~by Heinrich Boll
One summer, many years ago, a banker was vacationing in a small village on the coast. He saw a fisherman in a small boat by the pier with a handful of fish that he’d just caught. The businessman asked him how long it took him to catch the fish and the man said he was out on the water for only a couple of hours.
“So why didn’t you stay out there longer to catch more fish?” asked the businessman.
The fisherman said he catches just enough to feed his family every day, and then comes back.
“But it’s only 2 pm!” said the banker, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman smiled and said, “Well, I sleep late every day, then fish a little, go home, play with my children, take a nap in the afternoon, then stroll into the village each evening with my wife, relax, play the guitar with our friends, laugh and sing late into the night. I have a full and wonderful life.”
The banker scoffed at the young man, “Well, I’m a businessman from New York! Let me tell you what you should do instead of wasting your life like this! You should catch more fish to sell to others, and then buy a bigger boat with the money you make so you can catch even more fish!”
“And then what?” asked the fisherman. The banker’s eyes got all big as he enthusiastically explained, “You can then buy a whole fleet of fishing boats, run a business, and make a ton of money!”
“And then what?” asked the fisherman again, and the banker threw his hands in the air and said, “You’d be worth a million! You can then leave this small town, move to the city, and manage your enterprise from there!”
“How long would all this take?” asked the fisherman. “Fifteen to twenty years!” replied the banker.
“And then what?”
The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. You can then sell your business, move to a small village, sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take naps in the afternoon, go for an evening stroll with your wife after dinner, relax, sing, and play the guitar with your friends. You would have a full and wonderful life!”
The fisherman smiled at the banker, quietly gathered his catch, and walked away.