Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ARE WE HAPPY YET? – Knowing How Much Is Enough

As the holidays approach, with their propensity for expectations and excess, do you sometimes yearn for a simpler life, one in which small miracles get noticed? One where your schedule leaves room for spontaneity? A life of humility and gratitude? This popular little parable about knowing happiness when you see it bears repeating:

An investment banker stood 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 yellow-fin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker asked him why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

The fisherman said 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 said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, 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 investor scoffed, “I'm an Ivy League 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, and eventually you'd have a whole fleet of fishing boats.”

    Do you sometimes yearn for a simpler life, 
    one in which small miracles get noticed?

The investor continued, “And instead of selling your catch to a middleman you'd then sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You'd control the product, processing and distribution! You'd be able to leave this simple village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you'd run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?” to which the banker replied, “Perhaps 15 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'd announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You'd make millions!”

“Millions. Okay, then what?” wondered the fisherman.

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you could afford to retire in style. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you'd sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you'd sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”


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