The Rich Man and the Fisherman – A Tale of Perspective and Balance

by John Cummings on June 29, 2013

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How many hours a day do you work? Or, more importantly, how many hours do you NEED to work every day? I’ll bet you all the money you wish you had, that you’re working too many hours and a lot more than you need to work, in order to pay your bills.

One of the reasons we work too hard in this generation is that we want too much. But stay with me, because that’s not where I’m going with this. I love nice things and long vacations to exotic places. You can have all of those things but always remember that the goal is not to be rich or to aspire to things. I created the brand Barefoot and Rich (emphasis on barefoot) because all the money in the world means nothing if you don’t get to enjoy it.

So, keep in perspective what it is that you want. Chances are you really don’t care if you are a millionaire. What you’re probably after, if that’s your goal, are the things that you think millionaires enjoy:  white sandy beaches, more time with your spouse and kids, more golf time, more rest time. Set your sight on the thing that you’re really after and it usually is more time, rather than more money.

You may have heard this old tale before but it never gets old for me.  Enjoy! If you’ve heard it, share it!

The Rich Man and the Fisherman


A 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 looked up, waved both hands outward like a game show host displaying a stage full of prizes and said, “you mean, like this?”

-Author Unknown


The trick to having time and money is to pursue time first. Let me show you how. Enter your email address at right to get started.


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