Monday, January 2, 2012

Why are there Two Wolves?

Cherokee Fable Points to Serious Design Flaw

I received a letter recently, from someone whom I care about. It was not a happy letter; it was quite critical of me. That's all I'll say about it, because, interestingly, it's not the content of the letter that bothers me.

I'm actually puzzling about my reaction to it. I don't feel hurt, particularly (OK, if I'm honest, I do feel a little hurt, although not that long ago I might have been devastated). 

No, rather I'm pondering why a constructive reaction is not my first impulse.

It's a simple thing. You get negative feedback. What do you do? Fire back a tightly-worded counter-attack? Sure seems like it would feel good. But what purpose would it serve?

Or, do you construct a delicately-worded response designed to soothe and engage with love and compassion?

Sounds like the later would be the better option.

So why does the former beckon?

I'm reminded of the old Cherokee story of the Grandfather who counsels his grandson about the two wolves fighting inside him - the "good wolf" and the "angry wolf". The grandson asks which one wins. Grandfather replies, "The one I feed."

It's a beautiful tale, and among many on the web, this version matches what I remember from my childhood.

But what I really want to know is - Why are there two wolves?

Seems like a bad design to me.

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