In today’s society, we are pushing individuals to complete more tasks in less time, accomplish greater challenges with fewer resources, and achieve much more early in life.
There is certainly nothing wrong with having a thirst for excellence and a mindset for accomplishment, but there are a few things to consider when that becomes the totality of your daily focus. There is proof that sometimes “less is more”. This tale demonstrates that perspective:
An American businessman was standing 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 yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.
“Only a little while” the Mexican replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs,” the Mexican said.
“But” the American then asked, “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 a siesta with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The American scoffed: “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat and, 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 consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would be able to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked: “But señor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied: “15-20 years.”
“But what then, señor?”
The American laughed and said: “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO – an Initial Public Offering – and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions, señor? Then what?”
The American said slowly: “Then you would retire! Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”
Monday Morning Perspective
“Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present. “ –Roger Babson
“Know how to live the time that is given you.” –Dario Fo
Often I see families trying their best to juggle multiple family commitments- work schedules, school activities, community service, church activities, sports, and other hobbies- all with diligent planning and execution that would make the most senior military officer beam with pride. They scurry from one event to the next ensuring that no member of the family “misses out” on a great opportunity.
Yet, recent studies show that adults spend less than 2 hours a day in engaged conversation with their spouses and less than 60 minutes per day engaged in direct conversation with their children.
It’s fantastic to be involved, but very difficult to avoid becoming overcommitted. I know- I struggle with the exact same thing.
But in this instance, like the fisherman, less is definitely more.
When it comes to spending time developing significant relationships, which you’ll hear people refer to as “quality time”, there is a fundamental misperception for most people today that “quality” can replace quantity.
When it comes to building bonds with others- no matter how fantastic the setting or the activity that you do together- the one factor that is always unchanging is time.
This week I challenge you to evaluate your calendar and your commitments based on the two factors here: quality and quantity.
If you can’t easily see that both factors are well represented in your most important relationships, it may be time to pencil-whip that calendar into shape.
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.