The Businessman and The Fisherman

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the 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 asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

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

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But… What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you could run your expanded enterprise with proper management.

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

To which the American replied, “15-20 years, 25 tops.”

“But what then, senor?”

The American 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 senor? Then what?”

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

From the book “The 4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss.

Seven Pearls of Wisdom from Epictetus

Now, who is Epictetus you may ask?

He was a Greek philosopher that lived about 1900 years ago. When he was young he was a slave in Rome but was later released and started to teach philosophy first in Rome and later on in Greece.

Epictetus was somewhat of a lonesome minimalist.

He lived with few possessions and by himself for a long time. He also seems to never have written anything, but luckily his thoughts were recorded by his pupil Arrian.

Here are seven excellent pearls of wisdom from Epictetus.

If you are going your own way, prepare for reactions.

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

Plus…

You choose to be insulted.

“It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.”

Forget about what you think you know.

“It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.”

Listen.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Appreciate what you have.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

Notice what is reflected.

“When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”

Suffering is optional. And so is happiness.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

“I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment?”

“It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.”

Re-posted from The Positivity Blog http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2008/02/22/epictetus-top-7-timeless-pearls-of-wisdom/

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