The Fisherman and the Investment Banker

(Author Unknown)

This story is an old one but a good one.

An investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “only a little while.”

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

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

The banker scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “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, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the big city, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the banker replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The banker said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take naps with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

I’d don’t need to spell out what this means but this little story makes so much sense. Why do we spend our lives working at something we hate, to earn money to buy things we don’t need, to make us happy?

It’s madness.

But it’s what we’ve been raised to believe. Because the 1% make us think we have to. Our parents believed it was the only way and we’re thought to believe it’s the only way.

It’s not the only way.

Fear is what makes us work 9-5, the fear that we need a car, need a mortgage, and need to do these things. For what? To have something to leave behind?

People forget that life is finite. Live the life you’re given, appreciate it. Laugh, love and be happy. Slow down, enjoy every moment and be in the moment.

It’s all we have and all we really need.