Let’s begin with the story below:

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The Fisherman and The Businessman

A very successful 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 yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied with a wide grin across his face and explains that he only fishes for about three hours every day.

Dumbfounded, the businessman asked the fisherman why he didn’t stay out longer and continue catching more fish. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman, “you should be working harder and catch more fish!”

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The businessman 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 a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; after that I’ll relax on the beach sir.”

Now the rich businessman figures he needs to teach this fisherman a thing or two. He 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.”

“But what then, sir?” asked the fisherman.

A little irritated with the fisherman’s question, the businessman replied, “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 sir, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, sir?”

Getting angrier, the businessman raised his voice, “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, sir? Then what?”

Now the businessman was red with rage and yelled, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You would then retire and 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. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up, nodded and said, “And what do you think I am doing now?”

The fisherman then looked at the blue sea, with his pole in the water, without a care in the world.

*****

Now, what’s the moral of this story? Why am I sharing this story with you? This is of course not advocating working less or being a slacker. Working hard and earning a decent living is important, but so is having a balanced life. I have seen many top level people busily climbing the corporate ladder and forgetting the very reason they work. Some do so at the expense of spending the time of their loved one, some sacrificing health due to constant stress and long hours, and some just had their life totally out of balance.

I once heard this question “why do we work?” and the answer is… “we work so that we can stop working!” How true!

Please take a moment to think about what matters most to you, what do you want to do if there is no restriction on time and money, and who do you want to share it with, go ahead and dream for a while….

I mean it, so stop reading now and dream….

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OK, I actually think that you can do these things you wanted to do even today, at least most of them. But maybe it is not your priority now. I am not suggesting that you blow all your money travelling if that is all you wanted to do. But do take time to enjoy. Do you really have to wait for “that day when I retire”?

If you work for someone, take it seriously, but don’t take it as if it is the only serious thing. (If you work for yourself, you are already taking it seriously! 🙂 ).

Ralph Waldo Emerson defined success in a simple life well lived as:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of
intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the
appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in
others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social
condition; to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Enjoy the life journey, and appreciate every little thing around you!

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