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 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 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?”
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 and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
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, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
I always smile when I read this story. Sometimes we simply forget what we are doing it all for. Sometimes we are so intent on looking at the trees we forget to take in the whole wood. If we just stopped and considered what we have already achieved in our lives, we probably wouldn’t be so panicked at trying to get more and more.
Sometimes, maybe today, stop and smell the coffee. Or the roses.
Make time to appreciate what you’ve already got. Appreciate it with a real sense of wonder and gratitude. Then, instead of always thing ‘there must be more’, we can see that, sometimes, what we have is good enough. Appreciation and Gratitude...two qualities we seldom think about enough. Two qualities that make us stop and think about our jobs at a deeper level. Two qualities that will help us revisit our work-life balance and put the focus and emphasis on enjoyment rather than stress, on future dreams rather than present nightmares.
Zig Ziglar once said ‘We have to Be and Do, before we can Have’. It’s a good point. Become the person you want to be and then you can have the things you want to have. Reflect on the Mexican fisherman’s ideology. It’s always good to appreciate what we have before going for more.
Head of Training
(Image by Freedigitalphotos.net)
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.