A grandfather shares with his grandson that there are two wolves inside of us which are always at battle.
The first represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The second represents things like greed, hatred, fear and regret.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandpa, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”
So here’s a little exercise for you, inspired by Mr. Seth Godin:
Fill the first with all of your complaints.
Write down all the times you’ve been treated unfairly, the bad breaks, and unfortunate outcomes. They’re valid complaints, get them all out.
- Exhibitions you should have been in.
- The painting studio you couldn’t get into
- The time you lost in your studio because your kid was sick.
- The gallery that lost your paintings.
- That year when it seemed like everything went wrong.
- The college debt you just couldn’t get yourself out from under.
- That stupid boss and that stupid job you couldn’t leave.
- That stupid job that left you exhausted and unable to paint.
- The artist “friend” who stole your idea
- Write them ALL down.
- Every. Single. One of them.
Next, write down all of your privileges, advantages, and opportunities.
Write every reason you have to be proud of yourself, the moments big and small when you were courageous.
- Your health, and the fact that you can still pick up a paintbrush.
- Your eyes that allow you to see beauty in the world.
- Your soul that demands that you share that beauty.
- Your parents and all the lessons they taught you- both intentionally and unintentionally.
- The teacher who taught you how to read and write so that you could make this list.
- All the knowledge you have accumulated in your lifetime.
- All the hours you’ve been able to put it into practice.
- The masters who have come before you; the shoulders of giants on which you now stand.
- Your untapped resources.
- Your unique perspective that is yours and yours alone.
- Your stubborn, insatiable desire to paint.
- Get another piece of paper and keep writing.
- People who love you.
- People who trust you.
- People who believe in you.
- The culture and community you were born into.
- The certainty that you will always have enough to eat.
- Keep writing….
Earlier this week, I wrote about how the people we surround ourselves with can deeply affect our behavior and mood.
It can be the force that lifts you up when you’re feeling defeated. The right community can spark new ideas to paint, inspire a technique, or help you connect the dots that lead you to innovation in that series you’ve been wanting to create.
Your community can also sabotage you. Afraid that the changes you’re making might lift you up to new heights and leave them behind, they’ll confirm your doubts and fears, pouring gasoline onto the fire. Convinced themselves, that it’s for your protection, they’ll add their own worries and fears to yours. Misery loves company.
Who you spend your time with matters. But what also matter is-
Are you good company to yourself?
Looking at your two lists, which do you spend more time with in your thoughts?
Which one do you feed?
Every day you get to decide.
It’s the most important decision you will make all day.