Which Dog Will You Feed?

I heard an echo (something you hear again) from the past a few days ago. From my childhood, actually.

When I was young, I remember hearing a story – first told, I believe, by a religious leader named Billy Graham – about a fisherman who used to bring his two dogs – one white, one black – to town every Saturday afternoon. He had taught the dogs to begin fighting whenever he told them to. The town-people would make bets (pay money to say) on which dog would win. One Saturday the black dog would win. The next Saturday the white dog would win. And the fisherman always won!

One day one of his friends asked how he always knew which dog would win. “It’s easy,” he replied, “I starve (don’t feed) one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger.”

The way I heard the story is that we all have both good and bad in us. The part we feed will dominate (control) us.

I heard an echo of that story a few days ago while reading a blog post by Seth Godin. Godin is a really smart guy. He’s written 18 best-selling books, started two businesses, and writes a daily blog followed by many.*

What I like about Godin, and the biggest reason I read his blog, is that he is also wise: he has good sense (understands what is important) and judgement (ability to make good decisions) that he’s learned from his many life experiences.

In his blog post, Godin suggests making two lists on two pieces of paper. The first is a list of negatives – people who don’t like you, bad things that have happened to you in the past, bad situations that you’re experiencing now, and things like that.

The second is a list of positives – like things you know, good experiences that you’ve had, people who trust you, what’s working for you now, and what’s worked for you in the past.

Godin says, “It’s all real” – good and bad. “Don’t hold back (hesitate).” In other words, write it all down.

When you finish the two lists, Godin says to choose one of them and put it somewhere you won’t see it. Once a week, take it out and look at it. Put the second list somewhere you can see it and read it every day.

Godin writes that the daily list will determine what you notice, what you think about, and how you think about what happens to you day by day. The choice is yours. Which list will you put where?

Personal note: The next few months are going to be very busy for me, so I’m going to be taking a break, at least until the end of September. Hope you have a great summer!

~ Warren Ediger, ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

* Editor’s note: Godin’s blog is so popular, you can find it by just typing “Seth” into the U.S.’s Google search engine.

Photo found on Etsy.



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3 Responses to Which Dog Will You Feed?

  1. lili:) says:

    Dear Warren

    Thank you for the excellent post above. I’m indebted to you and everyone in ESLPOD.com. Everyone I mean everyone including, Jeff, Lucy, Warren, all the good guys behind as supporting staff, and all the wonderful blog writers like Emiliano, Peter, Mary, Tania and Dan who hasn’t written for a long time and numerous other people who wrote before.

    It is a shame that I can’t hear Jeff and Lucy’s voice when I visit this website now because of the new arrangement. Lucky for me I still have some podcasts saved from last time so I listen to them whenever I feel I need to because as I said before Jeff and Lucy’s voices are my medicine.

    Warren are you going to be very busy because you have foreign students coming to learn English from you over the Summer holiday? I am trying to save money in order that I can go to US to learn English as a retiree. Might be one day I’ll knock on your door and beg you to take my as an English student. I hope you’ll take me out to do biking as well.

    Anyway, all the best wishes to you Warren and please come back soon.


  2. emiliano says:

    Incredible Lili is here again, what have we done to have her again?
    Just a good question indeed.

    Lily always in my memory for ever has it for sure.
    May be the one who is going to Hong Kong some day could be emiliano
    and he will knock yout door and say, he Lili here is emiliano, how are
    you my friend?.
    Just the best for you dear nice and kind friend.


  3. emiliano says:

    Sorry again, “have it for sure” my dear friend……
    Mistakes always, it is just my way of doing things
    not reading what I write.

    My memory is full of Lili writings that me and all
    have missed for long.

    Again, the best for you dear Chinese incredible nice
    educated and good friend person.


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