canoe

May we all be Mexican fishermen

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

As you start this week, may you find contentment in the pursuit of enough. With money, time, relationships, your home, and even your dreams and goals, may you peacefully and boldly pursue that sweet spot called enough, where you aren’t in need, but also aren’t burdened with needless abundance.

And in this process, may you enjoy the immediate benefit of finding your definition of enough—that you can slow down, better enjoy the journey of it all, and remove the chains of our culture so often weigh us down. The ones that tell us we constantly have to do and be more.

It reminds of this classic story I tell in my upcoming book—you’ve probably heard it before:

There was a businessman who stood at the pier of a small coastal village in Mexico. A fisherman docked his small boat, where he had several yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented him on the quality of his catch. “How long did it take you to catch them?” he asked. “Only a little while,” the fisherman replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the businessman asked. The fisherman said, “Well, I’ve caught enough to support my family’s needs for today.”

“So what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the businessman, slightly incredulous. The fisherman said, “Hmm… I sleep in, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and then in the evening, we stroll into the village to sip wine, play guitar, and spend time with our amigos.”

The savvy businessman scoffed. “I have an MBA, so let me help you. If you spent more time fishing, you could buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you’d have a fleet. And then, instead of selling to a middleman, you could sell directly to a processor and eventually open your own cannery and brand. You’d then control the product, so you’d need to leave this little village and move to Mexico City, then on to Los Angeles, then eventually New York City, where you’d run your enterprise.”

The fisherman quietly listened for a bit, paused, and then asked, “How long will all this take?” “Fifteen to twenty years,” replied the businessman. “Starting and growing a business takes time and dedication.”

“Then what?” the fisherman asked. “Then you’d retire,” answered the businessman. “You could sleep in, fish a little, play with your grandchildren, take siestas with your wife, and in the evenings stroll into the village to sip wine, play guitar, and spend time with your amigos.”

“But aren’t I doing that already?” replied the fisherman.

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Comments

  1. LOVE this story – I’ve heard it before but needed the reminder today! Thanks!

  2. YES!! Also, just listened to the podcast over the weekend. It was like being in good company. Thanks for what you offer.

  3. Amen!

  4. Thank you!! I needed this reminder.. “burdened with needless abundance”.. THAT is what I need to avoid and instead, focus on remaining in my sweet spot.. Just that sometimes, I wonder that if I do that {remaining in my sweet spot} will I lose ambition and stagnate..

  5. Oh, I just love this! The joy in contentment and enjoying an entire life! Thanks for sharing this Tsh. I’ll be passing this along, for sure :)

  6. LOVE this! Good perspective. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

  7. “…enjoy the immediate benefit of finding your definition of enough—that you can slow down, better enjoy the journey of it all, and remove the chains of our culture so often weigh us down.”

    Love that.

    I’m inspired to go edit our needless abundance of toys right now :).

  8. That’s one of my favorite stories. And “enough” is one of my words for this year (and for my life).

  9. Reminds me of the verse – “Godliness with contentment is great gain..” Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Amazing timing – this was the illustration in our sermon yesterday!
    I have been contemplating contentment and the idea of counting my blessings – meditating on what I HAVE and not on some unknown future.
    Very related to your awesome idea of “The grass is always greener… where you water it!”

  11. This is beautiful

  12. This story is just so great. I haven’t heard it before. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to read the whole book. :)

  13. I’ve never heard this story before. Much appreciated!
    I’ve already pre-ordered your book and look forward to reading it! Though it’s ostensibly a gift for my mom, I *may* need to read it first… you know, for quality control. ;)

  14. This is just brilliant!!! What a good read, so much scurrying around and it is all senseless!!! I am so with the fisherman…

  15. Love that story! Why wait till retirement to enjoy life today? :)

  16. Love this story every time I read it! That is definitely the sweet spot; providing enough, and still leaving your life open for the truly good things. A lot less stress than running a large business, too!

  17. Having enough and my fear of missing out are in a fight to the death.

    I hope enough wins…

  18. Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock. I’ve never heard this story. It says it all really.

    Go-getters are disdainful of the idle-but-happy.

  19. I read this yesterday and the story stuck with me all day long as I pondered the thought … what is enough? What a funny life we live, always wanting more when maybe we could have it today if that’s what we decide.

  20. thanks! I have heard that story and I love it. and I was pleased to read it…I first heard it from a friend who was traveling in Spain at the time, and was sad to lose the message in an email server crash. so it’s nice to see it again.

  21. avatar
    gail {astackofdishes.com} says:

    This is one of my favorite stories. My dad used to tell it all the time. Thank you for sharing it! It’s good to remember.

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