How do you want to live your life?
When I first discovered and became obsessed with the personal development/self-help world, this story from Courtney Carver provided one of the first insights that really opened my mind. It made me reassess all of the things I want to do in my life and really evaluate what truly matters the most.
If you are feeling a little lost, or sometimes question what you want out of life – you might find this story very relatable.
Story of the Mexican Fisherman
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 yellow fin 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 kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Now after reading this story, let me ask you again. How do you REALLY want to live your life? Often we are so “in the zone” that we forget to really look at the big picture and think about what actually matters to us.
We follow what we’ve been told to do – study hard, get good grades, get into a good school, graduate, find a job, keep working hard, and keep working our way up. We’re always looking for more – the next best thing to do and more things to have. We want more opportunities, more skills to learn, meet more people, own more designer bags, earn more money, buy more houses, more, more and more.
It’s great to set targets and hit those goals. But what is REALLY the end goal here?
Maybe you don’t need to have ALL the materialist things before you can appreciate your life.
Maybe you don’t need to wait until you are “successful” enough to start living the life you want.
Maybe you don’t need to look anywhere, you already have it all. And what we need to do is actually see and appreciate those moments in our life that make us feel happy and alive.
Life is a beautiful dance, not a struggle. Let us dance in the rain.
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Also quick questions to you:
What truly matters to you?
What do you feel grateful for?
What do you feel proud of?
Let me know in the comments below.