Do you ever stop and think that the work culture we’ve created in America might be completely backwards?  The corporate climb; the 9-5 lifestyle; maybe we have it all wrong.

What’s the end goal of this game we’re playing?  Financial prosperity?  A higher socioeconomic status?  Early retirement?   What exactly are we reaching for?

I want to share with you a story that I’ve heard several times now that will bring these questions to the forefront of your mind.  This story challenged my own perspective on career and flipped everything I thought I knew on its head.  

It’s the story of the Mexican Fisherman:


A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in Mexico watched as a small boat with just one fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.

“Oh, a few hours,” the Mexican fisherman replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American businessman then asked.

The Mexican replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, and then 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 businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I think I can help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the extra money, buy a bigger boat. Then with the additional income from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would be able to control the product, processing, and distribution. Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

The American replied, “Probably about 15-20 years.”

“And then what?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the fisherman in disbelief.

The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish whenever you want, play with your grandchildren, take siestas with your wife, and stroll into the village each evening to sip wine and play guitar with your amigos…”


This is obviously not my original story, but it’s caused such a momentous change in my outlook on life that I wanted to share it with you.  It’s made me reassess my own goals and is a major reason for the recent shifts in my life.

What’s your interpretation of the story?  Let me know what you think!  Also, don’t forget to LIKE Straddle The Line on Facebook, RETWET me on Twitter, or SUBSCRIBE to my email List.  Thanks!!

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Are We Doing This All Wrong? The Story of the Mexican Fisherman
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