What exactly are we striving for?

Parables, Paradoxes, Mexican Fishermen

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 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.”

All to do what? Have the life you already have?

The irony is not lost on us, but it was on the man from Harvard.

While many people are striving today to get to another place financially because we are poor…maybe more money would help us have a better life. But what does better mean?

Do we want more time with our family? But does our striving to pursue money keep us from time with our family– now before they are grown or gone?

Do we just want a “nicer” place to live but we already live very well? What will we do, how will it be different, when our walls are different, the furniture upgraded, the lawn handled by a professional? We will be proud- yes. But pride alone does not create beautiful memories.

The fisherman in this story had the right attitude.

He was enjoying life AS IT WAS HAPPENING TO HIM.

To share how I relate to this …

quan·da·ry/ˈkwänd(ə)rē/

  1. a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.

There are times when I am walking to church with my son at night so he can use our gym.

Seems simple enough.

But I am not present. In my mind I am thinking about the day, tomorrow, my tasks, where I blew it, where I have hopes….blah blah blah on and on and on. All the while doing the obligatory “uh-huh” “yes” “oh”.

Sometimes it hits me: these are times he is going to remember: taking walks with my mom each night. – Yet, while this will be a memory for him, I will not share it because I was up in my head.

Two things are happening here. One, a memory is being formed. Two, I am spinning my wheels over something that doesn’t need to be done right now – and in that- I am missing out on quality time with my son.

It is my striving that keeps my mind whirling around.

Today,
Think about the things that hold and keep your attention.
Think about where you are spending all your time.
Think about what is truly important to you.

Does how you spend your time align with your values?

Will you be missing out on important things along the way?

Until Next Time~
Blessings, Kate