I first heard this story approximately ten years ago at a lecture with my main Chinese Medicine teacher (Andrew Nugent-Head) and it changed my perspective on how I should lead my life from then onward.
Like most people, I have striven to have more of most things in life; money, material goods, a bigger clinic, a franchise of clinics, working in a famous clinic, an expensive car, an expensive suit, expensive shoes and the list goes on. However, like a lot of people I've learnt that once our desires are met, they just seem to lead to further desire for more of the same things and then more of something else and then again even more of the same things etcetera, etcetera, it just doesn't end!
We all know that having more money can't buy you happiness, but it definitely does give you more options and who doesn't want more to choose from? Who wouldn't like travelling by first class, a comfortable home, nicer clothes, recognition from those you're trying to please, recognition from people you're trying to complete against, or maybe making silent the feelings of inadequacy from your past which are making you continually strive to prove yourself today? Having more money, more material goods, more recognition from others, more of a lot of things, is not the answer to all of our problems in life and can often cause more issues, as many lottery winners can attest to.
Once I heard the story of the Mexican fisherman, it changed a lot for me instantly. My desires to strive for more and the pressure I put on myself to always have bigger and better dropped and I reassessed the expectations I held for my future self. The fisherman's story is a simple story and one that I had already listened to in different ways over the years, but for some reason it hit home this time around, I guess I was ready to actually hear it.
I could go on and on about what it meant for me, the different lessons learnt and the number of times it has made me take a different path, but the best thing would be for me to put it below and maybe it will help you as much as it has helped me have and lead a simple, content life.
A Mexican fisherman was tying up his boat and bringing in the few fish that he had caught. An American business man was standing close by and asked what he was going to do with the fish.
The fisherman replied, "I am going to take two to my friends, sell two and take one home."
The businessman then said, "Then what are you going to do?"
The fisherman replied, "Then I am going to play with my children, go out surfing with my family, come home for lunch, then have a siesta with my wife. When I wake up I am going to see my friends and we are going to play cards and drink wine together for the afternoon. Then in the evening I will go dancing with my wife before we come home to have dinner with our family."
The businessman said, "Why don't you spend more time fishing? Then you can catch more fish and sell more fish."
Then the fisherman asked , "Why?"
The businessman said, "Well then you can you can make more money. With more money you can buy more boats and employ people to catch more fish, which will make you more money. Then you can buy bigger boats and catch even more fish and make more money to start a company."
Then the fisherman asked, "Why".
The businessman said, "Then you you could earn millions of dollars selling your company"
The fisherman asked, "Why"
The businessman said, " So that you can retire, play with your children, go out surfing with your family, go home for lunch and have a siesta with your wife. Then you could go and see friends to play cards and drink wine together for the afternoon, before dancing with your wife in the evening and going home to have dinner with your family."