We will start with a fable…
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.”
This is true of all of us. We just need to make sure we feed the right wolf.
We all have people that we look up to and admire, that we think have real personal strength and will power – people who have got it all sussed, they are in control and they are getting things done. But, they will also have negative sides to their personality, those voices in their head that tell them they can’t do it – no-one is without demons.
Rick was telling me a few days ago that the boxer Tyson Fury is fast becoming someone that he holds in high esteem, after reading his biography. Once upon a time, many people probably thought that Tyson Fury wasn’t that nice, a loud mouth with a record for doping and drug use. However, in more recent times, he has opened up about his struggles with his mental health and drugs. He vacated his world boxing titles, which shows a huge amount of respect for the boxing community, as he knew he wasn’t fit to defend his titles in the ring. Not long after he lost his boxing licence. Some two years later, after no doubt spending some time in some dark places, Tyson Fury returned, having lost nine stones in weight, and back to full fitness, after submitting to a brutal training camp to get him back in the ring. This whole process took 2 years. You can imagine the mental strength and resolve that would have taken to get back to being a contender for a belt again.
There are a number of people in the public eye, who I respect. The first is the popstar, Pink, who has just donated half a million dollars to the fire services in Australia, to help combat the bushfires. Not only is she incredibly kind, but she also has her head screwed on, is a fantastic female role model, and is so physically fit and strong, it’s incredible. I am yet to see her in concert, but I believe her performances of acrobatics are unforgettable.
Greta Thunberg isn’t known for her physical strength, but her tenacity and dedication to educating people about climate change and changing the perceptions and behaviours of our entire society is really something else. I think she will be an interesting person to follow in the future. She is currently only 17, so who knows what she is capable of.
Nelson Mandela is another one of Rick’s idols. A man who was imprisoned for 27 years because of his fight for civil rights. He was an intelligent man, a law graduate who opened up the first black law firm in South Africa to represent black people, who had broken apartheid laws. He was impassioned by the inequalities faced by the black people of South Africa and over many, many years fought to have apartheid abolished. Finally succeeding in 1994 when he became South Africa’s first black president. Nelson Mandela has many, many great qualities, tenacity, courage, faith, strong-minded… the list goes on.
What about you?
All of these people are just like you and me, they are human beings, because no-one is perfect 100% of the time. They will all have days when they don’t believe in themselves, when they just can’t be bothered, but they don’t let those demons take over. Much like the tale of the two wolves, they spend time feeding the good wolf, to make it stronger.
Think about your heroes. Why are they your heroes? What qualities do you see in them that make you respect them and where do the similarities lie with you? What are you also capable of that your hero demonstrates?
Be your own hero, be the best version of yourself with every decision that you make, feed the positive wolf inside you. When you can’t be bothered to prep your lunch for work, prep it anyway. When you don’t want to go out into the cold and wet for a walk or a run, get your coat on, pull up your hood and go anyway. When the bottle of wine is calling after a hard day, leave it in the cupboard or the shop and go and do a workout instead – you will feel much better for it. When you want to just put a pizza in the oven or order take out and scroll Facebook instead of getting on with making a healthy evening meal, put your phone down and crack on with that healthy tea anyway.
Stop feeding that negative wolf inside you. Stop telling yourself that you have no will power, that you can’t do this. Because you have and you can, you just have to start. Start to feed the good wolf inside you until he gets so strong that the bad wolf cowers in his presence.
So to answer the title of this article ‘Am I strong enough?’ Yes you absolutely are, you just have to practice!
Channel the strength and tenacity of your own heroes and feed that good wolf inside you, with every decision you make. Don’t listen to the negative voices inside your head – ignore them, and get on with being the best that you can be.