Tell me if you’ve ever had this feeling. You’re scrolling through your feed on your favorite social media platform, and you see someone share a thought-provoking quote or graphic.
You’re awoken from your social media daze as you read the quote. You feel the spine-tingling jolt of awareness light up your soul. It’s an amazing feeling. You feel like this quote just came at exactly the right moment. You share it, as if sharing it adopts this maxim into your way of living. Then you forget about it completely.
If this has happened to you, then keep reading. This is the story of a YouTube video that actually altered my outlook on life.
It started as a Facebook Post
Back in the height of my Facebook use, I used to follow a handful of new-age awareness pages. These pages all post the same type of thought-provoking graphics, and they’re usually pretty generic. One day, one of these posts caught my attention.
It said that this story was from a Cherokee legend, but I haven’t been able to find a source that confirms this. With that being said, here’s a version of the tale from firstpeople.us .
The Wolves Within
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.”
I’m not sure why this particular story struck such a deep chord in my psyche. Maybe it’s because at that particular moment in my life, I was feeding the evil wolf all too much.
Maybe it caught my attention because the good wolf mustered up enough energy for a final stand before it starved to death. Whatever it was, I was compelled to investigate this Facebook graphic.
How I Found the YouTube Video that Changed my Perspective
I decided to search “ two wolves story” on YouTube to see if there was an audio version of this story.
What I found were a few motivational videos based on this theme of the two wolves. I watched them all, but the following video resonated with me the most.
It’s called “The Good Wolf” by the YouTube channel Your World Within )
You’re probably wondering how this motivational video changed my outlook on life. Let’s talk about that.
How I Implemented the Two Wolves Story into my Daily Life
This video uses the story of the two wolves to Illustrate the theme of the video: everything we are, everything we do, and everything we become is a result of a choice. A choice we get to make each morning when we wipe the sleep off our brows.
This choice is whether or not we feed the good wolf or the bad wolf. In today’s media-driven digital age, what we are consuming is information.
A light bulb illuminated when I first came to this realization. Like a mad scientist, I decided to be my own test subject and test the theory laid out in this video.
From that point on, I’ve been making the conscious choice to feed the good wolf as much as I can each and every day. It’s not easy, but here are some strategies I’ve been using.
3 Ways to Feed the Good Wolf
1. Do NOT watch the news as the first thing you do
I want to be clear, I am not suggesting you stay oblivious to current events. All I’m suggesting is that it shouldn’t be the first information you consume to start your day.
The typical news program revolves around negativity. Sure, there may be a positive human interest segment or two every day, but they’re typically buried behind the leading stories of death, crime, controversies, and scandals.
What to do instead: Start your day with some good vibes. Some days, I’ll start my day with a TED talk while I drink my morning coffee. On other days, I’ll just search “motivation” on YouTube and pick one of the thousands of motivational videos that pop up.
I also use music to get me in my “happy zone” for the day ( you can check out my happy zone playlist here!
Like the narrator says in the video, you have a choice each morning as to how you approach the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day- especially for the good wolf.
2. Indulge in micro-philanthropy When Tragedy Strikes
It seems like every week there is some senseless tragedy that strikes and subsequently trends on social media.
Like a siren enchanting sailors, we are drawn to digital conversation about tragedy to add our two cents regarding how such tragedy could have been prevented.
We convince ourselves that this desire is that of the good wolf, but it’s not.
Our desire to enter these conversations is generally fueled by ego. It’s the bad wolf telling us to share our thoughts because if things were the way we think they should be, then the tragedy in question would never have happened.
You’ve seen how these conversations go on social media. How many times have you seen gun control debates after a mass shooting? How many of those were civilized? Exactly.
What to do instead: Engage in micro-philanthropy when a tragedy strikes. With every mass shooting natural disaster, or any other terrible event, you can find gofundme pages where you can help people directly affect people.
What if I told you money can buy happiness, and there’s science to prove it?
In Michael Norton’s TED talk “ How To Buy Happiness” , the speaker presents data from experiments he and his team have conducted regarding whether or not money can actually buy happiness.
What they found was intriguing: You actually can buy happiness if you spend your money by giving it to others in need.
They also found that the amount given had no effect on the amount of happiness one felt from giving. Those in the experiment who were given $5 to spend on somebody else reported the same level of happiness as the who were given $20 to spend on somebody else.
So next time a tragedy strikes, feed the good wolf by making a small donation to someone whose story resonates with you.
3. Make a conscious decision to practice kindness and encouragement.
#RandomActsOfKindness and #PayItForward are two hashtags you should incorporate in your daily social media activity- they’re the digital playground of the good wolf.
Browsing these hashtags daily will inspire you to incorporate such acts into your physical life. You’ll become addicted to things like holding doors open and helping the elderly load their groceries into their car. You’ll start randomly buying coffee for strangers behind you in line and giving good servers extra-generous tips.
These acts don’t always have to be monetary. Simply sending an encouraging text to a friend or family member going through a tough time is just as delicious to the good wolf.
I’ll end this post with a Tony Robbins quote that is included towards the end of this video:
“ You have to be the guardian of your own mind. Allow in only what will help you, because God knows the world will crush you if you don’t.”
Now that you read this article and watched this video, it’s up to you to make your choice starting tomorrow morning. Which wolf will you feed?