An old Cherokee Indian chief was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he told the young boy, “a fight between two wolves.
One is dark and evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride.
The other is light and good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness and faith.”
“This same fight is going on inside of you, grandson…and inside of every other person on the face of this earth.”
The grandson pondered this thought for a moment and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The old man smiled and simply said, “The one you feed.”
As the old man surmised, we all have 2 wolves living inside of us battling for control of our attitudes and deeds in our personal and professional lives.
The dark wolf is a naysayer. It focuses on negativity, judges people to keep them down. That wolf is arrogant, yet easily plays victim to the slightest hint of criticism, thinks bad thoughts and looks upon the accumulation of knowledge as a wasteful tool that does nothing to fill its hunger for power and control over others.
The light wolf, however, sees opportunities, focuses not only on the good in people, but in helping others succeed. It values all that is right in the world, is open minded and accepting that there is no achievement gained from being complacent or average. That wolf is optimistic and knows that knowledge will quell its hunger, so it can remain strong and survive through the harshest times, never falling victim or becoming prey to another.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens
In business, it’s easy to feel like a victim in challenging situations and circumstances. Instead of tackling our problems head-on, it’s more convenient to place blame on others. Why? It’s a way of feeling more in control of uncontrollable situations. But, that kind of finger pointing provides false strength and doesn’t relieve us of personal responsibility. Excuses strip us of any and all control at the very moment we place arrogance above humility simply to stroke our ego and in an attempt to hide our vulnerabilities.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
To nourish your inner, light wolf, act and seek out the fertile hunting ground where you can surround yourself with positive influences and influencers. Seek out mentors who will advise and inspire you to be the best that you can be. Be appreciative of the support that is provided, but be eager to do the challenging work necessary to achieve your goals.
Your light wolf is fearless, loving, and generous. Instead of disparaging the dreams of others, it chooses to create wonderful things in the world and to maintain a positive outlook. It reinforces the idea that greatness exists inside each one of us and that you can become whatever we choose to be.
“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” – Keshavan Nair
Be courageous. Remove yourself from the negative noise that riles your inner dark wolf. It’s difficult to avoid negativity completely but it’s easy to remove yourself from places where negative influences reside. Weigh every relationship you have to determine if the dark wolf in others is draining you of enthusiasm and of the innovative spirit.
To paraphrase Michael Port from his book “Book Yourself Solid,” just like a bouncer at the swankiest nightclub in town, you are in control of the people and influences you allow to pass beyond your red velvet rope. If they’re not properly attired in a positive attitude, you have the power to reject their admission into your life. As for those who have already slipped past your guard, it may be time to show them the door. As author Robert Tew has said, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Provide your light wolf a steady diet of laughter and happiness. Happiness isn’t a conditional state. It’s a state of being. And, it’s the most unselfish of all emotions that is committed to lifting others up by making them equally happy.
Life is far too short to live in the constant shadow of your dark wolf where enlightenment and inspiration can never survive. Celebrate the joy that comes from seeing your dreams transform into reality and use those accomplishments to motivate you to achieve even greater things. Think about the times you achieved something extraordinary. Remember how good that accomplishment made you feel. Feed that wolf every day.
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard
As you go about your personal and business life, it’s your decision as to which of your wolves you choose to feed. You can feed the wolf of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, and all those good things in every moment, or you can choose to feed the dark wolf’s anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride.
Regardless, remember that wolves run in packs. Your actions and deeds will either influence others to embrace a positive spirit or will drag them into a negative abyss.
Which wolf do you choose to guide you in business and in life? Which wolf do you choose to lead others?
Which wolf do you feed?
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