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I came across this phrase somewhere around ten years ago in college, while digging through the internet for a research paper that I was writing. Feed the right wolf. I can almost guarantee that I was procrastinating the writing part of my paper. I was, likely, leaping after the frog that was my curiosity-fueled, attention-averted span.

Ten years later though – I think of it often.

Feed the right wolf.

I still feel something leap inside of my psyche each time that I re-read it – simultaneously subtle and seismic.

If you give the phrase a cursory search on Google, you will essentially find a story. It is an old Cherokee story that consists of a conversation between a boy and his grandfather concerning life. The grandfather tells the boy that a fight goes on in his spirit between two wolves, and that the very same fight goes on in each person.

Is there a fight in you? Look back at your 2016 for a moment, objectively.

What were your moments when you went forward?

Promotion at work? Created a budget? Addressed poor eating habits? Proposed? Called your parents? Traveled somewhere on your bucket list? Got outside of your comfort zone? Made more time for your kids? Got more sleep? Pursued sobriety? Took a risk? A new PR? Forgave someone who hurt you?

One wolf.

What were your moments when you went backward or got stuck and stayed there?

The other wolf.

One wolf is a thief. It steals our time, our emotional strength, our physical health. It keeps our world from growing and gaining momentum. It holds us back from being the truest and best version of ourselves. It shuts out our potential. It can lull us to sleep.

It keeps us from moving forward.

I grew and moved forward this last year in a couple of the ways that I had hoped to. My credit score went up, I saw huge improvement in my athleticism (I went from being unable to do bar muscle-ups, pistols, or handstand pushups – to being able to do all of those well. Not being able to RX anything to being able to take on RX+ in several WODs). I traveled more than I deserved or could have expected (LA twice, Wyoming twice, Hawaii once, SFO three times, Atlanta once). I earned a face-to-face interview with a really awesome company – beating out 68,000 other potential candidates to get there.

One wolf.

This last year, I also cussed at my brother on the job site, and had an awful attitude about work for months. I talked to my dad less than I’ve talked to him any year before. I neglected saving a single penny like I vowed too. I leaned on other people more than was appropriate. I hurt someone I was close to by not being honest with them. I was more defensive than ever. I re-made poor choices that had cost me a lot in the past – which in turn caused me to miss out on some really fun opportunities with my best friends. I held on to being bitter a lot longer than I should have.

The other wolf.

We are about to crash headlong into 2017, and I am abundantly aware that I will be taking myself into the New Year with me.

It isn’t “New Year, new you” it is “New Year, exact same you.

New Year, same wolves.

For me – for us – for the boy -the question becomes…

“Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee’s simple answer?

“The one you feed’.”


wordpress-headerI’m Wyoming born and a novice content creator. I moved to NorCal to be near family and enjoy the West Coast. I’m a diverse guy with a ton of energy invested in creative efforts as well as  hospitality, mowing lawns, making coffee, church, classical piano, Instagram, some construction and now CrossFit. I like to think I’m a caring and deep person. You tell me. ENFP. LOTR. Wanderlust and kindness are my heartbeat. You’ll see me helping with social media for PCCF and writing the occasional blog. Follow me @shadlemert  🙂 oh  yeah…and the new Bon Iver album is the s**t