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There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.” “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” the businessman asked in astonishment.

This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said. The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?” The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, recruit more fishermen and lead a team of your own. You can set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, and finally to New York City, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?” The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!” The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

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4 Responses to “How Much is Enough?”

  1. Bill Livingston

    Eric,

    That is a great story and wonderful reminder. The greatest wealth of all is relational.

  2. Becky

    Eric,
    The story is so descriptive of what many Americans believe is necessary in life, always being told that they need “something else, and something else” all for little or nothing of what makes life truly rich and full. We seem to have bought into the lie that “big is better.”
    Glad you have defined focused living in total integration…doing authorized
    work!!
    Thanks for the story!

  3. Kara

    This is a GOOD perspective as we embark on a new business!

  4. David Cherry

    Seems so easy and yet we are so eager to make it harder!!

    With the credit card era we all have decided we can spend more then we actually make and then live our entire life’s trying to pay it back! For what??

    It has effected our family values because we are to busy at work to focus on our kids!

    Thanks for the post it is a good reminder of what is really important!

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