24 August 2017
The parable of the businessman and the fisherman
Another recurrence which fits the vacation mood. This instructive parable has a lot of wisdom in it. Here goes.
A successful businessman on vacation was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman proudly replied, “Every morning, I go out in my boat for 30 minutes to fish. I’m the best fisherman in the village”.
The businessman, perplexed, then asks the fisherman “If you’re the best, why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish? What do you do the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, spend quality time with my wife, and every evening we stroll into the village to drink wine and play guitar with our friends. I have a full and happy life.”
The businessman scoffed, “I am successful CEO and have a talent for spotting business opportunities. I can help you be more successful. 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 with many fishermen. Instead of selling your catch to just your friends, you can scale to sell fish to thousands. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the big city, where you can oversee your growing empire.”
The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the businessman replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the fisherman.
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 – then what?”
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, spend time with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends.”
You may wonder what I think the moral of the story is. What is it to you?
It has different layers, there’s something for everybody. What speaks to me are two insights: one is to live more in the actual moment, to be very conscious of the beauty surrounding us in the present. Analysing or brooding over things past or focusing on making plans for tomorrow – like the businessman – imply that you do not experience the present. And ultimately what is NOW is the only thing that is real. Thinking about what happpened or will happen often creates negative thoughts, leading to negative feelings about yourself, others, circumstances, etc.. resulting in the big S word: STRESS.
This brings me to a second insight: it often seems as if these stressing and limiting thoughts and emotions are a part of us, that they make us who we are. In fact, we are often convinced that they serve us, that they are qualities. The businessman is certainly convinced of this. After all, his relentless urge to perform and do better and get richer have advanced him materially and financially – and isn’t that the best proof? But such convictions are also a trap if you let them take you too far. Then they sabotage instead of help you, as this parable illustrates wonderfully. We always have a choice: do we listen to our sabotaging inner voices or do we opt for what we really want, like the fisherman?
Ancient Wisdom as a vaccine
In De Standaard of 21 April (one of the major local newspapers) there was a beautiful article entitled "Art as a vaccine in the post-corona era". Why wait for that post-corona era? Yesterday the parable "This too shall pass" ended up in my mailbox.
28 April 2020
The invisible dog or how being hard headed does not pay off
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Humans excel in that. We somehow believe that if we keep trying harder we will ultimately succeed, even if we keep ending up with the same result, time and time again.
2 November 2018
From King of the Mountain to Swimming Champion
23 August 2018
What if email, mobile phones and social media did not exist?
12 July 2018
Don’t make change too complicated. Just begin.
14 June 2018
Why not take a mini-holiday
10 May 2018
Lost in deconstruction
"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star" [Friedrich Nietzsche]
19 April 2018
How Dog had a breakthrough – a contemporary fable (part 2)
15 March 2018
How Cat & Dog should follow the example of Mouse, a contemporary fable
15 February 2018
Winter’s life lesson
21 November 2017
A juvenile delinquent dog or the price of adulthood
When we reach the age of adulthood we seem to have internalised all those responsibilities, expectations and limitations. As if the free creatures that we once were are forgotten.
18 January 2018
Lessons taught by wild geese
16 November 2017
Who is the King of Creation?
What if things were different from what we have always assumed? It can make you feel very unsafe to question your normal perspective. On the other hand it also offers incredible freedom and creativity to step outside the beaten track and become curious.
19 October 2017
From prey to predator and vice versa
From prey to predator and vice versa, the natural order put upside down. The animals themselves do not seem to be bothered by it - for sure Django isn’t, and the hens appear to find it quite normal to be on top of the food chain.
5 October 2017
How is your Monkey Mind?
We all have a Monkey Mind, Buddha said, with scores of monkeys, all demanding attention. The fear monkey is the loudest of them all, he is constantly ringing the alarm bell, drawing our attention to things we should be wary of and to everything that can go wrong.
21 September 2017
Mr Goldberg and his assumptions
It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the assumptions you have about the persons with whom you have a relationship. You could develop the habit to ask yourself if a certain assumption is really true. And what if it is not?
10 August 2017
Asking for help is something we struggle with and we will only ask when we have no other option. We believe that asking for help and putting ourselves in a vulnerable position is a sign of weakness. Asking for help creates a warm connection between the asker and the giver.
20 April 2017
What if ....?
What if you would use a different perspective to look at what you have always assumed to be the objective reality? Does objective reality as such even exist?
9 February 2017
Frieda just asks
Asking for help is something that is hard to do for a lot of us. Self-reliance and autonomy are highly respected in our individualistic society. Another aspect of asking for help is that we build up a 'debt' as it were, We also do not like to disturb others with our problems
18 February 2016