One of my favorite stories is the Tale of Two Wolves, as it provides amazing insight into the inner struggle we all experience.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
This story teaches an incredible lesson that we control our mindset and our approach to life.
Both Wolves Will Always Live Inside You
One of the most common mistakes we can make is the All or Nothing approach. Whether it’s our fitness, finances, or relationships, this approach rarely leads to success, and usually ends in disappointment.
This is the tale of two wolves. It is like trying to starve one wolf in hopes that it will go away. Both wolves will forever live inside us, and while we can choose the wolf we feed the most, the other wolf will always be present.
Many of the most successful entertainers suffer from anxiety before a performance. Given the singer Adele’s incredible talent, it’s hard for many of us to understand why she gets nervous before performing.
Many experts believe we’re supposed to. No matter how much you feed the good wolf, the evil wolf will always be there.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
As with most things in life, there is a necessary balance, and we must learn to manage this inner struggle to achieve our goals.
Begin With Small Steps
Have you ever noticed that the longer you delay something, the more anxiety you have about getting started?
This is the evil wolf getting stronger. When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, that tomorrow is actually a better day, or any of the crazy rationalizations that happen between our ears.
I think one of the distinct qualities of being human is that we have the amazing capacity to rationalize almost any action to ourselves.
Convincing others is the hard part. We’re all capable of generating some next level inner BS, and sometimes simply saying it out loud can help us course correct.
The tale of two wolves is there for every aspect of our lives. We may have one area handled, but need assistance in another.
When you want to make a change, begin with small steps.
Taking action helps reduce anxiety. This builds your confidence, and helps shape your perceptions about what is possible.
If you want to begin a fitness routine, start with setting out your workout clothes the night before.
If you want to increase your savings, start with an automatic transfer of $5 per month to your savings account.
These small, seemingly insignificant, habits allow you to start the habit of feeding the right wolf.
It’s easy to dismiss the habit of saving $5 per month because the amount seems trivial. But, as this wolf grows stronger inside us, we can begin feeding it more, and improve this habit.
Changing the habit of NOT saving is much more difficult.
When things go wrong, and believe me they will, our habits and routines ultimately dictate our direction and results.
It’s unlikely that you’ll begin saving once you get a raise. And, it’s unlikely you’ll start working out once your schedule eases up.
Every one of us has these types of thoughts, and while they’re well intended, these are the cray cray rationalizations we create inside our heads that feed the wrong wolf.
This is the tale of two wolves. The wolf you feed is the wolf that wins.