Do I really need more? Learning to love what I have.
The Mexican Fisherman
The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked, “How long does it take to catch all of those?” The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”
The businessman then asked, “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican replied, “I’ve got plenty to support my family right now.” “What do you do with the rest of your time?”, inquired the businessman. The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA, and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”
What is the moral of the story? Chasing after more isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Think through how you want your life to look like eventually, then see if there is a way to make that your reality today.
Edit: Many of you have pointed out that this fisherman is failing to plan for the future, for times when he may not be able to fish. That is very true, and I believe that saving up for hard times and being intentional about the future is critical for long-term happiness, as you’ll see in the other articles on my blog. The point I was trying to make was not that you shouldn’t do these things, but that chasing after more and more stuff isn’t always the best idea. You should develop successful habits today so that your future is more enjoyable. Just don’t forget to sit back and be thankful and enjoy what you have today.