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The American Dream?

What does it mean to succeed? What brings joy in our lives? Are we really living the dream?

The pastor at church yesterday shared a story that made me think…perhaps you have already heard this tale…

The businessman 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 yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a 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, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I 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 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 would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise?”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! 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, señor? Then what?” The businessman 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 a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

-Author Unknown

Seriously! Isn’t it a shame that there is this silly need to do more, be more, have more? When we really ought to be living in the moment, taking care of our basic needs, savoring time to rest, and making memories with family and friends. Right?

So today, I vow to stay present…to find contentment…to seek moments with the ones I love.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Matthew Johnson July 24, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Stay present by all means! Please don't shame or refer to someone who chooses to live every day to their very best as silly! It is a choice, maybe not your choice... And that's OK as well. I love the story and am wired a little different than the dfisherman
Matthew Johnson July 24, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Got cut off by the iPhone there.... Its really a great lesson in apreciatin what you have and spending time with those who matter most in your life. Thanks for sharing!

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