“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.” – Pooh
I recently read a story about a rich business man and a fisherman, the story goes like this:
An American investment banker 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 American 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 American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American 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 siestas 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 American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could 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 would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American 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 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 siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The irony wasn’t lost on me. We spend so much time in thought about what we’re doing, where we’re going and chasing a pot of gold to pay for our houses, our cars, our clothes, our children’s education, our children’s activities, the list goes on and on. We rarely spend time in the present and enjoy what is right in front of us.
For the last 3 years I have been focusing on trying to slow things down. Instead of going shopping I stay home and make tea, I try to read and write more, I watch the shows I want to see, I spend time with my furbabies amongst the trees, every morning I wake up and step outside barefooted on the grass to ground myself to the earth; yet I still suffer anxieties and worries about the future. Why, I have everything I need and most important at this moment I have my health, my husband and my boys have their health. This is a moment for celebration, every day should be a celebration but there are days I wake up with dread and exhaustion before I even start the day.
I’m not the only one, so many people are trying to do too many things, have a too long to do list and feel they have to be successful in jobs or have lots of money to show the world just how important they are. It’s comical really, the way we live. We spend more time surfing the net watching how celebrities live rather than watching our own lives. We put too much focus into how much money one has, what they do for a living or their level of education. The truth is every day is an education, every day is a chance to learn something you didn’t know the day before. A formal education may bring you job success and money but there is nothing more important than an education in life and life’s ups and downs is the only school that can give you this education.
Winnie the Pooh has always inspired me to just be. He does nothing and yet things come to him, friends show up at the right time, he slows down time to enjoy his honey, he makes time for all the important people in his life and he sits when he’s tired. I’ve come to the realization that it is really just that simple, to have the life you want because that life is sitting right in front of you and it’s up to you to enjoy every single moment of it. All you have to do is start walking from where you’ve been to get to where you want to be.