Regarding the topic of the last post, I always remember the old story of the fisherman and the executive:
A powerful executive was walking along the beach in a small coastal village, taking a much needed vacation. It was his first in more than 10 years. He noticed a small boat with just one fisherman pulling up to shore. Inside the small boat were several large fish. The executive complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, “Not very long.”
The executive then asked, “Then why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
To which the fisherman responded, “I have enough to support my family.”
“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” the executive asked.
The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos.”
The executive quickly interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and 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. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would then of course need to leave this village and move to the big city and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman then asked, “But how long will all this take?”
To which the executive replied, “Twenty, maybe 25 years.”
“And after that?” the fisherman asked.
“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the executive, laughing. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”
“Millions? Really? Then what?”
“Then you could finally retire and move to a small coastal fishing village! There you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you would sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
For me this story had a powerful impact and made me realize what is really important.
Before you get me wrong, I’m not bashing on achievements, or striving for wealth and so forth. I’ve pursued – and continue to do so – for my own achievements and encourage you to do so as well.
But the goal is for you to reflect on what is that you really want; what is enough for you; and what could be a good life – more than what society imposes on you.