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Machen MacDonald: Which wolf wins?

"Feed the wolf you want to win with expanding thoughts of courage, confidence, capacity and starve the other by restricting thoughts of doubt, fear, and procrastination." — Machen MacDonald
AP | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

There is a tale of two wolves attributed to the Cherokee Indians.

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says, “There are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with the other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.” The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and asks, “Which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

When it comes to achieving what you want in your life, are you feeding the wolf you want to win? The quality of your life up to this point is a clear indication of which wolf you’ve been nourishing.



Going forward, notice your focus. Is it on what you want and why you want it? Or, is it on what you fear may or may not happen; or on what could go wrong?

Your focus and ongoing thoughts are the equivalent of food for the wolf inside; it’s the energy that summons your emotions, gets you to take certain actions and ultimately bring things about in your life. Your focus feeds the part of you that becomes stronger, will endure and eventually take the prize. The question is which prize will you end up with?




To experience the life you desire, feed the wolf of courage, love, enthusiasm, perseverance and tenacity. Feeding the wolf of fear and doubt only assures bringing a life of lack and regret about.

Are you feeding and strengthening the part of you that will go get what you want or the part of you that will let what you want slip away, and thereby end up living a life of tolerations. As stated in the parable above, both are within you. Which one triumphs depends on the one you feed.

Today and for the rest of this week, place your focus on what you want to bring about. It may be closing a sale; taking your client service to a new level; standing up for yourself and your worth by requesting a raise; or deeper connection with your spouse or children.

Get clear about WHY you MUST bring it about. Imagine how your life and the lives of others will be dramatically different three years from now as you achieve what you want. That’s your WHY.

Feed the wolf you want to win with expanding thoughts of courage, confidence, capacity and starve the other by restricting thoughts of doubt, fear, and procrastination.

Anytime fear or overthinking creeps in, do your best to release it and go back to your WHY and take a positive action toward it.

To emphasize how powerful this can be, look back over your life and imagine if you took a small action toward what you wanted every time a fearful thought crept in during your past, how would your life be different today? Fear doesn’t have to mean hiding from something or not taking an action. It can just as easily mean lean into and do something now. Which wolf are you choosing to feed in the moment?

You can create the life you want. Feel the fear and take an action toward what you do want. Make that call. Start writing that blog post. Ask for the raise. Sign up for that class. Start saving or investing the money. Share what you are feeling with a loved one.

It’s risky, or so we think (actually … overthink). The only risk is getting to the end of your life and not having lived the life you wanted by realizing you were feeding the wrong wolf.

Do something about it now by doing something now. Feed the wolf you want to prevail.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

No. 1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonad, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000.


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