I’d like to share a story I came across:
A successful businessman on vacation was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman proudly replied, “Every morning, I go out in my boat for 30 minutes to fish. I’m the best fisherman in the village”.
The businessman, perplexed, then asks the fisherman “If you’re the best, why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish? What do you do the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, spend quality time with my wife, and every evening we stroll into the village to drink wine and play guitar with our friends. I have a full and happy life.”
The businessman scoffed, “I am successful CEO and have a talent for spotting business opportunities. I can help you be more successful. 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 with many fishermen. Instead of selling your catch to just your friends, you can scale to sell fish to thousands. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the big city, where you can oversee your growing empire.”
The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the businessman replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the fisherman.
The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part. 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 businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, spend time with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”
I’ll be honest, when I finished reading this tale - my first reaction was complete confusion. ‘Huh?'🤔 What was the morale of the story? Who was the one who was 'right’ in this story? It wasn’t really clear to me because I actually resonated with both parties.
The fisherman clearly prioritized his happiness and time with his family - basically living in the now, whereas the businessman was much more future focused - intent on scaling his business to make money to secure his future.
After more thought on this, here are my key takeaways from the story:
1) Lesson from the Fisherman🎣
As much as we are future focused - building plans and working towards a better, richer life, we need to be appreciating the now and be content with what we have. Perhaps we actually already have what we truly want. If you think about it, you’re actually currently living in the part of your life you used to look forward to the most.
The concept of having ‘enough’ is one that eludes many people - because the world mostly believes along: NEW = BETTER! MORE = BETTER! Is it really? Do you really need the latest phone, even if your current phone is working just fine?
2) Lesson from the Businessman👨🏻💼:
Let’s be real. As much as we’d like to live a simple life like the fisherman - he probably doesn’t have to worry about cost of living in a city where we have to spend money, and have bills to pay.
So I think it’s fair for the businessman to think big and scale the fishing business because putting in the hard work, and getting your money to work for you gives you to freedom to live the life you want.
It’s all about balance. Learn to be content now while preparing for the future. You can, and should do both. Remember to define your own definition of happiness, because it looks different for everyone.
My question to you: Who do you think is better off in this story? Let me know!
Till next week!