The Fisherman And The Banker

By August 29, 2011 Mindset 4 Comments

This story has been around for a long time, and it illustrates a very poignant point.

If we are continually striving so hard for success, we can easily miss the point that success is not just about the accumulation of wealth and power.

What is it that you really want in your life. Think about this carefully, and ask yourself what are the most important things are to you right at this very moment.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll have anything tomorrow.

A banker who was a hard nosed businessman was vacationing in a small coastal village. While walking near a pier he saw a small boat with just one fisherman. Inside the boat with the fisherman were several yellow-fin tuna. The businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of his catch and asked how long it took to catch them.

“Only a little while,” he replied.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” the banker asked.

The fisherman responded, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap in the afternoon, and stroll into the village each evening with my wife where we relax and sing and I play guitar with our friends. I have a full and busy life.”

The businessman scoffed, “You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat and with the proceeds buy a fleet of boats. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you could sell directly to a processor. You could eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small village and move to a big city where you could run your expanding enterprise.”

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

The businessman replied, “15 to 20 years!”

“But then what?” asked the puzzled fisherman.

The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. You can sell your business and retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take afternoon naps, stroll to the village in the evenings with your wife where you could relax, sing and play guitar with your friends. You would have a full and busy life.

The fisherman smiled at the businessman, quietly gathered his catch and walked away.

If you knew that this was going to be your last week on earth, would you rather be the fisherman or the banker?

About Andrew Roberts

Andrew is well known as one of Australia’s leading business mentors, is a Strategic Business specialist, and has been known to work his own magic with a host of companies featured in various Top 100 BRW lists. Andrew has gone from running one of the largest business coaching companies in Australia to focusing on specialists and leaders of various industries.

  • Elice

    OMG I’d never thought of that. How funny! That businessman didn’t even understand why the fisherman didn’t want to listen to him. I love this story! Really makes you think

  • Ron Smith

    I have never heard this story before, but thank you for sharing. If this was my last week on earth I would be the fisherman because with the banker idea I would never live long enough to fulfill that.

  • Ally Ree

    Such a cute story. The fisherman is so funny. He just left and smiled. The businessman needs to think that we only have one life. We need to enjoy our life. 15-20 years is so LONG!

  • Daria

    For some reason, I envision coastal Japan when reading this story! I think it’s the reference to yellow fin tuna! Sushi, yummm!

    It illustrates, too, how hard it is for the businessman to just relax and stop thinking about work and profits and how to industrialize and develop everything in sight.

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