An American businessman stood at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of the fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”
The American then asked, “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The fisherman answered, “I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.”
The businessman then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman answered, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard M.B.A. and I can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the income buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you could 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 L.A., and eventually New York City where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”
The American replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”
“But what then, señor?”
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When time is right you would announce on IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich – you would make millions.”
“Millions, señor? Then what?”
“Then you would retire. 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 the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
Story from Alan Cohen’s book, Why Your Life Sucks.
P.S. The photo is from my trip to Peru and I’m aware the guy isn’t Mexican (for anyone who feels like yelling at me). I simply love his smile, and imagine the fisherman to have the same.