Cherokee Story of Two Wolves Explains Life

By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International
Takeaways: We all have two wolves inside us fighting for attention. The one you feed, give in to, is the one that wins the battle. By using a systems thinking process to think through difficult or challenging circumstances, you can focus on feeding the right wolf.

Here’s a thought-provoking Cherokee story of two wolves we should all keep in mind.  It’s applicable to our personal as well as work lives.

TwowolvesOne evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil –  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. “The other is Good –  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for some time and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


Which wolf do you feed? The angry, jealous one? Or the joyful, loving one? Think about that when you find yourself getting upset about a project, directive from your boss, or a personal situation. 

Before giving in to that anger or resentment, take a page from the Systems Thinking book and ask yourself: What might be the outcomes if you fed the other wolf? What might be possible if you look at the issue or assignment from a different perspective?  Who else might you involve to help with the project? Would that make the project easier and more enjoyable to work on?

Take a deep breath, pause, and then write down your answers to those questions. You’ll find your Evil Wolf quieting down while your Good Wolf begins to take center stage. And then you may even begin to generate some creative ideas for ways to tackle the project that you hadn’t initially considered because the Evil Wolf had reared its head.

Let me know how this works for you: jdenniston[at]


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