An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:
“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.”
This old proverb was my college coach’s favorite lesson. He spoke about how we follow wherever our thoughts take us.
Life is a grind. Many of us feel the drain of being pulled a bunch of different directions. We can end up choosing the most monotonous option. Then it becomes easy to focus on the things that aren’t going the way we want.
This extends to everything we do. As a professional distance runner for ZAP Fitness, my lifestyle is as follows: run, eat, sleep, repeat. Sounds nice, right? Until nine months in, when the same routine has worn you thin with boredom. A quick example is that I love pepperoni pizza, but give it to me three meals a day for a year, I bet I'm completely sick of it by the end. We need variance in our lives (and diets) to fully appreciate what we have.
What's helped me mentally deal with the grind and break up the monotony of life is making a big deal out of the small positive things. By making a big deal out of small positives, I train my brain to focus on what's going well, instead of what's not. So many good things happen in our lives that we forget or don’t notice because we're caught up in something else.
Some things I make a big deal about that help me are:
- Tuesday night trivia
- Scheduled movie nights
- Watching The Bachelor or Game of Thrones with teammates
- Going out to eat
- A hike
- Game nights
- Seeing friends or family
- Coffee shop visits
- A beautiful morning
- Time to read
- A good run
- Small, thoughtful gestures such as someone thanking me or holding the door open
All of these things are small, but focusing on even the tiniest positive events can change your frame of mind. Focusing on what’s going right helps change our attitudes and expectations, which begins to influence other aspects of our lives for the better. It’s about feeding the right wolf.
So the question I leave you with is this:
Which wolf do you feed?