The Secret of Life...
Jun 19, 2023
Have you heard the story about the Mexican fisherman and the American investment banker?
One of my favorite song lyrics is James Taylor's song, "The Secret O' Life" which starts out "The secret of life is enjoying the past of the time..."
The story about the fisherman has changed my life and perspective on work. Every time I read it, I am more inspired to enjoy the journey of life.
An American investment banker 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 American 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 American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American 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 siestas 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.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and 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, and eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening 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 will run your expanding enterprise.”
he Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American 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 – then what?”
The American 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 siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Maybe the secret to having it all is realizing that we already do. Maybe we should do what we know is true for ourselves and best in our life, instead of listening to advice from others, maybe all the answers are inside of us when we make time and space to listen to the still small voice within. Maybe the time to build joy into our daily lives is right here, right now, not tomorrow or 20 years from now. Maybe we can't put a price on a happy life. Maybe we should spend time with our amigos who lift us up.
Yesterday, my family celebrated Father's Day and spent the entire day enjoying being a family with our amigos. It's a day that brings up all sorts of feelings as our kids are entering junior and senior years in high school and getting closer to leaving the nest. I made a slide show for my husband and through tears and laughter reflected on all the moments of connection, love, and vulnerability we have experienced together over the years as well as reminisced about so many moments of joy with my own dad who died when I was 23. I hope that his joy of life lives on in me and that as my kids make decisions about the direction of their own lives in the years to come, they remember that the secret of life is enjoying the journey.