An Inspiring Short Story about a Mexican Fisherman

I recently read a book called “Making Good” written by two very influential young guys who are heavily involved in youth advocacy groups, social change and alternative energy. I’m really enjoying it because it’s making me ask myself the questions: “How can I make money while doing good?” “What does doing good mean to me?” “What kind of career is in line with my values and beliefs?”

I’ll write a post about the book later, but for now I just want to share this little story from the book:

An American was at a pier in a small Mexican village when a Mexican fisherman docked in his small fishing boat. Inside the boat were several yellow-fin tuna. The tourist complimented the fisherman on his high quality fish and asked how long it took him to catch the fish.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while”

The tourist then asked, “why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The Mexican replied, “with this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

The tourist then asked, “well what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican said, “I sleep late, play with my children, fish a little, have a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a busy life.

The tourist scoffed. “I can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the added proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats and eventually have a fleet. Then, instead of selling your fish to the middle man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could move from this small fishing town and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York, where you could run your ever expanding enterprise.

The Mexican fisherman then replied, “But how long will this all take?”

The tourist replied, “about 15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” said the Mexican.

The tourist laughed, “oh well that’s the best part! At that time you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Then what?”

The American said, “You would retire, move to a small fishing village, play with your children, fish a little, have siestas with your wife, stroll in to the village every evening and sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

The story really touches on how we’ve lost touch with simplicity, and we tend to follow the societal norm of finding a career and being as successful as possible without really being sure why exactly we want  that. Spend some time thinking about what success means to you.

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