In my last post, I outlined my Be Better initiative. In it, I talk about the fact that transformation is about making simple changes: doing better today than you did yesterday. One of the things I often find about, for example, social media is how often someone will post a quote or a meme that spouts something meaningful. Something so obvious and insightful that it explains everything. However, how often do you read one of these things and actually use it to make lasting change?

I came across one of these recently, and behind it was a parable, which illustrated well something I have intuitively known for a long time. It goes like this…

One evening an old Cherokee told is grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Cute story I’m sure you’ll agree. If you’re anything like me, you’ll read it and smile and think “oh yes, how clever. That does make sense”, then you’ll go on with whatever you were doing before you read it. However, like many such stories it has incredible depth and enlightenment within it. What it is basically saying is that who you are, or how you feel is a direct consequence of things that you do, or, which wolf you feed.

A fuller, narrated, version of the story can be found here. Being the eternal sceptic that I am, I did some further research and found that in all likelihood, this is not a native america story at all. It would appear that is it more likely to have come from Christian teachings. I for one don’t care where it comes from, because it makes so much sense, in a very simple and illustrative way.

It’s good that something like this can open you up to the possibility that you are influencing things, one could even say you are the master of your own destiny (or your own demise). However, it’s useless unless you do something with it. As part of my Be Better drive, we are going to do something with this story, and use it to make lasting change in our lives.

The story itself is only giving one part of the picture. It’s telling you that inside us there is a constant battle between positivity and negativity. But what it’s not telling us is what to do about it.

Over the next few posts we are going to break this down into some simple steps that will allow you to influence your thinking, and therefore your self. In short, we’re going to work out a way to feed our Good wolf, and starve the Evil one.

Something to try.

As we go through this we’re going to have to do a few things: we need to understand how we feed the wolves; build self-awareness of our thoughts; try to influence them and make sure they are helpful. But lets start with a simple first step.

All I want you to do is name your wolves. This will make them more tangible in your mind. It will make thinking about them and doing something about them easier. It doesn’t matter that we’re talking about complex psychological and cognitive processes as if they are wild animals. If anything, this iconographic way of dealing with it will work better for us, as it’s the way our brain works.

I have named my wolves Ghost (the Good one) and Gmork (the Evil one). I wonder if anyone can work out the references.

Have think for yourself. Give your wolves substance by naming them, and then in future posts will will work on understanding what we do to feed them. Let me know in the comments what you name yours. Please, feel free to pass this on to your friends, or anyone you think would benefit from feeding their good wolf more.

Next time we’ll start to understand how we are currently feeding our wolves.

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