Thank goodness I was reminded of the Mexican Fisherman story…

A Harvard Business Graduate was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small tired boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several magnificent large yellow fin tuna.

The Graduate complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The Graduate then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

The Graduate then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take 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.”

The Graduate scoffed, “I can help you – I have a PhD from Harvard Business School.”

The future looks brighter…

The Graduate continued: “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. And instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

The Graduate replied, “15 maybe 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The Graduate laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions?…Then what?”

The Graduate 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 siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Finally, the Mexican Fisherman asked the Harvard Business Graduate “Are these PhDs hard to get?”

Now think…

What does this story make you think about? After I read it a few questions sprang to mind…

  • What is the definition of ‘enough’?

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough (yellow fish tuna) to support my family’s needs.” What’s your definition of ‘enough’ so you too can relax a little and enjoy life as it is now.

  • Goals are a proven stepping stone to future success. But only if they take you towards what you want from your life now and in the future. Which of your goals are helping you BOTH enjoy life as it is AND strive for the perfect life you seek?
  • Do we really need to keep up with the Jones’s?

This includes following the whims of magazine articles, succumbing to advertising and accidentally following the consumerist society we live in.

What about reviewing your definition of success (now and in the future) so you can consciously avoid unnecessary pressures just as the fisherman avoids the advice of the Harvard graduate? Another way of asking the same thing is what is my equivalent of “sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos” and how can I do more of it?

What are your answers to these questions? The answers are important (and I would love to see them if you send them to me – I promise to get back to you if you do).

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