Wise men say that within our hearts are two wolves. One is the bad wolf. It is full of greed, laziness, fear, hatred, jealousy, rage, sorrow. All the negative emotions. The other is the good wolf. It is full of joy, love, kindness, forgiveness, peace of mind. All the positive emotions. Both wolves war against each other continuously in our hearts.
When asked which wolf is stronger, the wise men answer, “Whichever wolf you have been feeding.”
This is an adaptation of a Native American story and like most stories that survive through the ages, it is full of ancient wisdom.
Every day we make decisions. Most of these are small, inconsequential decisions, like what to eat for lunch. But on occasion, we are required to make a moral decision; a choice between right and wrong. Selfishness or selflessness. Cruelty or kindness. Jealousy or generosity. Deceit or honesty. And while we may think of ourselves as people of good character most of the time, that can change when we are put to the test. What is really within us is revealed under stress or duress. And whether or not we make the right decision in that split second, is based on which wolf is currently winning the fight in your heart.
And that is dependent on which wolf you have been feeding.
That’s from the opening chapter of my upcoming book, Feed The Good Wolf. Each chapter is about specific activities that you can incorporate into your daily life in order to build your character from the inside out.
Most people are overly concerned with their reputation rather than character. Spending time defending your reputation is like putting a fresh coat of paint on a house that you know is infested with termites. It might look pretty on the outside, but it is rotting and ready to fall down.
“A lot of people try to improve their lives by dealing with the external fruit. They are attempting to rectify their bad habits, bad attitudes, bad tempers, or negative and sour personalities. They’re dealing with the fruit of their lives, trying to change those things, and that is noble. But the truth is, unless they get to the root, they will never be able to change the fruit.” Joel Osteen.
You are not a victim of your character. You are not trapped with a certain personality or mindset. These are things that you can change. You can make a conscious choice to change the person you are at your very core.
And you do that by feeding the good wolf.
When your character is pure, you don’t need to expend effort to police your behavior.