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The story of the Mexican fisherman



An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village late one morning when a small boat docked. Inside the small boat was just one fisherman who had already caught several large fish.


The American complimented the fisherman on the fish and asked how long it took to catch them.


The fisherman replied, “only a little while.”


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



The Mexican said he had caught plenty enough to provide for his family’s needs for quite a while and even to give some fish away to others in the village.


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


The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, and stroll into the village where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”


The American scoffed. “I am an experienced businessman 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 have a fleet of fishing boats, open up your own cannery and control all of the distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to a bigger city to run the expanding enterprise.”


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


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


“But what then?” asked the Mexican.


The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would sell your company and become very rich. You would make millions!”


“Millions – then what?” asked the Mexican.


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


“I already do that,” said the Mexican fisherman.



Story first shared by Heinrich Böll

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