January 3, 2009 by Ellen Stimson in Living With Intention

This is not mine, but I love it. It comes under the heading of you can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want….

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 middle man, 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?”

“Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said 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.”

And the moral is:

Know where you’re going in life….you may already be there.


  • Kate


  • Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge

    You are so wise. This is so true. I often feel that my life is so full, where many of my ambitious, career-climbing friends would call my life empty. They think all I do all day is NOTHING: cook meals, clean house, change diapers, drive carpool. How can I explain that I’m teaching a child how to read, instilling self-confidence, being a presence for them, baking cookies, smiling, TAKING MY TIME, and so much more. Your post (or wherever you got it from) is right on. For now, anyway, I’ve got what I’ve always wanted, and I’m so blessed. Sure, I could have more, but it wouldn’t be more fulfilling.

    Great fantastic wonderful post. I love reading you!

  • TheCynicalOptimist

    LOL, I love this. Live in today, always great advice!

  • Trannyhead

    I think this is the best thing I’ve read in along time. I LOVE it. It’s a lesson that so few people ever learn … I think about one of my best friends from college who is now an investment banker. Miserable time for a miserable profession, isn’t it? Anyway, his hair is now entirely gray and he’s only 28 years old. He works every single day and makes a ton of money that he never has time to spend. He has no kids – because he has no significant other – because he has no time to find one. It’s awful!

  • library lady

    Sometimes only someone with an outside perspective on our lives can make us aware that we are successful in the things that count.

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