As an alternative to this month’s ‘Words of Inspiration’, here’s an inspiring little fable that reminds us all what’s really important in life.
The story is about an interaction between an American businessman and a Mexican fisherman. It made me smile when I heard it because my Dad used to tell my sister and I the exact same story when we lived in Jamaica. But in my Dad’s version, it was a Jamaican fisherman laying in a hammock. I hadn’t realised he took the story and shaped it to resonate with our surroundings.
“An American investment banker 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 American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American 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 siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American replied, “Why don’t you spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat? Then with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening 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 will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
The American replied, “hmmm.. maybe about 15 – 20 years?”
“But then what?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “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 – then what?”
The American said, “Well…then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”