The Story of the Mexican Fisherman has been bouncing around the internet for years in one form or another. It’s been an inspiration to many, that live in the rat race or try to keep up with the Joneses, to slow down, reassess their situations, and really think about the lives they want to live.
Now, I know I said we wouldn’t be back with new podcast episodes until the new year, but I really liked this story as well as the message it conveys, and I wanted to share it with all of you and maybe give you something to ponder over the holidays.
Listen to Episode 13 Here:
The Story of the Mexican Fisherman
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 he didn’t 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, and 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 scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. 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. 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 need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then to LA and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will it take to do all this?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (initial public offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?” asked the Mexican.
The American said, “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, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Follow-up to the Story
Stories like this can be powerful. At the very least, hopefully, they can make you think about what matters most to you.
And, if you want to make a change, make a plan and implement it one step at a time: as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Now, I’ve never been a “keeping up with the Joneses” type, but I’ve seen many that are. The Story of the Mexican Fisherman is a reminder that you don’t need a fancy car, big boat, or to make a ton of money to live a great life.
Personally, freedom of time has always been very important to me. Being an entrepreneur my entire working life has certainly had its ups and downs, and I’ve had my share of sleepless nights, but the main reason I chose this route was to hopefully be in charge of the most valuable commodity of all: time!
I don’t mind working long, hard hours if necessary, but I also enjoy being able to have a flexible schedule.
Many companies these days are getting more and more flexible as well, and that is a good thing in my opinion.
So, as the holidays approach, try to be deliberate about what you do and with whom you spend your time. Spend time with people that keep you above the line and avoid those that drag you below it.
With that, I would like to thank all of you for a great year of progress at my firm and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year, and we’ll see you in a few weeks!
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