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What you can learn from a Mexican Fisherman

No. 024 Reading Time 4 minutes

Today, we want to share a tiny story with you that we came across before we moved to the countryside. It had a huge impact on our lives. It still does. We often re-read it to ground ourselves when we find ourselves becoming too ambitious or getting caught in the chase.

The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was taking a vacation in a small coastal Mexican village.

He was at the pier 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. He 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?”

I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.

said The Mexican fisherman

The American scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can 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, and eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said.

“Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to 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, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public, and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

(Source: Heinrich Böll’s short story Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral)


This story is a reminder of how we are guilty of chasing financial wealth at the expense of the present moment.

It helps us ask ourselves important questions:

What's the end goal?

Are we chasing what we already have?

How much wealth do you need for a fulfilling life?

Are we sacrificing spending time with our loved ones now in the name of work, to spend quality time in the distant future?

Reply and let us know what you think of this story.


Raghav and Ansh

PS: We have been trying to be more active on Linkedin, so if you wish please connect, and follow. However, that works.


What you can watch - CHOOSING to LIVE a SIMPLE LIFE

“ Simplicity is purity. It is facing the true nature of things and embracing it, instead of filling a hole inside you with chaotic activity or an overabundance of stuff.

Simple, straightforward, meaningful - these words describe freedom, not limitation - intensity, not distraction - a life fully lived, not a life of lack. A simple life is a deep life..”

“It’s been about a decade now since I really shifted my life. I was living a very materialistic life. I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was thirty. Then I started to listen to other perspectives and I just woke up to the fact that my life was not what I thought it was at all. I was buying into all these lies that corporations had sold me on what I needed to do in order to be a happy, healthy, successful human being and I pretty quickly decided that I was going to radically transform my life.”

What You Can Read - Two quotes we stumbled upon.

“As we live and as we are, Simplicity - with a capital "S" - is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.”

Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House

“The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching.Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Tiny Farm Friends Newsletter. Every Sunday, we share tiny valuable lessons to help you transition to the countryside and build naturally.


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