Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Mexican Fisherman

An American businessman on vacation stood at the pier of a small fishing village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat was a large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on his catch and asked him how long it took to catch it. The fisherman replied, "Not long, señor, only a little while."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" The Mexican said that the one fish was enough to support his family's modest needs. The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman replied, I sleep till the middle of the morning, fish till noon, take a siesta with my wife, Maria. Then I play with my children in the afternoon. After dinner, I stroll into the village where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and rewarding life, señor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Columbia MBA and I want to help you. Listen to what I have to tell you. Spend more time fishing and catch more fish. With the extra money you make you can buy your family more stuff. You will be able to afford a bigger boat and with it you'll make enough to buy more boats. Eventually you'll have a whole fleet. Instead of selling your fish to the middleman you can sell directly to the processor, and with the extra profits you can open your own cannery. With this money you could control the catch, the processing, the distribution. You could move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and finally to New York City where you can run your fishing empire.

The fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will all this take?"

"Twenty years, maybe," the American replied. "You'll be a wealthy man."

"But what then, señor?"

The American stifled a laugh and said, "That's the whole point. When the time is right, you can announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become extremely wealthy, a billionaire."

"A billionaire? Then what?"

Triumphantly, the American replied, "With a billion you can safely retire. You could afford to move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep till mid morning, fish a little, have a siesta, play with your grandkids, and stroll into the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."

–Author unknown


cryogenetics said...

I love that! If we could just stop and realize what amazing things and what amazing lives we have, instead of chasing more!
Thanks for that one Mr. Gurney.

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

You're welcome! You know, I think Sonoma County is as close to a paradise as you can find. To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversay, my wife and I took a spendy bicycle vacation far from here. More often than not, we'd say, "You know what? This place isn't any nicer than Sonoma County."

If only we could keep our greed in check like that Mexican fisherman.

Culmom37 said...

A story like this really helps to put your priorities in perspective. More often than not, it takes a tragedy of some sort to put things in perspective in your life. Within the past month, I have had two major incidents that have really made me think about what is most important in life and what is not.

First, my 46 year old neighbor passed away from flu complications. He was a loving father and husband who had so many interests in life. He was just recently given the ability to follow some of his dreams, but unfortunately he will never be able to see them.

Second, my 38 year old brother suffered a stroke. Aside from my husband and children, my brother is my everything. He was the one I adored and looked up to growing up. He never let me down and was always there for me as a kid when I needed to feel safe and protected. I could go to him for anything. I could go on and on about how special my brother is to me, but there are not enough words to describe my love for him. It is so difficult and emotional to see him struggle right now. He will get better...he has to.

These two incidents have really shaken me up. Every single day I am truly grateful for what I have in my life, not the things I own. I will never take my loved ones for granted again.

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Culmom, thank you for sharing this! I'm sorry you've had so many challenges with your brother and neighbor. Wow. You've been reminded of the importance of relationships.

Each and every morning I pause to remember that, like everyone else on this planet, I'm going to die some day. It could be this very day. You just don't know.

At first blush, reminding oneself of one's mortality seems awfully grim, awfully morbid. Why start off the day with a "downer" thought?

Well, one reason is that death is a sure thing. Funny. The one thing we can count on is that we're going to die. So we might as well make friends with this completely reliable fact.

Remembering my mortality is not so different from remembering the preciousness of life. It wakes me up. Wide.

Then I go forth and live life with that awareness refreshed daily. It helps me be who I want to be. It turns out to be a good way to live. If I do live to the end of the day, I feel grateful. Also I've increased the likelihood that I've treated the ALL people my life the way I would like to be treated. I've lived the ethical life I want to live.

Forgetting your mortality is forgetting the preciousness of life and allowing yourself to sleep through your precious finite life. If you're not careful you'll care about things of no consequence, like what's on TV.

lisajeanne said...

Great story, thanks for sharing! When I went to Mexico I was incredibly impressed with how happy the people were who had very little and how much they seemed to enjoy life. I would love to live there someday. Or even better live here with that lifestyle, it would be difficult though!

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Hi Lisajeanne,

Living that kind of life in the USA isn't easy. Big step in the right direction is to kick the TV right out of your house. Along with it goes all those clever advertisements trying to stimulate your greed for junk you don't need while they steal what's most precious: your time.