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Arrogant Businessman Lectures a Simple Fisherman About Life, He Got Schooled Instead

Inah Garcia

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We have many dreams and aspirations, but all of those won’t come knocking on our doors on one fine day. We have to really work hard and spend as much time as possible to achieve that big goal. But sometimes, we have to reflect on what truly matters and if all the efforts are going to be worth it.

In this story we found, we are greatly moved by how a conversation between a Mexican fisherman and an American business expert conveyed life’s most essential things.

An American businessman went to a fishing village in southern Mexico for a vacation. He saw a young fisherman about to dock his boat and approached him. He saw that the man was able to catch several yellowfin tuna and he expressed his delight upon seeing that the catch was fresh and of high-quality.

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He then asked the man how long it took him to catch the fish, to which the fisherman answered, “Oh, a few hours.” The businessman wondered why the fisherman did not stay longer to catch more fish so he asked, “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The fisherman politely replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

The businessman was quite appalled with the response so he asked further questions. “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” he asked.

The Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”

The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”

Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”

Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”

“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.

The businessman proudly said, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”

The lesson of this humble story? Find in your heart what you truly aspire and what really matters. Because in reality, the person you want to become and the things you want to achieve may be already yours.

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