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This Cherokee proverb is quite popular, and seems to keep coming up on my radar. It’s simple, but profound.

One evening, an old Cherokee told his 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, full of anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The other is Good, full of peace, love, hope, humility, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about this for a while and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” To which Grandfather simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Every moment of the day we choose which “wolf” to feed. In our mental and emotional well-being, our health, our relationships and our work. Every choice we make feeds who we are. Everything counts.

Corporations and governments are wolves, and their characteristics are determined (to some degree) by what we want. As a society, our desires and habits determine what wolf starves or thrives. If they become a wolf we don’t like, we can collectively choose to starve it until it altars it’s ways.

As a society, we also have the ability to create and nourish a whole new type of wolf. We can instigate a complete paradigm shift. They call that a revolution.

A revolution is an outcome of deliberate, unrelenting passion. You can create one in your personal life any time you choose. Every day. And if you’re really passionate, you can create a societal revolution. (We’re currently in need of a few.)

Though we are seldom deliberate about it, we do have that kind of power. Seems like a shame not to use it.

The wolves we feed (personally, governmentally and in business) may be gluttonous, wasteful and self indulgent, or peaceful, environmentally responsible and relational. Our choice. Every individual action is food for a certain type of societal wolf that we choose to feed.

What wolf is your lifestyle feeding?

 

9 Comments

  1. Dan Miller on September 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I love that we have the opportunity as one individual person to start a shift. So often I think we believe family, community, country or world change is so big we can’t make a difference. And yet, history has shown time and time again that world change begins with one individual committed to making things better.

    Your post reminds me of this inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey:

    “When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits,
    I dreamed of changing the world.
    As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change –
    So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country,
    But it too seemed immovable.
    As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt,
    I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me,
    But alas, they would have none of it.
    And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first,
    Then by example I might have changed my family,
    From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country,
    And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

    • Jared Angaza on September 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      I love that quote. That’s another one that comes up a lot, and it’s powerful. Over the years, I’ve gained a lot of peace as a result of this knowledge. I spend as much time trying to become what I want the world to be as I do on trying to influence others to change. It comes down to leading by example. There’s no better way to do it.

      • Spencer on September 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        I enjoyed that post a lot. I love the simplicity of it all, when you really think hard about what is ailing your success as a person, it boils down to what you are fed. I read Wisdom Meets Passion last week. Thank you for your inspiring input Jared. You and your father are a true inspiration. Keep on working hard so the rest of us can benefit from your Wisdom and Passion!

        • Jared Angaza on September 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

          Thanks so much Spencer. I really appreciate your encouragement.

  2. Catherine on September 4, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Loved the message “What Wolf Will You Feed?” and the post from your father. It seems we get so caught up with things, ideas etc.. but we forget to CHANGE OURSELVES… thanks for the message and the post with Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey tomb inscription.

  3. Kevin Miller on September 4, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    This quote came up in our family a few days ago. Such a minute by minute, daily, conscious effort to feed the right wolf. I just want to arrive to where it’s natural to feed the right one. And I guess that does happen more habitually, but I often falter when I don’t pay attention and all of the sudden realize I just fed the wrong one. Thanks for the reminder Brother.

    • Kelly Black on September 4, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      Another powerful post Jared, thank you! Blessed by the bonus of more powerful collaboration here in the comments between father and sons!

    • Jared Angaza on September 5, 2012 at 4:24 AM

      The more I try to “become the change I want to see”, the more I’ve realized that a lot of that has to do with being deliberate, about everything. Everything. Not easy at first, but it does get easier in time. And from where I’m standing, you, my brother, are living a pretty deliberate and wonderful life.

  4. Luke on September 4, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Yes – the war rages inside – what wolf will I feed? So powerful, so simple and even more difficult.

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