The dog and the wolf
Blog Post | Jul 16th, 2021
The Dog and The Wolf
One of Aesop's Fables
A tired, famished wolf is out on the prowl one night, searching the woods for his meal once again like he has always done. Lately, he has had some trouble getting the nourishment he needs, having to stay up late and work extra hard for mere scraps that barely keep him alive. Wolf is expecially frustrated because he is so close... chicken coops and barns full of sheep and goats abound, but unfortunately all of these food sources are closely guarded by well-trained guard dogs, their very job being to keep the wolves and other predators away.
On this night, a well fed, well-groomed and quite content looking domesticated guard dog wanders away from his station with the other dogs, perhaps a bit too far into the woods. Here, the dog encounters the wolf.
"I could eat you right now", the wolf said. "But I'm curious, how is it that you are this way? We are so similar, yet you are fat and content and I am so skinny?"
Now, it's not for certain if the wolf would have beaten the dog in a fight. If they were to fight, both winner and loser would surely end up with deep and bloody wounds.
"You can be as well fed as I am," said the dog. "You look miserable and you need to eat. You shouldn't have to fight so hard for every bite of food. Leave the woods. Come, I will show you the way."
"What must I do?" asked the wolf.
"Hardly anything at all. Bark and growl away predators from the barn and coops. Chase off strange people. Comfort the people in the house. It is easy."
This proposition sounded amazing to the wolf. The dog's invitation was so heartening that he nearly wept. Why had he been out struggling in the woods all this time when he could be living the cushy life of a dog? Perhaps this is is great opportunity.
Just then, the wolf noticed a patch of bare skin on the back of the dog's neck. It appeared that some of the dog's fur had been chafed away.
"What's that on your neck?" asked the wolf.
"Oh, it's nothing, really."
"I really don't mind it. It doesn't bother me."
"I'm curious, though. What is it?"
"Oh, well this is caused by the collar that goes around my neck. The collar that attaches to my chain."
"Chain? What do you mean, chain? Don't you go where you please?" asked the wolf.
"Not always! But what's the difference? I'm always well fed, and I live a secure life. I am happy."
"It makes all the difference in the world," relpied the dog. "I wouldn't trade a barn full of lambs or a coop full of chickens, no matter how tempting, for the price of my freedom."
And the wolf dashed off into the night.
Live free or die
Many entrepreneurs will be able to relate to the wolf. They would rather work for themselves than work at someone else's company. Likewise, there are plenty of good reasons for a person to live the dog's life. Comfort, security, nourishment... these things are important.
Why would a wolf rather starve than trade his freedom and beholden to a master? Why do some people feel this so intensely while others are fine with the dog's life?
We all have our reasons
We are all motivated by different things. Some are always in it for money. Others seek recognition and approval. Many simply desire safety and security for their loved ones.
Our wolf here is motivated by freedom. To him, potential trade-offs like money, recognition, and belonging are not worth the value he places on freedom.
A different approach is needed
The Wolf and the Dog is a child's fable, simple by design so a young person can understand and gain some value from the story. Here in this blog, I write about business, coding, entrepreneurship, creativity, and consumer behavior.
Does reading this story add value to our discussions about behavior, motivation, and entrepreneurship? While the warning to guard your freedom is valid, does the telling of this story create an unnecessary division between small businesses and big corporations?
In the story, the wolf is not scared off by the dog's bark, but instead, in a way, runs off in fear of losing his freedom. Perhaps, as the story implies, the wolf really is so set on his way of being free that he feels compelled to simply run off. Or, maybe he really wonders if the trade-off is really worth his struggles. At the same time, the dog in this story has wandered off without his chain. Why? Does he crave the wolf's freedom?
Let's rewrite the ending
This story needs a new ending. Let's rewrite the ending in the reddit!
The way I see it, both the dog and the wolf will continue their behavior in perpetuity. The wolf won't find an easy meal, and the dog won't get to experience the freedom he craves.
What alternative solution might better suit either or both of these characters?
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