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Senior Correspondent

You’ve probably already heard this story:  

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life, and says, “A fight is going on inside me.”  

“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 continues: “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 thinks for a moment and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee wisely says, “The one you feed.”

I love this story, but hadn’t heard it before today. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it applies to virtually every aspect of our lives — how we handle our friendships and our intimate relationships, our jobs or businesses, and yes, even our money.

Let me give you an example. Say you walk up to 50 people and ask, “Would you like to have financial peace of mind?” How many people do you think would say “yes?" (I would be very surprised if the number weren’t near 50, unless they got sidetracked asking what exactly you meant by “financial peace of mind.”)

So, we can start with the premise that no one wants to be in debt. No one wants to lie in bed at night worrying about how to meet the existing bills, or how to be sure one emergency won’t push them over the edge financially, or how to hold on to the savings already accumulated that are at risk of disappearing with the tumultuous economy. No one wants to be poor, broke, cleaned out, in debt up to his or her eyeballs, ducking credit companies and bill collectors. No one wants that.

So what makes the difference between those who reach financial peace of mind and those who do not?

Think of this. There is no lack of information on what is required to get your financial house in order. (The internet is loaded with it.) And there is no dearth of people and services available to you in your community, your church, your library, or your friends and family.

Once again, what is the difference?

Now, I’m not saying that in order to reach financial peace of mind you have to be a goody two-shoes, focused only on love, hope, humility, empathy, and compassion. But I am saying that it’s unlikely you’ll get there from a place of envy, greed, self-pity, or false pride.

Bringing it back to words I use more commonly when I write, to reach financial peace of mind you have to:

  1. Be open to understanding what baggage you bring forward from your childhood as mistaken money messaging, and let it go — no ego, no self-pity, just compassion;
  2. Be willing to look at your financial situation honestly, putting things down in black and white, with no squiggling or squirming — no deceit, no little lies, just truth;
  3. Have clarity about what’s important to you way down deep (as in your life purpose) in order to have the motivation to do everything that’s needed to reach financial security — no anger or arrogance, just pure vision and belief.

Honestly, now. Do you ever hear yourself saying, “I just want all of this mess to disappear, and I don’t want to have to worry about money anymore?" Or, “Why do I work so hard and everyone else seems to be better off than I am?” And then, even if you do come up with a plan that could change everything for you, do you abandon it after three or four days?

Do you find that, no matter how often you talk about it, you seem to be stuck in the same place?

If so, what wolf do you think you’re feeding?

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