I recently heard a story that paints a striking, compelling picture of a core value in the culture of a Lifeonaire…
Prosperity Through Simplicity.
It wasn’t my first rodeo—I recall first hearing this story over a decade ago in Tim Ferris’ The 4 Hour Workweek. But it was my first time hearing it through the lens of being a Lifeonaire (since 2008) and now with the privilege of helping others in their own Lifeonaire journey.
So here’s the story—it’s short and sweet, and really drives a gripping point home, so I challenge you to take a moment and really drink it in.
The Story of a Mexican Fisherman
An American businessman was on vacation in a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Rapidly deteriorating health caused by stress and long work hours prompted the doctor to send his patient to Mexico in the hopes he would return a new man.
Awake early one morning and unable to get back to sleep, the American decided to take a stroll along the pier in front of his cabana. As he approached the end, he looked up to see a lone fisherman sitting next to a bucket containing several yellowfin tuna.
“Nice catch. How long did it take to catch them?”
The Mexican replied, “Thank you señor. Only a little while.”
The American then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said, “Oh, this is plenty. With this I have more than enough to feed my family and still have leftovers that I give to friends.”
“But…what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta in the afternoon with my wife Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life señor,” he said with a smile.
The American scoffed, “Today is your lucky day my friend. I am a Harvard MBA and can help you. First thing. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a boat. That will get you off this wharf and onto the open water, which will allow you to catch many more fish. With that extra money go buy a net. That will increase your catch exponentially. And with that money buy another boat and hire some workers. Continue to repeat that process over and over until eventually you will have a fleet of fishing boats and people working for you.”
“I’m sorry señor but I don’t understand. Why would I want to do that when I have all I want now?”
“Hold on…I’m not done yet. You’ll see. Just pay attention.” the American replied impatiently.
He continued, “As you grow your business and scale up you’ll make more money by cutting out the middleman and sell directly to the consumer. This would mean opening your own warehouse and cannery. Now you would control the entire production line from product, processing, packaging, and distribution. You’d run it all!” said the American with gleaming pride.
“Now, for all this to happen you will have to get out of this village and relocate to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City. You can’t do it here.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But…why señor? And how long will all this take?”
To which the American replied, “I’m getting to that part, remember? Be patient. Success takes a long time. Fifteen to twenty years…25 at the most.”
“But what then señor?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said “That’s the best part and what I’ve been waiting to tell you. 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!”
To which the American, somewhat surprised, replied, “Well isn’t it obvious? Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta in the afternoon with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Sooooooo… What Do You Think?
What did ya think? Leave a comment below and lets hear how this story hits you.
Strike any cords? Hit home? Don’t really get it? Do tell, I’m all ears. 🙂
Simplicity is the key to perfection!
Yes. Even after reading a few times, a story that provokes a little laugh…. then deeper thoughts.
Some of us want more than to live in a little village, but it’s definitely more efficient to understand what you would be happy with, then grab no more than that.
JP. Thanks! Nice to be reminded. And the story made me hungry for tuna. Or sushi!
I love me some sushi! 🙂
Just read it. Great Life-o analogy coach. Except I’m not on an island running a scuba or bar dive like senor frog is and Tim Ferris did! Subtle lesson for me is we can be happy where we are and not work ourselves to death just to return full circle right back to square 1.