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What then? After That? Then What?

It's a Friday. Thank God.

Friday's get me to think. To reflect.

And then I got reminded of a conversation from may be at least half a dozen years ago. This was with a friend, ex-roommate actually. He is currently in US.

Have admired his sense of taking life at a pace comfortable to him. Been more of a live in the moment guy. Prioritising today over tomorrow. I used to think that I would work hard till 45 and then earn enough to enjoy my life later. And in a very unique way of his, he reminded me "Bhai, 45 ko aur 20 saal hai. Kya pata kya ho jaye". Well, I scoffed at him.

As recent as a couple of years ago, he has been pushing me to come over to the US and take it easy. At least for a vacation.

This above conversation reminded me of a story I had read long ago and in some sense is relatable.

There are many versions of this story. This is the more modern one I have picked from Google. Enjoy.

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, 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.”

The 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?” asked the Mexican fisherman.

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.”

This story is so powerful. I have my own share of learnings. Here are they:

  1. Be More with Less: Sometimes you don't have to do more to be more. You can be more by doing less. But that less has to be more of the important stuff. The stuff that really matters.

  2. Un-complicate: Well, you don't have to necessarily take a complicated path to reach the destination. There are simpler paths too and there is nothing wrong in taking those paths.

  3. Choose today over tomorrow: Tomorrow is not guaranteed at all. If you can enjoy today, do it. There is an opportunity cost to pushing the simple joys of life.

  4. Choose Happiness: There is no price for a happy and peaceful life. Get smarter. Have multiple income streams. Use time to be happy.

  5. You have enough - Most times we have enough for us to live happy. We are indeed a privileged class. I am not saying there is anything wrong is wanting more but question yourself if you want to lose your peace over it. 'Living with Gratitude' is an invaluable attitude.

  6. What then? After that? Then what? - Ask this. To yourself. To others. As often as possible. For clarity. I value clear thinking over smart thinking. Know what you want to do. Know where you want to go.

You are free to pick your lessons from this powerful story. Feel free to share it with me.

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