happy-have2

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(*attributed to PAULO COELHO

An American businessman was at the pier of a small Caribbean coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.

The businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied only a little while. The businessman then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time The fisherman said, I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play the guitar with my friends; I have a full and busy life, sir.

The businessman scoffed, I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat 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 processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move open in a larger city, then LA, and eventually New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.

The fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.”

What then, senor? The businessman laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich; you would make millions.

“Millions, senor?  “Then what”, asked the fisherman?

The businessman said, “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, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar.”

The fisherman responded to the businessman, “That’s what I am doing now without going through the effort for another 15 – 20 years. Why should I struggle to get the same which I am already having now in my life?”

Interestingly, the businessman had no answer for that!

The difference between “happy” and “have” is one of the hardest lessons in life learn.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Does your happiness lie in material comforts and wealth? If so, when do you think you’ll have accumulated the right amount of “stuff?”
  • Are you currently “happy” with what you have achieved in your life?
  • Are you happy with who you are? Do you identify yourself by your achievements, by what you have?
  • Who might you be without all your stuff?
  • Do you believe happiness is an “inside job?”
  • There is a difference between being “wealthy” and being “rich.” Any idea what that difference might be?


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(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

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