What is happiness? – the famous Mexican Fisherman story

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 fisherman replied, “only a little while. The businessman then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The fisherman 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 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 businessman 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 businessman replied, “15 – 20 years.”
 
“But what then?” Asked the fisherman.
 
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 – 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.”
 
This story, adapted from “Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral,” (“Anecdote Concerning the Lowering of Productivity”) is one of the most famous short stories from German writer Heinrich Böll.
 
Many of us find happiness through owning material things – most of the time, happiness is just a simple thing.

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