There’s a New Wolf in Town

Posted by in Keynote, productivity, Uncategorized, workshops | 2 comments

The sheer speed, volume, and ready access to information, anywhere and anytime presents us with unique unprecedented challenges when it comes to what we choose to ‘feed our psyche.  This, it seems, is the ‘new wolf in town’. Aggressive, cunning, and stealthy, this wolf has an insatiable need for constant stimulation, wreaking havoc on our nervous systems and peace of mind.  This wolf wants us do more, keep busy 24/7 and 365; checking and rechecking  email, texting,  buying the latest whatever, joining social networks (simply to have more ‘friends’) and,  perhaps worst of all, tweeting!

Which wolf will you feed? There’s a parable in which a Cherokee elder is teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth. This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.”

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?” The Cherokee elder replied…The one you feed.”

This simple story makes the point that we can choose to empower hope over fear, kindness and generosity over anger and greed. We are each responsible for the aspect(s) of our consciousness that we feed. Where we give our attention and what we focus on is what tends to dominate our thinking, inform our feelings and shape our behaviors. In other words, what we focus on is what we become.

We have become addicted to feeding this wolf, this attention grabber, robbing of us our ability to focus, connect in a meaningful way, or simply be present. As a result, we are overwhelmed, overstressed and over stimulated. We have access to too much information, too much technology and too many choices. Collectively we suffer from ever increasing rates of attention deficit disorder, obesity, autism and depression.   There is, simply and quite literally, too much of everything and it’s making us sick.

Addiction and Recovery

Drug and alcohol recovery programs teach the foundational principle that ‘the first step to recovery is admitting the problem’.  What does your wolf crave and feed off of? Is it Email, sports, TV, texting, politics, eating too much junk, or marathon internet sessions? What are your modern day techno- addictions?

I’ll admit two wolfs that plague me, constantly on the prowl and in need of taming.  One is my addiction to checking email, the other, watching sports on TV or my computer.  I have written previously about my habit to check email; constantly checking and rechecking, my brain twitching, ‘sending and receiving’.

The other is Football on Sunday, spending too much time at the ‘church of the NFL’.  I could easily spend all day (plus Monday night and sometimes Thursday!) watching the games. I am happy to report that, while not perfect, I am definitely making progress, at least keeping these wolves in check!


Manage the negative images

Those of us old enough to remember will never forget seeing images of the twin towers collapsing on September 11, 2001. Tragic, horrific scenes played and replayed, over and over again, and on every media outlet. It goes without saying that, given the unprecedented and extraordinary nature of what occurred that day, we all wanted to know and try to understand what happened.

For me, however,  there came a point after which I could no longer ‘feed my brain’ the images and sound bites of what it already ingested; a steady consumption of tragic scenes that had taken its toll, leaving me feeling depressed and afraid.   I had learned what I needed to know, beyond that, I had had enough.  I simply needed to stop watching, and I did. ‘


The idea that we could choose to simply stop watching negative images, or, at least, change the channel, although simple, is not always obvious. Remember, the wolf is stealthy and cunning, addictions are just that, addictions!

Proper care and feeding of the psyche

It really does matter what kind of information we feed our brain, what we focus on and what we give our attention to.  There are consequences of that consumption. My hope is that after this reading, you may become more interested in the thinking and science regarding ‘healthy brain habits’. Educating yourself about brain function and the impact of technology on your mental and spiritual well-being is a good step toward improving focus, productivity and your overall quality of life.

How do we properly care for and feed of our brain; what practices we employ in order to increase our ability to focus and give our attention to what matters most?  A good place to start is to think about how you spend your time and what you pay attention to. Here are some ideas that have really helped me:

  • Read! Books and articles that make you feel good or that inspires, or educates you in a meaningful way.
  • Write! Keep a journal, write a poem, make your own greeting card instead of buying one already written for you
  • Connect! Make a conscious effort to connect with people, press beyond any shyness or fear, and radiate love, warmth or positive energy. Focus on your output; don’t worry about what you get in return.
  • Support! Form or join like minded people.  Join a men’s or women’s group, for example. There are many groups of people, socially conscious, and energized to practice what is being said here.
  • Mind and Body! Do what you need to do to take care of your body. Stop the junk food and the sugar. Take it out for a walk; no one is going to save you. Get support if you need it!

The world had changed so dramatically over the past twenty years (the technological revolution) and our brains are simply not equipped to handle the overload or complexity of it all. I’m by no means an expert on any of this. I am simply learning to feed my brain, body and soul what it really needs; positive energy, real connection, healthy food, and the ability to think and feel deeply.


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