The Fisherman's Parable

I always love a good story with a profound meaning. A life lesson of sorts. This is one of my favorites. I tried my hand in the business world, and it was a great experience. I was offered some opportunities that could have yielded great returns. I met some wonderful people, but I met a few unscrupulous sharks as well. I was treated with great respect by some, ruthlessly disrespected by a few, and was completely invisible to yet a few more. Nonetheless, I am proud to be back in education. While this parable in itself had nothing to do with my decision to leave the business world, it does further justify - for me - that I made the right decision. Slow down and relish life. Commit to a career you love. Have a healthy passion for what you do. Make time to enjoy life and all it has to offer. That is how I choose to spend my time...before I'm too old to enjoy it and before my kids are grown. Money is money. You can't take it with you when you go.

The Fisherman and the Businessman

An American investment banker was 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 yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard 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, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American 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 would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandkids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”


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