Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It’s All Greek to Me

This week, I’m traveling through the beautiful country of Greece with my family and some close friends.  We are visiting Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini, and I am enjoying seeing historic sites and learning more about Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  I’m also becoming more worldly – for instance, I’ve learned that Greek yogurt is simply called yogurt over here.

The following is a story I came across about a Greek fisherman that I found especially worthwhile and timely for anyone in heated pursuit of their dreams. I hope you enjoy it…

An American business executive was on holiday in a small coastal village in Greece.  As he strolled the docks and took in the seaside beauty, he noticed a local Greek fisherman with a particularly sizeable quantity of fish. 

“That’s quite a catch,” he told the man, genuinely impressed.  “How long did it take you to get all those fish?”

“Not very long,” answered the fisherman, “perhaps an hour or two.”

This puzzled the executive.  “Really?  Then why didn’t you stay out longer to catch more?”

The fisherman shrugged, then answered that his catch was perfectly sufficient to meet the needs of himself and his family.

“But, then what do you do with the rest of your time?” the executive asked.

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a nap with my wife,” the fisherman answered.  “In the evenings, I go to the village to see my friends, dance a little, play the pan flute, and sing songs.  I have a full life.”

“Well, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I’m sure I can help you,” the executive replied. “And I’ll be happy to give you some free business advice that can definitely change your life.  You should start by fishing longer every day.  This way, you’ll catch extra fish that you can sell. Just think about it.  If you double the number of hours you fish, you can catch twice as much in a day.  With the additional money you’ll make from selling the extra fish, you’ll be able to buy a bigger boat.  A bigger boat will let you bring on a crew and fish deeper waters, which will earn you even more money as you continue to catch more fish.

With that additional money you’ll earn, you can buy a second boat, and then repeat that till you can buy a third boat, and so on until you have an entire fleet of fishing trawlers.  Also, instead of selling your fish to a middleman at the market, you’ll be able to start negotiating directly with processing plants.  At some point, maybe you’ll even open your own plant, so you can do your own processing and keep even more money.  You’ll be able to ship fish to markets all over the world.  And eventually, you can move to New York City to direct your vast fishing enterprise from the greatest business city on earth.”

“How long do you think all that would that take?” asked the fisherman.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years from start to finish,” the executive answered.

“And after I achieve all of that, then what?”

“When your business gets really big, you begin offering stock.  You’ll make millions!”

“Millions?  Really?  That’s a lot of money. I can’t even imagine what I would do with it.”

“Well, you’ll be able to retire, live in a small village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a nap with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing, and playing the pan flute with your friends…”  The executive stopped, realizing what he had just said.  The fisherman smiled. 

“Hmm.  Well, anyway, that’s quite a catch you have there,” the executive finished.  “Enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Thank you,” the fisherman answered.  “I certainly will.”

Now obviously, this isn’t a story about why you shouldn’t work hard.  It’s simply a reminder that we all need to consider some simple questions about what we do or hope to do with our lives.  Many people focus too much time on what they do for a living instead of on why they do it.  Once you understand the why, then you can organize your life so you don’t have to wait until you retire to truly enjoy what you love.  Start by pursuing what you love, and soon enough, you’ll be loving what you do!

As for me… I’m going back to the beach. 

Until Next Week,

Live Your Dreams!

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