in which they placed four monkeys in a cage, with a pole in the middle of the cage. At the top of the pole, they placed a bunch of bananas hanging from the roof.
When the monkeys entered the cage, the first one saw the bananas, and started climbing against the pole to reach them. But then, just as he was about to pick a banana, a bucket of cold water was turned on him, which sent him screaming down to the ground. The second, third and fourth monkey followed the same route. Eventually all four monkeys sat frustrated in the corner of the room while the bananas still hung from the roof.
The professors then exchanged one of the four monkeys with a new one. The new monkey was barely in the cage, when he saw the bananas and started to climb up the pole. When the other three monkeys saw the newcomer’s plan, they ran towards him and pulled him from the pole to prevent him from experiencing the danger that they had experienced. After a few tries, the newcomer (even though he did not understand why) stopped trying to climb up the pole to reach the bananas.
One by one the professors replaced the original four monkeys with new ones, and every time the pattern repeated itself. Eventually the cage was filled with four new monkeys who had never climbed up the pole, but who were too afraid to do so – even thought the bucket of cold water was removed from the cage.
In life, we often become like these monkeys when we allow our own or other people’s fears of bad experiences from the past, to rob us from pursuing our dreams and becoming the best person God had intended for us to be. 
Listen again to the words in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 
What are the limitations in your life? Do you realize that God has plans for you to prosper in 2012? Let’s ask Him to lead us through his Holy Spirit to look past our bad experiences from the past and see the opportunities to get one step closer to our dreams. Remember, the bananas are still hanging from the roof and only you can climb up to pick them this year! God bless.
Father God, thank you that I can know that you have plans for me to prosper and not to harm me. Help me to learn from the past and to not allow it to prevent me to live a life of abundance. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
** Benescke Janse van Rensburg is a freelance journalist and author of the book, Ontdek God in die stories van mense and also Wysheid, oordenkings uit Spreuke.