Inspirational Quotes | Wisdom | Stories

Should The Poor Mexican Fisherman Give Up Contentment For Cash ?

In a quiet Mexican fishing village, an American who was on vacation saw a local fisherman unloading his catch. He decided to approach him.

The American asked the fisherman, “Why are you finishing your day so early?”

The Mexican replied “Oh Senor, I have caught enough to feed my family and a little extra to sell for today. It is now time to go for lunch with my family and have a siesta. In the afternoon, I can play with my kids. In the evening, I will go to the cantina, drink a little tequila and play the guitar.”

The business professor was horrified at the fisherman’s lack of motivation to succeed. He answered, “If you stay out at sea until late afternoon, you will easily catch twice as much fish. You can sell the extra, save up the money and in six months, maybe nine, you will be able to buy a bigger and better boat, and hire some crew. Then you’ll be able to buy a second fishing boat and hire another crew.”

He continued, “In another year or two, you will have the capital to buy a second fishing boat and hire another crew. If you follow this business plan, in six or seven years, you will be the proud owner of a large fishing fleet.”

“Just imagine that! Then you can move your head office to Mexico city, or even to L.A. After only three or four years in LA, you float your company on the stockmarket giving yourself, as CEO, aqa generous salary package with substantial share options. In a few more years – listen to this! – you initiate a company share buy-back scheme, which will make you a multi-millionaire! Guaranteed!”

The American got very excited at the prospect himself. He said, “I definitely know these things. I’m a well known professor at the US Business School.”

The Mexican fisherman listened intently at what the animated American had to say. When the professor had finished, the Mexican asked him, “But, Senor Professor, what can a person do after getting millions of dollars?”

Now, the American professor hadn’t thought that far. He was taken aback by the question.

So he quickly figured out an answer “Amigo! With all that dough, you can retire. Yeah! Retire for life! You can buy a little villa with a picturesque fishing village like this one, and purchase a small boat for going fishing in the morning, You can have lunch with your wife every day, and a siesta in the afternoon, with nothing to worry you. In the afternoon, you can spend quality time with your kids, and after dinner in the evening, play guitar with your friends in the cantina, drinking tequila. Yeah, with all the money, my friend, you can retire and take it easy.”

Puzzled with the American’s suggestion, the Mexican fisherman replied, “but, Senor Professor, I do that already!”

Ajahn Brahm told the above story in last Friday’s talk on “Dealing with Uncertainties in Life”. You can also read this story in Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?, a book written by him. Ajahn Brahm had related the same tale last Friday, to illustrate that contentment is to be found in the Now. He pointed out that we do not need to get materially rich first before we can feel happy.

Contentment or Cash? Your Thoughts Please?
I’m deliberately keeping my post shorter than usual, for today. I’m also down with a case of bad flu and am now throwing the door open for your inputs. So here are some questions for you.

In the story, the Mexican fisherman may be poor but he is contented. But what if he has a desire to afford a better life for his kids? Realistically, most of us so have dreams of a more abundant life. We would like to be able to afford beyond the basic necessities. We desire the flexibility of working as and when we want to, without struggle and worry and to have excess time to pursue our various interests. Is it possible to rewrite the story so that the Mexican fisherman (or you for that matter) can have it all - money, loving relationships, health, and joy - without any major sacrifices?

How would you strike a balance in your waking hours for today, whilst working towards your dreams? Stacey over at CreateaBalance is having a Life Balance Group Writing Project. I’d like to take the opportunity to submit this post as an entry, in examining what life balance means to us.

Share your thoughts, please.
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