A parable that I first heard as a kid resurfaced three different times last week. It tells the story of an old Cherokee teaching his grandson. He shares with the boy that two wolves are battling inside all of us. One wolf is evil – it is pride, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, inferiority, lack, self-pity, regret, envy, and lies. The other wolf is good – it is joy, peace, kindness, empathy, hope, compassion, generosity, love, and faith. 

The young boy thinks about the story his grandfather shared and asks, “Which wolf will win?”

The answer is simple.

The one you feed

Every day both of these wolves roam inside us. They don’t battle on steep cliffs or under the light of the stars and moon. Instead, they clash in our minds. 

  • We encounter challenges at work… Which wolf do we feed? 
  • We experience struggles within our relationships… Which wolf do we feed?
  • Social media fuels unrealistic expectations… Which wolf do we feed?
  • Financial pressures mount… Which wolf do we feed?
  • A stranger is rude to us… Which wolf do we feed?

The wolf that we nourish is the one that grows. The wolf we starve will eventually weaken and lose its grip on our lives. The beauty of this battle is that we have power over which wolf thrives and which one dies. We choose, based on our reactions to the highs and lows of life, which wolf we feed.

  • At work, do we choose pride and arrogance OR humility and kindness?
  • In our relationships, do we choose resentment and selfishness OR hope and love?
  • Scrolling social media, do we choose jealousy and envy OR contentment and gratitude?
  • When financial pressures rise, do we choose lack and self-pity OR abundance and generosity?
  • When we get cut off in traffic, do we choose anger and revenge OR grace and empathy?

You choose. The wolf that thrives is the one you pick. Life’s challenges will continue to flow in and out, and you’ll experience highs and lows. What you do with those challenges, and more importantly, how you react to them is up to you. You choose.

Here are three ways to feed the good wolf:

  1. Choose vision. Your circumstances are what they are. Where you’re at right now doesn’t dictate where you’re going. By focusing on your opportunities and potential, rather than your current state, you feed the good wolf.
  2. Choose gratitude. We all have something to be grateful for. In fact, if we spend just a little time thinking, we have a long list of things that should create a thankful spirit in us. By focusing on the blessings you have in your life, you feed the good wolf.
  3. Choose empathy. Choosing to engage the people in our lives with compassion and grace is a must. We will never have the chance to truly step into someone else’s shoes, or experience their most hidden struggles and challenges. By choosing empathy first, you feed the good wolf. 

These choices matter more than you know. Your mind can only think one thought at a time, so being intentional to feed the good wolf will eventually starve the evil one. And, that theory works in reverse. Feed the evil wolf, and you will starve the good one.

The Takeaway

When the world comes at you (and you can expect that it will) choose which wolf you’re going to feed. When things go your way, choose which wolf you’re going to feed. Ultimately, you choose which wolf wins the battle.

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