A powerful story: When an American businessman meets a Mexican fisherman

Last updated on January 2nd, 2017

Yesterday, I received an email forwarded by one of my friend. It contains a powerful story which spurs a deep thinking in me and I thought of sharing it as it might change your thinking and belief.

The following is the excerpt of the email message:

Are you wealthy, or not?

In one of the chapters in the book “Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence”, Danah Zohar writes a story about 2 men with vastly different worldviews:
An American businessman was standing on the jetty of a Mexican coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it had taken to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The American then inquired why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

The Mexican said 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 Mexican Said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Señor.”

The American 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 Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York, where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But Señor, how long would this take?”

To which the American replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”

“But what then, Señor?”

The American laughed and said that was the best part. “When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, Señor? Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evening where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”


Forget about money, forget about financial security for a moment. Imagine for this moment, money is no more than digits typed into your bank book, cash is just no more than some metal alloys and plastic papers.
There are many things in life to savor and one of them is the people around you.
Not that I hope but because one day, you might finally find out that money is only worth as much digits, pieces of metal and plastic papers. So cherish whatever or whoever you have now. Give yourself a chance to not live with regrets.

Do you agree? Or do you think you need to study hard for an MBA, work hard for a thick wallet and strive for being known as a multi-millionaire stakeholder, in order to keep your loved ones beside you and live a happy life?

Share and tag people you want to keep close to you and can’t lose!

The Independent Abecedarian


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