An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.
Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The tourist 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 tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The fisherman said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family.”
The tourist 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 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.”
The tourist scoffed, ” I can 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; and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years.”
“But what then?” asked the fisherman.
The tourist laughed and said, “That’s 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.”
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 evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
[Author unknown, but greatly appreciated! If you or anyone you know has a proprietary interest in this story please authenticate and I will be happy to credit, or remove, as appropriate.]
We judge others based on their behavior lifted and shifted into our world view. (What a lazy fisherman! He could be accomplishing so much more with a little more effort!)
We advise others based on the shortfall we see between their status and our expectations — and often when they haven’t even asked for our advice. (I can help you! You should spend more time fishing, buy a bigger boat, …)
We see others through our eyes, overlaying our values, and imposing our dreams.
We all don’t want the same thing! Oh! To simply appreciate others for the choices and the life that they are making!
I have numerous career discussions with people. I am often asked to advise regarding career paths, or a job change; or what the right developmental activity would be… I almost always have to ask; “Well, first; what do you want?”
The entrepreneurial-minded tourist did not want the same thing as the fisherman. For the fisherman, it wasn’t about catching more fish.
It was about catching more life.