Mark Terry

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thought for the Weekend

May 22, 2009
I got this off Michael Lara's blog, but since he put it down as Anonymous, I felt okay with just cut+pasting it here. A great lesson here, I think. Hope you all have a great weekend. I'll get some work done on FLAT-FOOTED, I promise.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full 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."

"And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"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 then 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 new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well my friend, that's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."    


Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Wow . . . great food for thought!

4:54 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Amen. Now if only someone had told me that story when I was twenty. :-)

(Not sure if I would've listened, though.)

5:45 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

It probably came at the right time for me because I was looking at expanding my business in a direction I wasn't sure I really wanted to go. I still haven't ruled it out, but this did reinforce some of the major concerns I had.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I'm not sure I would have either.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

Thanks. Nice timing, too.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Great story. It is easy to lose track of what we're working for, if anything. Work becoming an end in itself is fine, provided we like the work, but often that isn't the case.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Richmond Writer said...

The Caribbean works on that principle too. That's why companies outsource the work to Americans. My father made three times the normal salary to work overseas than he would have made in America. In Florida they hire people from Virginia and pay their housing because it's cheaper to get the job done quickly.

Depends on your viewpoint I suppose and what job you're trying to get done. My Dad built oil storage tanks, my brother remodeled houses. Do we need oil and houses?

Personally I appreciate a complex society that allows some people to dedicate a huge chunk of their time to telling stories. Nice story by the way.

6:52 PM  

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