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An old Cherokee story

June 11th, 2009

The Cherokee Indians, as is the case with all native people, use insightful stories to convey meaning and seek understanding of people and their behavior.  One such story that the elders tell their children is about fighting wolves.  They say that inside every person are two wolves constantly fighting.  One of these wolves is an evil character who is angry, jealous, lazy, impatient, self-centered, egotistical, negative, irresponsible and unforgiving.  The other wolf is loving, kind, generous, humble, caring, enterprising, positive and responsible.   Typically, a child when told about this will ask “which wolf wins?”  To which question the elder will answer “which ever one you feed.”

Which wolf are you feeding?

In today’s busy world it is so easy to be drawn into negative thoughts, to complain, to blame circumstances, to become angry and impatient.  And the more we allow this to define our behavior, the worse it seems to get and the less content we are.  In other words, what we give most mental attention to seems to be what actually becomes our reality–a self fulfilling prophecy so to speak.  Now, it is said that 90% of what we do each day is driven by habit.  A habit is simply “learned behavior” so if you can learn a habit you can unlearn it i.e. replace it with a better habit or as the Cherokee might say, feed the good wolf.

My point here is that if you are not enjoying a great life then you are most likely feeding the wrong wolf.  You need to change your habits by consciously eliminating those that you know are not useful to you and adopting those that you know are useful.  I’m told that a habit (of any sort) can be broken withing 3 to 6 weeks but you have to work at it.  Having been a very heavy smoker, I know exactly what this means but I also know that it gets easier over time.  If a smoking habit can be changed so can any behavioral habit!  You can, in other words, dramatically change your life simply by consciously looking at your behavior and taking a decision (i.e. thinking about then acting upon) to adopt a different thinking habit.

I’m in the process of reviewing questionnaires from people who will be attending a Boot Camp in London and a fairly typical response to a question I ask on “your key frustrations” is something like: “lack of original thinking from the team and the speed with which they deliver.”  I have heard this a thousand times and I can say with confidence that as long as you believe (i.e. think about) your team members lack the ability for original thought and/or are inherently slow, that will continue to be the prevailing outcome.

People under-perform for one of two reasons: indifference or incompetence.  If it is the latter get rid of them.  If it’s the former, you need to ask yourself why is that person indifferent?  I’ll bet you’ll find the answer in the area of communication and since what you think about (that person and his/her ability) determines what you talk about I suspect you’re allowing yourself to be drawn into negative thoughts about that person.  This will result in you being unwilling to stretch that person through delegation, a reluctance to invest in training and a failure to help that person see the “big” picture (your vision) for your business and how s/he fits in with that.

When I meet with the Principals of firms that are doing extraordinarily well financially, the defining characteristic that separates them from those that are not doing anywhere near as well is in the way they talk about their people, their clients, their vision for the future of their firm and their passion for what they are doing both personally and professionally.  These firms are drawing their team members from exactly the same labor pool,  they service the same type of clients, offer the same type of services, use the same technology as other firms and yet they are getting superior results.

It is not, therefore, a question of what resources you have to work with it’s how you work with these resources and the “how” comes back to what you think about.  If you think the same thoughts as “winners” and if you believe you will experience the same outcomes as they do you will be a winner, it’s really that simple; it’s called modeling excellence.  This is something that Kerry King will be talking about at our Annual Conference in Brisbane next week.

I’ll leave you with this thought from Jack Canfield, author of the best selling Chicken Soup series of books.

Do you realize that your life at this very moment is the result of everything that you have ever thought, done, believed, or felt up until now? You can start right now to consciously and delibrately attract whatever you desire in the lifetime.  Through the Law of Attraction, you can attract people, resources, money,ideas, strategies and circumstances–literally everything you need to create the future of your dreams.”

Something to think about?  I’d welcome your thoughts!


  1. cmulberg
    July 16th, 2009 at 15:59 | #1

    Excellent Blog Ric! After tax season this year I definitely was feeding the wrong wolf. I find exercising daily helps feed the right wolf. Just purchased a copy of Jack Canfield’s “Key to Living the Law of Attraction” and looking forward to reading it this week.

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