I first read this story in a monthly real estate newsletter that my neighbor published. You may have seen it before. It is an excellent parable about priorities.
An American investment banker 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 American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
"Only a little while," the fisherman replied.
The banker then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish.
The fisherman said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
"But what do you do with the rest of your time?" the banker asked.
"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos," the fisherman said. "I have a full and busy life."
The banker 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 would 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 City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The fisherman asked, "But how long will all this take?"
"Fifteen to twenty years," replied the banker.
"But then what?"
"That's the best part," the banker said. "When the time is 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?"
"Then you would retire," continued the banker. "You would move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."
What are your priorities, and how do you work toward realizing them every day?