The Good Life (Story of the Mexican Fisherman)
Many years ago, after I graduated from business school, I decided to take a vacation. I chose a small quiet fishing village where I thought I’d be able to take my mind off of business, if only for a few days.
Walking along the beach just before sunset, I saw a small fishing boat coming to shore. Inside the boat were a lone fisherman and several beautiful yellow fin tuna.
“How long ditto it take you to catch those fish?” I asked.
“Only a couple of hours” he replied.
“Why don’t you stay out a bit longer and catch more?” I asked.
“Certainly there must be more of a demand for fish than the few I saw in the boat?”
The fisherman smiled, “I catch enough to support my family and I live a full and busy life. I rise with the sun. Fish a little. Play with my daughters. Have lunch with my family and then teach children how to fish before I stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my wife and friends.”
“Listen” I said. “I have and MBA. I can help you vastly expand your business. If you would simply spend more time fishing you would soon earn enough money to buy a bigger boat.”
“Really?” Questioned the fisherman
“Absolutely and with a bigger boat you would soon catch enough fish to buy several boats then a whole fleet. At that point you would be big enough to sell your fish directly to a processor. Cutting out the middle-man and greatly increasing your profits.”
The fisherman raised and eyebrow. “Mmmmm”
“Eventually you could open your own cannery and control the product, the processing and the distribution.” I added.
“Then what?” He asked.
“You would then relocate your operations to the capital. And if all goes well you will likely find yourself in New York City in control of a rapidly expanding empire.”
“How long would all of this take?” He asked.
Clearly following my logic, “Oh probably between 10 and 15 years.” I replied.
“And then what?”
“Well that’s the best part. You will announce and IPL and sell stock to the public. At that point my friend you would be very, very rich. A millionaire many times over.”
The fisherman paused. “Really? A millionaire, then what?”
“What do you mean?” I answered a bit surprised.
“I mean what would I do if I were a millionaire?”
“What kind of question is that? Whatever you like of course. I imagine you would retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where you would rise with the sun. Fish a little, play with your granddaughters. Have lunch with your family then teach children how to fish before strolling into village each evening where you would sip wine and play guitar with your wife and friends.”
The fisherman smiled and without saying another word began to build a small fire. We shared the taste of the delicious fish and watched the sun go down over the ocean As the sound of guitars rose from the village nearby.
Header image by Bread for the World
Story by Dr Mark Albion