I watched a documentary on Netflix recently called Park Avenue: Money, Power, & the American Dream. It is a very well made documentary about injustice and greed in the USA. Then I read this story from, among other places, Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek, and it reminded me that maybe what Americans need most is to learn contentment.
An American tourist 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 tourist 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 tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”
The tourist 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 siesta 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 interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!”
“You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.”
“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years. 25 at most.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The tourist laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
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 siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
~ author unknown