The Story of the Fisherman’s Success

As told by Dr. Wayne Cordeiro

Sometimes we become so busy and caught up in the things of this world that we forget or become too busy for some of the most valuable opportunities of life. There’s a great lesson we can all learn on keeping our priorities straight from this short story about a Mexican fisherman.

There once was a man from a Mexican village who owned a small fishing boat. An American businessman arrived in that same, small coastal Mexican village, and happened to be standing at that same, small pier where a small boat with a lone fisherman docked. There at the small pier the American met that same, small Mexican fisherman.

Inside the boat were several large, yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the quality of the fish and asked the fisherman, “How long did it take you to catch them?”
The Mexican fisherman replied, “Only a little while, Señor.”
“Then why,” the American asked, “didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The fisherman replied, “God provides enough for my family’s needs.”

Then the American said, “Well, what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “Sometimes I take a day off and I sleep in and play with my children. I like to take a siesta with my wife. Each evening I stroll into the village where we have dinner and I play guitar with my amigos.”

The American scoffed! He said, “I have an MBA in business and I could help you!”
The fisherman said, “You can help me, Señor?”
“Yes, I can really help you!”
“What do you mean?”

The businessman replied, “You should spend more time fishing, catch more fish and then buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger fishing vessel you can buy several boats and hire extra staff to fish for you. Eventually, you will have a fishing fleet and a huge staff. At that point, instead of selling to the middleman, you’ll be able to sell directly to the processor. That will mean more money and more capital.
“Then guess what?” the business man continued excitedly, “Eventually you can open your own cannery and soon you’ll be able to control the market. You’ll be a millionaire!”
“A millionaire?” the humble Mexican asked, more shocked than convinced. “How long will this take, Señor?”
“About 15 to 20 years!”
“Then what, Señor?” the Mexican asked.

“Then you could retire,” the American said, “and move to a small coastal village where you can take a day off, sleep in and play with your kids. Take a siesta with your wife and stroll into the village in the evening … have dinner and play guitar …uhhh.
So, you see, the lesson in this story is that sometimes we lose 15 years to get something we already have. And all we’ve done is lost our contentment, forsaken the life lessons along the way, and lost all that precious time.

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