We often operate on auto-pilot and then can easily overlook the blindingly obvious. The following story serves to remind us to check why we do what we do and begs the question 'is yours a full and happy life?'
A businessman on holiday in an African fishing village watched a small fishing boat dock by the quayside. Noting the quality of the fish, he asked the fisherman how long it had taken to catch them. 'Not very long' answered the fisherman. The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The businessman asked 'But what do you do with the rest of your time?' 'I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, have an afternoon rest under a coconut tree. In the evenings I go into the community hall to see my friends, have a few beers, play the drums and sing a few songs...I have a full and happy life' replied the fisherman.
The businessman ventured 'I have an MBA and 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. With the extra money the larger boat will bring you can buy a second and third boat and so on until you have a large fleet. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a city here or maybe somewhere further afield, from where you can direct your huge enterprise.'
'How long will that take?' asked the fisherman.
'Oh ten, maybe twenty years' replied the businessman.
'And after that?' asked the fisherman.
'After that? That's when it gets really interesting' answered the holiday maker, laughing. 'When your business gets really big you can start selling shares in your company and make millions!'
'Millions? Really? And after that? pressed the fisherman.
'After that you'll be able to retire, move to a small village by the sea, sleep in late every day, spend time with your family, go fishing, take afternoon naps under a coconut tree and spend relaxing evenings having drinks with friends...'
Now with that story in mind maybe ask yourself a few questions:
Do you live to work or work to live?
Is your life full and happy?
Have you a healthy and fulfilling balance in your life between work, rest and play?
Are you operating on auto-pilot most of the time?
At this time of year, with Christmas approaching and New Year resolutions soon to be considered perhaps, like me, you will be reflecting on your life and what you spend your time doing. I hope this little story will help you make better sense of where more of your time should go and make 2014 a full and happy year.