What Does Success Mean?


Friday 16 January, 2015 by Uncle Spike



Below you’ll find a story retold many times.
I’m sure many of you will know of it; but if not, I urge you to spare a minute to read it today….
Then consider the three questions I’ve added at the end.


A boat was docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village.

A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and… asked how long it took to catch them.

“Not very long” they answered in unison.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?”

The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

“But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs.
We have a full life.”

The tourist 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?”

“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?”

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years.” replied the tourist.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fishermen.

“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.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what we are doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexicans.


Three questions

How many of us spend our lives chasing that illusive dream?

Do you crave financial success, in the vain hope to live a more simple life?

If this vision is the epitome of success, do we really understand the meaning of ‘wealth’?


Food for though this weekend, eh? 🙂




14 thoughts on “What Does Success Mean?

  1. Mei-Mei says:

    That’s just what I needed to hear right now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know what? I hadn’t read the story yet and I liked it very much. Would reaching a balance between the two choices be a possible alternative? Working hard at something we really love doesn’t feel like work. However the time spent with our children, for example, when they are little can never be bottled for the days when we get more time. So I would say yes to work with a healthy dose of Carpe Diem too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Colleen says:

    Simplicity is the only way! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dayphoto says:

    When I was a young girl I always wanted to live on a farm, to be a farmer’s wife, and to be self-sufficient. When I was a young wife and mother I canned 365 quarts of everything, or I froze it–our freezer was a blessing. Today I look backwards and see the gift of dreams…Nice post, Uncle Spike.



  5. mukhamani says:

    Very, very true:) There is no end to desire, the more we get the more we want and life becomes complicated. We believe in carrying less burden in all senses:) Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Kasih says:

    Hi Uncle Spike
    Mmm… an interesting story to ponder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Spike – you are a philosopher!


  8. stemgir1 says:

    I love this story.


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