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The businessman and the fisherman on the meaning of money
By Tammy May

What is the meaning of money?Last month I wrote a post about money misconceptions and I tried to address some popular misunderstandings about money. This week I want to share a parable with you about money and success. You may have heard it before, but it’s worth reading again. This little story is a great reflection on questions such as: What does it mean to live well? What are we striving to achieve? How do we measure success? What is the meaning of money?

A businessman was travelling abroad when he visited a charming coastal village. As he enjoyed walking along the pier a small boat with a lone fisherman inside slid up to the pier and 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.”

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” asked the businessman. The fisherman shrugged and said he had enough to support his family's needs and save a little for the future. The businessman then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The fisherman shrugged again and said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take an afternoon nap with my wife, and play guitar with my friends in the evenings. I have a full and busy life, señor."

The businessman scoffed, "I have an MBA and I could help you. If you spend more time fishing, you’ll be able to buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from a bigger boat, you can buy several more boats and eventually manage a fleet of boats and workers. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you could sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You could set up offices in Los Angeles and New York. That would allow you to control the product, processing and distribution.”

The fisherman thought about this for a few seconds then asked, "But how long will this all take?" To which the businessman replied, "Fifteen, maybe 20 years.”  “And then what would I do?” asked the fisherman.

The businessman laughed and said, "That's the best part! When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions." "Millions? Then what?" asked the fisherman. The businessman said, "Well, of course then you would retire. You’d move to a charming coastal village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take an afternoon nap with your wife, and play guitar with your friends in the evenings.”  –Author unknown

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