Mexican Fisherman and Harvard MBA – Alternate Ending

The following story by an unknown author highlights the importance of simple living and how a “rat-race” lifestyle makes us lose perspective. “Know what you want – you may already have it” .

After the story is presented in its original form, I propose an alternate ending.

An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village 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.

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

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied.

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

“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” the Mexican said.

“But,” the American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta 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, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own canning factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

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

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

“But what then, senor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, senor? Then what?”

The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. 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 to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”


If you just read this story for the first time, please stop here, dwell on the story for a little while before reading my continuation below:


The fisherman looked at the American with a puzzled expression.

“But, senor, I already have those things. I live in a village, sleep late, fish a little, play with my kids, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll to the village. In the evenings I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. Why should I spend another 15-20 years leading a life that will ultimately bring me to where I already am?”

“You may already have everything, ” the American replied. “Consider yourself lucky. You live by the ocean and don’t rely on others for a living. Most people in the world are not so fortunate. They rely on others to create opportunities for them.

“Your pursuit of millions will not be easy. Your life will be much more stressful. You’d face and overcome innumerable obstacles. But imagine how many more jobs you’d create through your fleet of fishing boats, cannery, factories, processing and distribution centers! Your successful enterprise would also generate substantial tax revenue for the government and your community. Would you not be willing to take some stress in your life if it does so much good for others?

Besides, you eat some of the best tuna fish in the world. Don’t you want the rest of the world to enjoy them as well?

“After those 15-20 years of hard work and stressful life,  you’d be very rich. But you’d also have improved the lives of others and made a difference. Then you can reward yourself with the relaxed, worry-free lifestyle you are leading now. Now is not the time.”


Two contrasting approaches to life.  Neither is wrong, but is one more right than the other? Has your life brought you in touch with more ‘fishermen’ or ‘Harvard MBA’s? Which one have you been? Which one do you wish to become?


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Ten reasons why midlife is wonderful

10. You realize that you had better start a blog before you run out of time.

9. Your children tell you that you’re too old to have a Facebook page, but you challenge them to a race on who can make more friends by the year end.

8. Your doctor sees early signs of your body breaking down due to years of neglect, but you are convinced that there’s still time to fix it.

7. There are plenty of moments about which you could have Deja Vu moments.

6. You have enough gray hair for people to take you seriously, and quite a few black ones to make them feel stupid for doing so.

5. Your brain can read between the lines in places where your eyes are squinting to read the fine print.

4. You could oversell both your experience and future in a job interview and get away with it.

3. When your uncle tell your children stories about how adorable you were when you were a kid, you could make a kitty face and go, “Am I not adorable now, Uncle Tom?”, and get away with it.

2. When your niece’s toddler calls you a grandpa, you could take offense and get away with it.

1. Contrary to popular belief, this is no time for crisis. It’s time to get away (with just about anything).

I’m lovin’ it! How about you?

– Siva

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