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Living Well on Less

April 2nd, 2006 at 11:57 am

Have you seen this before? It may be old hat, but I thought I'd share it just in case you hadn't seen it.

Someone posted this at the weight loss site I post to. I had expressed how much happier I'd felt since I'd abandoned such a fast-paced, rat-raced lifestyle, and one of the other posters shared this. I love it.

Although it speaks to the unhealthy gluttony of "first world countries," really the lesson transcends nationality.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"Then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty or twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well my friend, that's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

And the moral is: Know where you're going in life ... you may already be there.

8 Responses to “Living Well on Less”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    Thanks, I enjoyed that!!

  2. ~Dawn Says:


  3. fivecentnickel.com Says:

    [ Trackback From: fivecentnickel.com - Festival of Frugality #17 ]


    Good morning, and welcome to the 17th edition of the Festival of Frugality. What follows are the submissions that are (in my opinion) clearly about frugality, or that at least talk about...

  4. Bre Says:

    that was a wonderful read.. thank you!

  5. Sam Says:

    Sorry, but I just had to steal this. It is wonderful. Thanks

  6. Monica Ricci Says:

    You mentioned how much happier you are since you abandoned the fast-paced, rat-race lifestyle. This indicates that (gasp!) you have a CHOICE. What a concept. So many people claim victim status, as if they are somehow forced to live the lives they've created. I applaud anyone (and I try to teach this every day) who "gets it" that lifestyle is a concious choice and you can simplify your life beginning first by choosing to. ~Monica

  7. Nicole Humphrey Says:

    Awesome blog! I enjoyed the whole entire blog but especially enjoyed this entry! Thanks for the well written, very informative post! Smile I absolutely love living the lifestyle!

  8. Karlie Says:

    I enjoyed your post. There is a simple truth there for those who are not too busy to ponder it. Too many of us are caught up in a busy lifestyle and don't think past how busy we are or that there is an alternative - learning to live well with less.

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