As we consider another Labor day, let’s take a moment to reflect on WHY we work.
I found this story posted on a barroom wall on a sandy beach in Belize. I’ve since found it dozens of places on the internet, and even today by http://www.jamesaltucher.com – one of my favorite bloggers. I first posted it in November 2009.
And, This is usually the last story I teach for Entrepreneurship:
(Credited to “Anonymous”)
A boat docked in a tiny Belizean village. An American tourist complimented the Belizean fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the Belizean.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.
The Belizean explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”
The American interrupted, “I have an MBA and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the Belizean.
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the Belizean.
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.
“And after that?”
“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Belizean.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”