Justification for an unambitious life


One summer, an American investment banker was vacationing in Mexico, in a small coastal village.
He was down at the dock just as a small boat was docking. The banker noted that on the deck of the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna, and only one young Mexican fisherman. He addressed the fisherman in English (which he understood), extended his compliments on the quality of those fish, and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, “Only two or three hours.”

The banker then asked why he fished so briefly. The fisherman said two or three hours of such work gave him enough money to support his family’s immediate needs.

Said the banker, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The fisherman said, “My day is this: I sleep late, then fish a little, then play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, then stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos.”

The banker saw an opportunity to be helpful. He said, “Back in the States I am an investment banker. If you wouldn’t mind a little advice, I think I could help you with your business.” The fisherman looked curious. “What would you advise?” “Well,” said the banker, “Were I in your shoes, I would spend more time fishing each day. You would eventually be able to buy a bigger boat with your increased proceeds.”

“And what then?” asked the fisherman. “Well, with the proceeds you would receive from using the bigger boat you would eventually be able to buy several such boats. You’d have a fleet. And with that clout, you could get rid of the middleman, and sell directly to the processor. Eventually you could open your own cannery, leaving you controlling the product, the processing and the distribution.”

“And what then?” asked the fisherman. “Well, at that point you could afford to live anywhere. You could put your wife and your kids in a luxurious house or condo, say in New York, and just enjoy all the fruits of your vast enterprise.” The fisherman said, “Very interesting. How long would all this take?” To which the American replied, “I think you could achieve all this easily within 15-20 years.”

“And what then?” asked the fisherman. The banker laughed triumphantly, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you take your firm public, and immediately you become very rich. In fact, you would make millions.”

“Millions…!!! Very interesting. And what then?” the fisherman asked.

The banker thought for a moment. “Well, gee. At that point, you could afford to retire. A wonderful retirement, in fact. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take siesta with your wife, Maria, stroll to the village in the evenings where you would sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Now, isn’t that what it all boils down to?

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