An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. 

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist  complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. 

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” 

The tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” 

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.” 

The tourist then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” 

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my  children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.” 

The tourist scoffed, ” I can 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 could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.” 

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” 

The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years.” 

“But what then?” asked the Mexican. 

The tourist 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?” 

The American 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 siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Working Right

I started my first blog begrudgingly my senior year of college for a creative writing class. Halfway through my semester I’d created a second that had four times the posts; and my hard drive double that in unpublished posts. After the class my “second” blog continued to run for years until recently when I shut it down and created this one. I went through 20 years of the government-run child farms (read: school system) before I realized that I enjoy writing.

Between my junior and senior year of college I found myself unemployed and living in my brother’s study on a pullout couch. I’d sold everything, packed my car and driven west about a year earlier. My worldly possession fit into a cargo box on the top of a station wagon and included a duffel bag of clothes, camping gear, and a milk crate full of books for when I decided to go back to school. After a discouraging day of job hunting I plunked down on the couch with my head in my hands. I looked up, grabbed the purple hardbound book at the top of the milk crate and started reading. A couple of hours later I’d finished Purple Cow and found an author I idolize to this day, Seth Godin.

The next day I got a library card. A month later I’d read every book by Seth and moved on to Guy Kawasaki, Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Hsieh, Steven Pressfield, Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, and many, many others. Before the next quarter I was filled with ambition and fond of my new-found interest… one I hadn’t realized through 19 years of school.

The point in all this is not the modern education system. I’ll expand on that post later. No this post is about how I got to where I am and the lessons I’ve learned–and more importantly those lessons I’ve realized.

Other People

In a graduation speech George Saunder’s said:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk–dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).