by Ajahn Brahm
a quiet Mexican fishing village, an American on vacation
was watching a local fisherman unload his morning
catch. The American, a successful professor at a prestigious
business school, couldn't resist giving the Mexican
fisherman a little bit of free advice.
he began. "Why are you finishing so early?"
"Since I have
caught enough fish, Senor," replied the genial
Mexican, "enough to feed my family and a little
extra to sell. Now I will take some lunch with my
wife and, after a little siesta in the afternoon,
I will play with my children. Then, after dinner,
I will go to the cantina, drink a little tequila and
play some guitar with my friends. It is enough for
"Listen to me,
my friend," said the business professor. "If
you stay out at sea until late afternoon, you will
easily catch twice as much fish. You can sell the
extra, save up the money, and in six months, maybe
nine, you'll be able to buy a bigger and better boat
and hire some crew. Then you'll be able to catch four
times as many fish. Think of the extra money you will
make! In another year or two, you will have the capital
to buy a second fishing boat and hire another crew.
If you follow this business plan, in six or seven
years you will be the proud owner of a large fishing
fleet. Just imagine that! Then you should move your
head office to Mexico City, or even to L.A. After
only three or four years in L.A., you float your company
on the stock market, giving yourself, as CEO, a generous
salary package with substantial share options. In
a few more years - listen to this! - you initiate
a company share buyback scheme, which will make you
a multimillionaire! Guaranteed! I'm a well-known professor
at a US business school; I know these things."
The Mexican fisherman
listened thoughtfully at what the animated American
had to say. When the professor had finished, the Mexican
asked him, "But, Senor Professor, what will I
do with so many millions of dollars?"
American professor hadn't thought the business plan
through that far. So he quickly figured out what a
person would do with millions of dollars.
all that dough, you can retire. Yeah! Retire for life.
You can buy a little villa in a picturesque fishing
village like this one, and purchase a small boat for
going fishing in the morning. You can have lunch with
your wife every day, and a siesta afterwards with
nothing to worry you. In the afternoon you can spend
quality time with your kids and, after dinner in the
evening, play guitar with your friends in the cantina,
drinking tequila. Yeah, with all that money, my friend,
you can retire and take it easy."
Professor, I do all that already."
do we believe we have to work so hard and get rich
first, before we can find contentment?
grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in London.
Scholarships got him to Cambridge University where
he garnered a degree in Theoretical Physics. Eventually
disillusioned with the world of academe, he trained
as a monk in the jungles of Thailand under the highly
esteemed Buddhist master Ajahn Chah. A monk for over
thirty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide
and the abbot of one of the largest monasteries in
the southern hemisphere, regularly drawing multinational
audiences of thousands.