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January 10, 2015

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January 10, 2015

Where Are You Going In Life? – The Story of the Business Man and the Mexican Fisherman

January 10, 2015
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the-mexican-fisherman-1-728Photo Credit

We hung out with our best friends on New Year’s Eve.  The hubby starts telling me that there aren’t many things in life that really impacted him, but the story I told him a few weeks before is one that he can’t seem to stop thinking about and reflecting on.

You may have already heard this story before. There are many variations of this story and I can’t find the actual origin of the tale either, but it’s one that I think you should read.  I first read it a couple of years ago and reread it often.  It’s one that I too can’t stop thinking about:

An American tourist meets a Mexican fisherman resting on the shore. He asks him how long he goes to fish everyday”Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican fisherman explained that his approach is to only catch how much ever he and his family needs on that day.

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

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs…I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every
day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City. From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Ten, perhaps twelve years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards?

That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that, you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings having a few drinks and enjoy your friends.”

Why do we do the things that we do?  Do they help us achieve what is really important in life?  Have we even thought about what that might be?  Where are you going in life?  And might you already be there?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about it!

 

14 comments

  1. I love this story every time I read it!

    I wonder how much of it is what everyone else is doing. We all think everyone has an idea of the one right way. Really, we are all just figuring it out as we go!

    I also think we underestimate our risk tolerance. My guess would be because of evolutionary benefits. Hunter gatherers just didn’t have the modern commu city safety nets that we do now!

    1. You’re right Chris. We are all just figuring it out. I took me 38 years to figure out what kind of life I want to live and have. Before that, there really was no thought of the future, but more of just living day by day and trying to get through another day. Living a life I was supposed to live..having the nice car, house, clothes, etc. and working like crazy to have it. It’s crazy how much we’ve changed…our minds were opened up to new possibilities and a new way of living life. And I’ve never been happier!

      1. In my view (which is based on reading other blogs and news reports), I think more people are starting to feel this way. I think the economic downturn forced people to look at an alternative way of living and once they discovered they didn’t need all that stuff, they started shedding it and re-prioritizing what’s important to them. So many people have been living more frugally over the past few years that (for some of us), it’s hard to think of going back to the way things used to be. And also, there is no security in anything anymore. At any time our jobs could be eliminated, our banks could fail, the US dollar could fall, a deadly virus could spread. I mean really! These are uncertain times, so keeping life simple is a good way to deal with that extra stress. How many people blogged about having a simpler holiday this year? A lot! I’m really glad you found a path to happiness. I hope it continues for miles and miles!

        1. Thanks Lorraine! I’m glad that I was able to figure out what makes us happy and what’s important at this stage of our life. My biggest regret is “If only” I had started this journey when we were much younger. We are still young and hopefully have a little while longer on this earth. I’m lucky in that both hubs and I feel the same way. I listen to Dave Ramsey’s show often. And many times, one spouse in on board and the other is not. That would suck!

  2. This is a great story! I think it all goes back to asking what’s really enough. Some people work themselves to death reaching for whatever that means for them. My husband had a few opportunities over the last several years to take promotions that would’ve required him to work a lot more hours and have to deal with a lot more stress. If he had taken one of those jobs, would we be in better shape financially? Maybe, but at what cost? My children and I have enjoyed the time that we have all had together as a family, and that time goes by way too fast! My oldest daughter will probably be moving, not just away from home, but probably out of state next fall. We don’t have any regrets about the precious time we’ve been able to spend with her.

    1. Your so right Kimberly. Most of us don’t know and don’t even think about what’s ENOUGH. I’m glad you guys chose family & life over money. That is one thing you won’t regret on your dying bed! 🙂

  3. That is one good thing about selling on Ebay. You can work as much or as little as you want when you want to. I basically took a vacay for the past five weeks to spend time with visiting family–something I could not have done with a “real job”. My sales slowed to a trickle. But now I am excited about ramping up again. It was good for me to get away for a while.

    1. That is awesome Linda! I do the same thing with the studio. I closed a few days before Christmas and this past Monday (1/12) was my first day back. At least I have that flexibility there as I work by appointment only. But I am being called back home and hope to be there in the next couple of years. Hopefully I’ll have built up my store by then.

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