The Secret to a Happy Life

4 Jun

How a Fisherman from a Small Mexican Village Taught a Harvard-Educated Investment Banker the Meaning of Life

Fables are short, fictitious stories that convey a moral intended to teach a lesson to help you live a better life.  What you are about to read is an incredible modern fable, especially if you want to live a happy life. An American investment banker was at the pier of a tiny coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The investment banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.  The man replied, “Only a little while.”

The American then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.  The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.  The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The fisherman laughed and replied, “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?”
“15 to 20 years.”
“But what then?”

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?”

“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.”

That’s a pretty incredible life lesson, isn’t it?  Surprisingly, too many people get trapped in a self-made prison because of what they think they want, and what they think they want is simply what they think everyone else wants them to do.  Their lives become a blur as they constantly chase a “dream” that is unattainable and will never lead to happiness. Clearly, small inexpensive (or even free) things can provide a beautiful life.  You don’t need an impressive title, big car (or boat), or big business to live a beautiful life and be a beautiful person.  In fact, in most cases, a smaller home and fewer obligations can make life easier and much more enjoyable. If you have a nagging feeling that you could do better, make more, and deserve to upgrade, then remember that the secret to having it all is recognizing that you already do.  You just have to start recognizing it.  Life is what you let slip away while you are endlessly chasing things you wished you had but don’t need.

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