Have you ever heard the story of the Mexican Fisherman? It’s a classic story by Heinrich Böll…
An American businessman was standing 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.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” The American asked.
“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.
“But,” The American then asked, “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 a siesta 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, senor.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”
“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. 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 NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?”
The American 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, senor? Then what?”
The American said slowly, “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 to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”
You could look at this in a “Fight Club”…..”Do you really need all the stuff you have?” kind of way and it’s worth pondering.
I think about it in more of a “4 Hour Workweek”….. “How can you start living some of your dreams right now?” kind of way.
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The whole idea that you are going to work your whole life, retire and then you’ll do all those things you want to do is crap. Will you have the money? Will you have your health? You still have the energy to do all those things? Will you ever really retire? What happens if you die early? What if you have kids and dogs and a wife that doesn’t like to travel? If you want things in life, you need to get them NOW. If not now, like next week, now like as in the next few years. So, it’s time to think about how you do that. How do you get some of your dreams done NOW, rather than later. Don’t wait to grab your dreams and assume they will always be there because tomorrow is not promised to us.