Since I’ve been addicted to this Chesney song, “The Life” (see blog post below), for the last couple days, it made me think back to our sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands earlier this year.
We spent some time at Ivan’s Stress Free Bar on Jost Van Dyke. Hanging in the corner next to a pay phone was a framed story. I took a photo (and yes that is a Snoloha sticker on the wall), so I could go back and read this. It has a similar feel and message as the Chesney song…one that I think is important to remind ourselves of now and then.
A boat docked in a tiny island village.
An American tourist complimented the fisherman on the quality of his find and asked how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,”answered the fisherman.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more” asked the American. The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his need and those of his family.
The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs” I have a full life.”
The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer everyday. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the fisherman. “With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Atlanta, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman. “Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.
“And after that?” “Afterwards? Well my Friend. That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that” said the fisherman. “After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny little village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”
And the morale is: Know where you’re going in life..you may already be there.