Are you a Sheep or Wolf-

 

“The world is full of sheep and wolves.  To protect the sheep you need to learn to fight like a wolf.”

This last week I had the opportunity to participate in a unique four day survival course that my wife and I hosted at our property, Liberty Ridge Ranch.  The course was instructed by some of our military’s finest from the US Special Forces, Navy Seals, and Delta Force.  My good friend Omar Hamada, MD, a veteran Major of the US Army Special Forces, developed the unique survival course along with several other elite US military professionals. 

Having just completed the construction of our new 2A Shooting Range, designed by one of the Special Forces operators, I was personally excited to not only host the program, but to also participate in it.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a prolonged period of firing a 9mm Glock 19, learning many other basic survival skills and spending four days with our nation’s finest?  So many things stood out from the course and perhaps I’ll take some time in another post to share them, but the opening statement above made a deep impression on me.  I’ll reiterate it here again:

“The world is full of sheep and wolves.  To protect the sheep you need to learn to fight like a wolf.”

To understand this quote, it’s important to identify some of the traits of sheep:

Sheep tend to follow other sheep.
Sheep are instinctively fearful.
Sheep like the familiar and resist change.
Sheep are not very intelligent.
Sheep have no sense of direction.
Sheep are defenseless.
Sheep are weak.
Sheep walk ignorantly to their death.

While sheep certainly have some positive qualities as well, for purposes of this post I’m focused on the traits above.   

On the other hand, wolves have the following characteristics:

Wolves are swift runners, reaching speeds of up to 25 mph.
Wolves are well equipped for hunting.
Wolves have a keen sense of smell, able to track their prey up to 300 yards away.
Wolves are not intimidated by animals larger than themselves and regularly hunt and kill animals many times their size.
Wolves are well equipped for the harshest of environments.
Wolves have a good sense of direction and maintain control over their territories.

As I consider the various characteristics of both these animals, I think there is a lot we can learn from them for many different areas of our life.

Personal

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are closer to sheep than wolves.  Many people are quite comfortable following others.  They are seldom critical thinkers and are normally unwilling to contradict the popular beliefs, attitudes or accepted norms.  Fear is a common quality amongst most people resulting in them being unwilling to speak up or stand for unpopular beliefs.  They are quite comfortable with the status quo.  And truthfully, many folks are unwilling to continue to grow intellectually.  It’s not that they are incapable.  They just settle into the rut of living and don’t seek to grow beyond that rut.  All too often people wander through life, unsure where they are going, and unwilling to set goals and strive for them.  And sadly, so many folks are unable or unwilling to defend themselves from real or potential threats, if they are confronted with them.  

While all of these traits don’t apply uniformly or completely to all, I believe that too many Americans today reflect a disproportionate number of these traits.  Because of this reality, it’s incumbent that some learn to develop the qualities of wolves, including the ability to fight as them.  Equipping ourselves for the variety of threats that could surface at any given moment is a critical trait of a wolf.  Alertness to either our present surroundings, or trends that are developing, are a way that we can detect what may be over the figurative horizon.  By doing so we will not only mitigate the threat to us personally but also to those we love and care for, who embrace sheep-like qualities.

Business

In business, we find many sheep-like folks as well.  Too often employees, managers and even owners can settle into the rut.  Their aspirations falter.  Their dreams die.  And they fear change, risk and what others might think.  As a result, what they might have achieved falls by the way side. 

Meanwhile, the wolves in business, are all too willing and eager to pursue their symbolic prey, the goals they have set for themselves, their career or their business.  They understand that the hunt will be difficult, tiring and even fraught with instances of failure.  But they continue to press on, knowing that the one who doesn’t win is the one who never starts or simply gives up.  For wolves, failure is merely one step closer to success.  And through it all, the “wolf” style business person maintains a keen sense of direction and focus.  He is not overcome by the size of the struggles but rather he rallies his “pack” to help him in defeating the struggles.   

So while the sheep are easy prey and too often lose in business, the wolf is smart, keen, strategic and unstoppable, resulting in the business success he seeks.

Preparedness

In my recent article entitled “The Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on the Titanic: Our Response” I addressed the coming collapse and disaster that is front and center for America.  While the facts seem incontrovertible, the vast majority of Americans are behaving as sheep.  Sadly, just a few of our citizens exhibit the traits of a wolf.  If there is ever a time when America needs wolves it is now.  Yet, human nature exudes sheep-like qualities. Thus while the wolves prepare, the sheep will not. 

So when that day arrives you and your family can be prepared, to not only weather the storm, but to also reach out to the sheep in your life who were too fearful to acknowledge, too oblivious to discern, or too weak to prepare.  And in so doing, you can be a wolf that will ultimately protect those sheep around you who might have been providentially placed in your care.

So, I encourage you to regularly analyze your thoughts and behavior through the question “Are you a sheep or wolf?” and to seek to embrace the traits of a wolf, in your personal and business life.

Mark

References:
schoolworkhelper.net/wolves-habitat-characteristics-behaviors/
www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_8.htm
www.preacherscorner.org/sheep2.htm
Photo credits:
Wolf: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_erika8213′>erika8213 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Sheep: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_mihaitamasila’>mihaitamasila / 123RF Stock Photo</a>