This is the extended column from the York Press - June 30th 2014
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
Sometimes it doesn't appear particularly serious, just about the newspaper they read, "Dad always said the others were rubbish." or social niceties, "Mum said, we mustn't..." Though I wonder why they feel unable to have their own grown-up opinions.
Then there are the more serious consequences. Some people appear to be a puppet, with someone else holding the strings. Usually a person from the past,a parent or teacher, but not always. In the worst cases and in my experience the most challenging to treat, were people with Obsessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD). No sooner were a few strings cut, but others were pulled instead. The problems were always about control. The person with OCD appears to have someone in their lives trying to control them. Often this person had been with them through their upbringing and could still have the power to control. Fear is ever present.
If we have doubts about ourselves, we need to examine their root cause. Why don't we feel good enough? Where did those doubts come from? What's their root? Can we have another view? Is it just as valid?
My father could be challenging. He was dogmatic in his beliefs, with disastrous results. I learnt to stand up to him. He never stopped professing his belief that he was right, but towards the end of his life, I managed to get him to preface his comments with a "In my opinion...", even if he said it sarcastically and with a wry smile.
I experienced some heavy criticism about the ideas in my book, from people I respected and who mattered in my working life. I was knocked back and voices from the past about my inadequacies surfaced. Eventually, the passion to write and and publish the book became strong again. I let the good wolf take over my thinking. I don't think the people who opposed me were evil, but I do think that they had they had their own wolves too.
Lesson 6: Whatever you do, always give it a good go. Don’t be afraid of failure and disappointment. If you fall flat on your face then get straight back up. You’ll always regret not trying. Disappointment is temporary, regret is forever.
*Blog extra: I was listening to Peter Jones CBE, the entrepreneur, on the radio. He's 48 and the longest serving member of the TV business ideas programme, Dragon's Den. He was asked about his worst decision. It said it was a financial one when he was in his mid twenties. He went from being a successful business man to a man who had lost everything. Business, home, car, everything.