Have you ever said or done anything and then immediately felt a huge sense of remorse? Ever wish you could take back a spoken word or action? That would be from the “bad wolf” living inside you. Of course you all have a “good wolf” as well. And hopefully he is responsible for the majority of your daily words and actions.
I’ve seen this story told in a variety of ways over the years so here’s my version. A grandfather and his grandson were taking a walk in the woods when the grandfather shared the story about the two wolves living within and how they are constantly at “war” with each other. The grandson was quick to ask “So which wolf wins?” And his grandfather replied, “The one you feed the most.”
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
So what drives the abundance in your heart? Which wolf are you feeding the most? The following quotes will reveal the key elements that go into creating your true heart:
“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie Tremendous Jones
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go,
lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. Proverbs 22:24-25
Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
“You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” Zig Ziglar
“The book you don’t read won’t help” Jim Rohn
If there is one key theme running throughout all these quotes, its discipline. You must be disciplined in choosing your associations. You must be disciplined in seeking wisdom. And you must be disciplined in guarding your heart.
Choosing Your Associations
Your mother gave you some of the best advice ever when she warned about who you choose to make your friends. She knew the power of your associations in that they will make or break you. Jim Rohn was famous for saying “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
So how do you go about selecting your friends? While the list is not exhaustive, leadership expert John Maxwell in his Leadership Bible gives wise counsel with the following guidelines:
- Creative people
- Loyal people
- People who share your vision
- Wise and intelligent people
- People with complimentary gifts
- People with influence
- **People of faith
- People of integrity
Most people naturally assume that wisdom comes with age. Unfortunately this is not the case. Age comes automatically. Wisdom requires intention. You are either seeking wisdom through a specific program of self-development or you’re not. There is no
According to a 2014 study by the The Pew Research Center, 23% of Americans did not read a single book over the course of the year. This includes print, Kindle and the like, and audio books. 31% read from one to five. This is especially sad when you consider the convenience of audio books which can be listened to practically anywhere. From dressing in the morning for work, your morning commute, at the gym, or while preparing dinner at night, the options are endless for someone who has a hunger to learn.
Think of your formal education as your ticket to enter the game of life. It is only the starting point and how you ultimately play and fair in this game will be largely driven by how intentional and disciplined you are with your ongoing personal development.
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune”
People often make the excuse that they don’t have time to read. According to the highest achievers on the planet, you don’t have time not to read. With today’s technology, any book available in print will most likely be available in an audio format, and most people take for granted the value of small segments of time. I shared about “Automobile University” here but it’s certainly worth sharing again.
If you have an average daily commute to work of 30 minutes, that’s 60 minutes a day five days a week that can be used for self-directed education. Over the course of a year (with two weeks of vacation), this equals 6.25 forty hour work weeks’ worth of education. And that’s just one year and a hour a day. What if you did more and did this every year for your adult life?
Rather than listening to music or any form of talk radio, which is mostly “bubblegum” for the mind, why not use your commute time to further your education? The sky is the limit in terms of topics. What could you learn to be a better spouse, parent, son or daughter, sibling, friend, business owner, or employee? From leadership to communication to learning a foreign language, the list is endless. Time is the most precious commodity on earth and life goes by in a flash. Be sure to make the most of yours by maximizing your potential.
Brian Tracy teaches a concept called the E2E Ratio. This ratio is a comparison of time spent in education verses entertainment. While taking time for fun is a key to living a balanced life, many people are way out of line spending most of their free time with entertainment and very little time with education. The highest achievers in life get this ratio much more in balance and their success speaks for itself.
Guarding Your Heart
The last key is the necessity of guarding your heart from the negative influences of the world. Whether CNN or Fox or any news program in-between, the world’s message is largely negative and will beat a path to your door. While it’s important to stay current with worldly events to be a contributing member of society, this does not require the time that so many spend each day indulging in the “news”. A few strategic minutes online will give you all the news you need leaving you time for much more meaningful pursuits.
The average person takes the path of least resistance and does little to protect against the negative influences of the world. To guard your heart, you must build fences to keep the negative out (starving the bad wolf) and take intentional action in pouring in the positive (feeding the good wolf).
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
The bad wolf will NEVER go away and the battle will never end. You can however take action daily to starve his negative spirit by burying him with positive and intentional growth.
Take home point for my readers:
The majority of actions that you take each day are based on habit. Most people fail to realize how powerful habits can be. The following story paints a vivid picture:
A wise old teacher was walking with one of his students in the woods. The teacher asked the young man to pull up a small tree seedling that was only a few inches tall. With little effort the student obeyed and pulled up the seedling.
Next the teacher asked the student to pull up a small sapling that was an inch or so in diameter. With some struggle, the student finally pulled up the small tree.
Finally, the teacher asked the student to pull up a mature Oak approximately 3’ in diameter. The student looked at the teacher and simply proclaimed that it was impossible.
This is the power of the habits in your life…for better or worse…and you have a choice.
Be forever on guard against the negative habits that once developed to the size of the oak above, can be next to impossible to remove from your character and life.
You can discipline yourself to develop positive habits that will lead to a life of fulfillment.
A failure to do so will inevitably lead to developing destructive habits that give you a life of misery and despair.
“Failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day” Jim Rohn
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day” Jim Rohn
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment” Jim Rohn
My hope is that you choose the path of discipline, develop the habits that feed your “good wolf” and live a truly blessed life.