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Businessman and the Fisherman

--by Mark Albion (Apr 19, 1999)


A young businessman was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Seeing several large yellowfin tuna inside the small boat, the businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of the fish and asked how long it took to catch them. "Only a little while", the fisherman replied.

A little surprised, the young business man asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" The content fisherman said, "This is enough to support my family's immediate needs. I don't need any more." "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" asked the confused young man. "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a walk with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my buddies; I have a full and busy life."

The lad 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 LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The fisherman asked, "How long will this all take?" to which the young man replied, "15-20 years." "But what then?" The business man 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, sir? 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 a walk with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your buddies."


 


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On Apr 4, 2017 Isaiah Dayo wrote:

 



On Sep 20, 2009 Catalyst wrote:

I'm glad to finally find the origin of this story.  I've heard it so many times, but it's just been a word-of-mouth thing passed down for a while, or a "viral" email without source.



On Jul 26, 2009 Landa Bautista wrote:

I looooooveeee this story!  It holds so much lesson for everyone.  It teaches clarity of vision and desires.  And it reminds us that we all have different means of achievibg what we define to be a "good life."

*^_^*



On Aug 27, 2008 Mark Albion wrote:
I wrote this story over a decade ago, but it is based in Buddhist tradition, Russian Folklore and similar too a lighter story written in 1963 by Henrich Boll, which I had never seen until this year. It is now a shareware 3-minute animated movie, so spread it around my friends at charityfocus.org, whom I have done speeches for and met many of their members. Go to YouTube or FaceBook and put in "Mark Albion" and you will find "The Good Life Parable."

On Jun 12, 2006 Ragu wrote:

From our guest speaker, Param: Do selfless service, without asking and giving money. If God gives you 720 bucks a month, would you give back 25%, 180 bucks? How 'bout just 5 bucks? In reality, we're given 720 hours/month. Can we give 5 hours? While surveying recepient of clothing donations, a poor old lady says, "Don't give it to me; there's someone there who needs it more than me." When 120 folks got into the canal to help clean the muck, they found the temple inside their hearts. Demand pull: do whatever is necessary, not what you think is necessary. Most of us have 80% of needs; we should be content in having that. Notes from roundtable: The passage reminded me of the patient boatman in Siddhartha. Why do people associate peace with the tropics? Candle that lights another candle doesn't lose any of its light. Industrialization causes pollution -- now we're going to back to bullock carts? What exactly is evolution? Mindset is the critical factor: checking  See full.

From our guest speaker, Param:

  • Do selfless service, without asking and giving money.
  • If God gives you 720 bucks a month, would you give back 25%, 180 bucks? How 'bout just 5 bucks? In reality, we're given 720 hours/month. Can we give 5 hours?
  • While surveying recepient of clothing donations, a poor old lady says, "Don't give it to me; there's someone there who needs it more than me."
  • When 120 folks got into the canal to help clean the muck, they found the temple inside their hearts.
  • Demand pull: do whatever is necessary, not what you think is necessary.
  • Most of us have 80% of needs; we should be content in having that.
Notes from roundtable:
  • The passage reminded me of the patient boatman in Siddhartha.
  • Why do people associate peace with the tropics?
  • Candle that lights another candle doesn't lose any of its light.
  • Industrialization causes pollution -- now we're going to back to bullock carts? What exactly is evolution?
  • Mindset is the critical factor: checking email for 25 years won't make you happy.
  • Tropical regions have a laid back attitude but laid back is not the same as contentment.
  • If 80% are needs and 20% are wants, our society's definition of success is all about that 20%. That's so tough.
  • Anyone who only takes what he needs is admirable.
  • I can't have kids because I want to give back?
  • Sometimes being a businessman can be your dharma.
  • Election: why do people vote?
  • How do we break away from the culture norm of greed? What do I really need?
  • If you're in the rat race, you're still a rat.
  • We should respect unique belief systems of each of us.
  • There was time to make human connection: best part of being human (best part of India trip)
  • Taxation is one part of giving to society; what if that was time?
  • Everyone wants to expand; what's the difference between a helping guy who wants to help the most number of people and a businessman?
  • We have to transform viscious cycles into virtuous cycles.
  • What's the difference between doing good and service?
  • Doing good is to feel good; service is realizing that you are others.

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