Two Wolves - Forging Leaders

This article examines the choice each of us makes every day of our lives.

Not-Yet-A-Man was in the desert with his grandfather for 3 days of fasting and prayer. This was his vision quest, the ritual every boy of his tribe went through in order to become a man. It was around the fire on the second night, the only night of the three he was allowed a fire, that Not-Yet-A-Man asked a question he had always wondered.

“Grandfather, why are some men good and some men bad?” Grandfather smiled knowingly and answered. “Inside every man, there live two wolves. One wolf is bloodthirsty. This wolf kills for pleasure, it eats only the choicest parts of its prey and wastes the rest. This wolf kills the weak in its pack, he rules by pain, and fear, and force. Then there is the other wolf. This other wolf is compassionate. It kills only what it needs. This wolf makes sure that all pack members have a chance to eat. This wolf rules his pack by wisdom, and gratitude and love.”

Not-Yet-A-Man gazed into the crackling fire, thinking. After a few minutes, he looked up and asked “Grandfather, which wolf I will become?” Grandfather locked eyes with his grandson and said “Whichever wolf you feed.”

And so it is.

Each morning when we wake up, the world sets before us two tables from which to feed our wolves. One table is laden with gossip, road rage, resentment of those we love, impatience, fear of rejection, self-righteousness, misery, and tragedy; all the reasons we need to live a negative, skeptical, selfish life.

The other table is laden with small kindnesses, generosity, forgiveness for those who have hurt us and for ourselves, redemption, inspiring examples of people living amazing life stories against all odds, curiosity about others and the world around us, and stories with triumphant endings; all the reasons we need to live a positive, grateful, compassionate life.

Which wolf will you feed today?

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