Communicating information accurately and responsibly takes effort. Yet in today’s “post-truth” age, it’s increasingly easy to find cherry-picked data that has been quickly gathered.

Author Dennis Heijn expresses this idea in his book, The Fearless Monkey: A Creative Guide to Leadership in a Paradoxical World. Heijn uses the metaphor of a monkey to describe how we need to first reflect before leaping toward future goals.

“We are so eager to create a coherent story from the few facts we have that we reduce our complex world into manageable chunks that we can then greedily devour,” he observes.

Heijn uses the monkey motif to teach a lesson on self-reflection. In Indonesia, monkeys are caught by placing a handful of rice in a coconut shell attached to a chain. The monkey puts his hand into a small hole in the shell to grab the rice, but then can’t remove it because he does not think of opening his hand.

His message: only by being mindful of what we accept as truth, can we understand reality.

You can read an interview with Heijn here.