The Good Life Parable by Mark Albion (from his book, More Than Money)
An American investment banker was taking a much needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the fisherman how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, “Only a couple of hours.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.
The fisherman replied 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 fishermen replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, then teach children how to fish before I stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my wife and friends. I have a full and busy life.”
The investment banker scoffed, “I have an MBA, and I could help you vastly expand your business. If you would simply spend more time fishing, with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”
Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City and eventually New York City where you would run your growing enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “Probably between 10 and 15 years.”
“But what then, señor?”
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 could make millions.”
Millions, señor? Then what?”
To which the American said, “Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, teach children how to fish, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”