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Today’s show is the legend of two wolves..however, this is not the version you have heard before. What we are about to share with you is the actual story…not the sanitized for modern ears version that removes the heart of the intended meaning.
There is a Cherokee Indian legend about two wolves. You’ve probably heard it before, in fact, we have done a past podcast about it… but what you didn’t know, is that over time, the story got a bit sanitized or watered down.
As it turns out, the original story has an even more important lesson contained within its parable. Let’s compare the two and talk about why the story was likely revised, what the real meaning is and how you can apply the lesson to your daily personal and business lives.
Here’s what you’ve probably heard or read at some point:
“A Cherokee elder speaks to his grandson about life. “A battle rages inside me,” he says. “It is dangerous and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is angry, envious, sorry, regretful, arrogant, has self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “the other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, and faith.”
He said, “The same fight goes on inside of you and inside of everyone else as well.” The grandson pondered the words of his grandfather and asked, “Which wolf will win?”
In the story you’re familiar with, you’ve probably heard that the old Cherokee elder simply replied, “The wolf you feed.”
However, compare that ending to how the story of the two wolves really ends:
The old Cherokee smiled and replied, “If you feed them right, they both win.”
He continues, “You see, if I only feed the white wolf, the black wolf will hide in the dark, waiting for me to falter so that it can pounce and get the attention he craves. The black wolf will always be angry and fight with the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, both he and the white wolf can be satisfied and we all win, for the black wolf has qualities that I need and the white wolf lacks those qualities. Tenacity, courage, fearlessness, the strength of will, as well as resourcefulness.”
“The white wolf instead provides compassion, caring, love, and the ability to value the needs of others over my own.”
“You see, the two wolves actually need each other. Feeding only one and starving the other will eventually make both uncontrollable. Caring for both allows them both to serve you, so that you can do something greater; something good with your time on Earth.”
“Feed them both and you will quiet their internal struggle for your attention, and, when there is no battle inside, you can then hear the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing the right path in every circumstance.”
“Peace, my son, is what we must all strive for in life. He who has peace inside has everything. He who harbors a storm within his heart and soul has nothing. How you choose to treat the opposing forces within you will ultimately determine how you live.”
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This original story digs deeper into the meaning of the two opposing wolves. We all have both within us, but how do we handle each? It’s all in the care and feeding! Here are some practical, tactical applications to apply to your daily business and personal life:
1 – The Fear Wolf: When you feed it, you’ll fail to achieve your goals in life. Instead, starve the fear but feed the wolf of courage and soon you’ll meet or exceed your goals. During times of change and uncertainty (like we’re living now), acknowledge the fearful wolf but feed the courageous one within you.
2 – When facing conflict, both real or imagined, stop to hear the voices of each wolf. While the fearful wolf makes you ‘frosty’ and keeps you on the lookout for ‘threat vectors’, the tenacious and fearless wolf makes you take action. You need both but in different ways.
3 – You have more power over your emotions, your happiness, your trajectory in life than you think. It isn’t the events in your life that have the power. It’s how you react to those events that empower. Do you choose sorry, envy, regret, and fear, or do you choose courage, inner peace, and hope? If you’re not sure, just say, “It’s too soon to tell.”
4 – You set the tone. Your choice to acknowledge your fears, trepidations, and worries but to move forward with your courage, leadership, and strength, sets the tone for your family, your work colleagues, and most importantly, yourself.
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