There is a great native American story between an old Cherokee and his grandson that is often attributed to the Cherokee, Lenape people, or an Eskimo fisherman. The story contains a great parable about the power of focus, mindset, and it is a great anecdote on how we can manage our thought, feelings, and action.
One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside us all. He said to his grandson:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
The story goes on and ends like this in another version:
“If you feed them right, they both win.”
“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.
“You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”
Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
The above story is a great metaphor for life, handling our emotions and dealing with life vicissitudes. According to research often attributed to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. We think the same thought all over again, day in day out. To change your thought, you need to change what you feed it (input), which would eventually affect your behavior, actions, and habits (output). Garbage in, Garbage out, what you see is what you get.
The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
We feed our mind is critical, as you can not give what you do not have. If you feed your mind with negative thoughts such as watching negative news on TV, negative behavior will manifest, such as anxiety, fear, and apprehension. If you feed your mind with positive thoughts such as reading great books, listening to audiobooks, meditating and reading out and affirming your goals, positive behavior will manifest in your life.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.