As many of you know my son is a melancholy of melancholies (nerd… and I don’t know where he gets it from), and he and I will often learn many useless facts by watching National Geographic on the Animal Channel. Just so happens the other night I was up late watching a documentary on the Wolves of Yellowstone National Park and it was fascinating if you share in “nerd-ology” with me. The documentary chronicled a pack of wolves for several years as they learned to survive and thrive in the brutal weather conditions of the park. This pack of wolves had to fight nature, other wolves, humans encroaching on their habitat, bears stealing their food, lean food sources, sickness and genetic deficiencies, and not to mention status and peer pressure as a bonus. I watched in awe of their “dogged” determination and will to survive. These wolves learned to hunt in packs to bring down enormous Elk and other game by literally chasing them to death. Their stamina and persistence were inspiring and it caused me to reflect upon our survival pedigree. Just how much are you and I willing to pursue excellence as if our lives depended upon it? Because in the America of the near future our lives may well depend on our ability to persist, and our stamina in pursuit of excellence. We can learn from these wolves a great deal about purpose, because what they do instinctively we must learn to do through discipline.
One wolf in particular was the star of the show. His name was “black wolf” because he was, well black I guess… As the show started Black wolf was just being booted from the pack by his dad wolf to start a life of his own. This is a dangerous time for wolves, because some hard-headed wolves don’t not learn to hunt and eventually starve to death in the survival of the fittest wilderness. Black Wolf (BW for short), was one of the litter that his parents had to figure would not make it. His brother was strong soon earned respect from another pack by fighting for a position and becoming the Alpha male or BIG DOG. BW on the other hand wandered aimlessly being chased away from every pack with his tail between his legs. BW would have been killed, but he was such a coward that he would run to the dangerous road were cars traveled and the other wolves would not dare to cross the road to kill him. BW lived in this miserable existence for several years trying to find his way. His instinct told him that he was created to be an Alpha Male and mate with the females, but every time he would cross the road, fear would cause him to run and not fight. He would occasionally get a glimpse of his dream by mating with a loose female wolf, but for the most part they didn’t respect him as a provider enough to mate for life.
BW’s big brother eventually had mercy on the young vagabond and allowed him to join his pack, and mate with a few females. After a few more years of this subsidized lifestyle BW went backwards and became a burden on the pack as opposed to an asset. His brother was now hunting and providing for his children as well as BW’s kid wolves, and over time this actually weakened the provider so much so that the entire pack was run off from their lush hunting grounds by a rival pack of wolves. Now things were really bad, the litters could not survive the winter and most starved to death. BW ran off again to the road and languished in the false sense of security that it provided. Again a few years pass, and BW learned to hunt and kill for himself, he eventually through hard work summoned up enough courage to crossed the road to face his fears. This time he fought for his right to be an Alpha Male and leader of the pack, and won. The spring came, and he father several litters of pups, and they grew strong because of his hunting and protection. Eventually the pack returned with BW in the lead to re-claim their hunting grounds and drive out all rivals. BW had through time, hard work, and determination moved from dependence, to independence, to interdependence, and his dream of being an Alpha Male had finally been realized. The commentator tracked these wolves for 10 years, and BW’s reign as BIG DOG was one of the longest in the history of the park.
As I sat watching this story unfold, I was intrigued by just how much our lives can parallel nature. Just like BW we can all be a little immature as children, and many of us ignore the wisdom of our parents only to find ourselves wishing we had listened. Soon life begins to get a little rough, and our natural tendency is to look for assistance and not independence. Peter Senge talks about this phenomenon in his book the Fifth Discipline. He calls it from good to worse. Social assistance seems good in the early stages, but over time the assistance only helped to further cripple BW, and destroy the strength of the pack. We too have to learn how to be independent enough to provide for ourselves, and face the giants of our own making in order to destroy them. Life has a way of forcing us to eventually “cross the road” and fight, and LIFE is a great vehicle for uncovering the fact that there is a road that must be crossed. I am constantly amazed at the discipline of the LIFE leaders and their unrelenting commitment to never lowering the bar of excellence. Championships demand that we put in the work to develop the skills necessary to survive, and then jump back into the pack to help others.
This LIFE Training System is the best in the world at developing lone wolves into Alpha’s, and we are blessed to get an opportunity to “cross the road” daily to build this community. On our way to a million people we will have many obstacles and enemies to overcome, but just like BW, in the end it will all be worth it! As the documentary went off, in classic dramatic fashion, the sun set over the beautiful Yellowstone Park, and there on the top of a rock cliff stood BW, howling to the world saying I am not a failure, I was designed to be an Alpha Male, and everyone of my detractors were wrong… I am not a coward… I do not live across the road in fear anymore, this is my destiny! It matters not how you start, but how will you finish? How will history remember your story? Are you an Alpha DOG?