I always like to start my column with a quote, but for this month I’m going to make much of the article one gigantic quote!
Over the course of the last several years, I have heard the following parable on more than one occasion. The story has been around for quite some time, and it really centers me whenever I hear it.
So, I’d like to share it with all of you. For those who have heard it, it is always worth listening to again. For those of you who have not heard this story before, I hope it helps you reflect on how we view our lives in both the present and future.
As a health coach and personal trainer, I am constantly trying to help people move better, feel better and make progress. On the other hand, sometimes we get so caught up in what we want or expect the future to be that we don’t really appreciate where we currently are. I think no matter what profession we’re in (or want to be in), we can all take away something from the story below. I also think that no matter what part of the journey you are on — whether that be with fitness, job, or relationship — it is probably good to be reminded of this story from time to time.
The fisherman and the banker
An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican native how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends and family: I have a full and busy life.”
The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat!”
The fisherman asked, “And then what?”
The banker continued, “Then with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you could sell it directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”
The fisherman asked, “And then what?”
The banker added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”
To which the banker replied, “Fifteen to 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.
The banker 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 could make millions.”
“Millions? Then what?” asked the fisherman.
To which the banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could 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 friends and family.”
Sometimes simplicity and gratitude beat blind ambition. Sometimes what gives us true happiness are the simple, basic things in life. Let’s never lose sight of that. When taking a step back, you may find that you already have everything you are looking for.
Reach Giovanni on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli and at his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.