The wolf we feed

A beautiful book of Native American wisdom

I’m not sure where my niece got this, but she posted it on Facebook last week and it struck a chord…

An old Cherokee told his grandson: “There is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil – it’s anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good – it’s joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness and truth.” The boy considered his grandpa’s words and asked, “Grandfather which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one you feed.

I’m not one for moralistic tales usually, but this one resonated because I do believe that as people, we have power over our own futures. In most situations, our own outlook affects the outcome. External factors can place difficult obstacles in our way, but it’s up to us to make the decisions regarding how we react and how our life moves on from there.

You only have to watch or read about other people’s accomplishments and the outstanding things they’ve overcome to understand what I mean. Take the Olympics, Paralympics and Special Olympics. Consider Nobel Peace prize winners such as Tawakkol Karman and Liu Xiaobo. What about Seamus Heaney and Kenzaburo Oe, two personal favourites who have been recognised for their literary efforts with the Nobel Prize for Literature?

All amazing examples of incredible people doing incredible things – and they’re simply human like us. Now, not everyone is going to change the world, but I do think that we have a duty to take responsibility for ourselves and our own achievements. Our happiness and fulfillment is up to us. We need to make our time on earth the best it can possibly be for ourselves and, in turn, for others. As you read this, I bet you can think of a few outstanding friends or relatives straight away who do just that.

This is also true when it comes to writing – or any other vocation for that matter – because talent will only get you so far. You achieve success through dedication, determination and will power. How you maintain this is up to you, but a positive approach certainly helps. If you’re stuck or not getting as far as you’d like, it may mean you’re setting unrealistic goals and expecting too much too soon.

But could it be that your own attitude preventing you from getting any further on your work in progress?

Take the following scenario for instance: You were expecting to write for four hours, but a water pipe broke and you had to spend an hour cleaning up the mess, securing it as best as you could. Then another hour was spent finding and organising someone to come and fix it. The plumber’s on his way and it’s going to take time to sort. You’re left with an hour of that writing time. How do react? Which of the following sounds most like you?

  1. I’ve only got an hour so there’s no point writing now.
  2. I’ve got an hour – it’s not much but at least I can jot some ideas down.
  3. What can I do in an hour? Better ask my twitter friends…
  4. I’m way too cross and distracted to write now.
  5. At least I’ve still got a whole hour for writing.

In short, the same situation can look different, depending on what attitude you adopt. Are you procrastinating and making excuses or are you writing?

Which wolf will you feed today?


3 thoughts on “The wolf we feed

  1. The Pat (@pinnyrat) says:

    “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, which determines your altitude in life.”

    It’s a quote I stumbled across a decade or so ago. I can’t remember whose quote it is, if there was even a name attached.

  2. Lane Ashfeldt says:

    OMG, you are making me panic now, like I should not even be losing this time to leave a comment. I am editing a story and I will now give it no more than till 1pm. thanks for reminder to treat this stuff like a job…

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