“do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life”

In my last class of college, my accounting professor left our class with this story to close:

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.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the

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, perhaps 25 years,” replied the American.

“And after that?” the Mexican asked.

“Afterwards? 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?”

“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.”


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  1. #1 by informationforager on March 24, 2011 - 7:54 pm

    I really like this. I hope I’m not bragging but I recently retired and am doing all the things I’ve wanted to do forever. I’m starting my garden tomorrow, I am a beekeeper. I’m learning tap dancing off of the internet….. You get the idea. I’m extremely greatful for what I have and give thanks for it every day. If family or friends need help, I say, “Yea, I can help”.

    But actually that wasn’t the point of your blog was it. I did work most of my life. I can only reinforce your message that it’s not the job or career that is your life. It’s the little joys and satisfactions, the things that you can do with your wife, kids, & family that really count. Don’t squander your life on a job or a career. No one will care about that. It’s the memories that you make everyday with loving family and friends that make a life

  2. #2 by Dayle on March 24, 2011 - 8:12 pm

    My uncle always says, “I work to live. I don’t live for my work.”

    I recently quit a steady, though meaningless job to start doing what I love. Financially, it’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be extremely difficult . . . BUT I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life. I work quite a bit, but I also get to spend an exorbitant amount of time with my daughter, I never miss family gatherings anymore, and I can spend Friday nights snuggling up watching a movie with my boyfriend . . . instead of working till the wee hours of the morning. It doesn’t get any better 🙂

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