Blake Snow

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How money often prevents us from seeing the big picture

Geoff Livingston

Geoff Livingston

A businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal village in Mexico. Just then, a skiff docked with one humble fisherman inside. His boat contained several large yellowfin tuna.

The businessman complimented the fisherman’s catch and asked how long it took to reel them in. “Only a little while,” the fisherman replied. The onlooker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer to catch more fish. The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s needs. “What do you do with the rest of your time?” the man pressed.

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll the village each evening, sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos,” the fisherman replied. “I live a full life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed. “I have a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. From there you would employ a crew, get bigger, and one day buy a fleet. Instead of selling your catch to middlemen, you would sell directly to the processor and then open your own cannery. To further expand, you could move to a large port city and eventually control the entire fishing supply chain.”

“How long will this take?” the fisherman asked.

“Fifteen to 20 years.”

“Then what?” the fisherman inquired.

With a laugh, the unsolicited advisor said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would sell your company and become rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions. Then what?”

“You would retire, move to a small coastal village, sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll the village each evening, sip wine, and play guitar with your amigos,” the businessman concluded.