This week my brother Jamie posted an article on Facebook which talked about the modern epidemic of being busy. It was really interesting and something I’ve been thinking a lot about in the past few months. The article talks about the fact that often times when you ask someone how they are they will reply with I’m so busy…If you’re not too busy then read the article here. Normally when people are saying that they sound stressed, exhausted and perhaps even a little overwhelmed.

At the same time though, the answer I’m so busy, is like a badge of honor. It means that things are good, I guess in the sense progress is being made, you’re in demand in your field. But one has to make sure that one is headed in the right direction with all the busyness instead one could find oneself burrowing away in the total wrong field.Like this favorite story of mine illustrates it is worth spending a moment to get 100% clear why one is doing what one is doing.

A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.

“Oh, a few hours,” the Mexican fisherman replied.

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

The Mexican warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to meet my family’s needs.”

The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

Responding with a smile, the Mexican fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ball games, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”

The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you can buy a second boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”

Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to Mexico City, or possibly even Los Angeles or New York City, where you could even further expand your enterprise.”

Having never thought of such things, the Mexican fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”

After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”

“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.

The businessman boasted, “Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ball games, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”


Tags: , , , ,


  • Michele August 26, 2015 Reply

    Yep, love that story. So true. Thanks for this. Think we’re all being challenged to SLOW DOWN.

    • Mhairi August 29, 2015 Reply

      Thank you for reading. Yes its untenable to continue on at this pace, at the end of the day what are we racing for?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *