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The Fisherman & The Banker

The Fisherman & The Banker

A big shot investment banker was taking a much needed vacation on a small Mexican coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it. 

The banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the fisherman how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman replied he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The banker then asked “But what do you do with the rest of your time?

The fisherman replied, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine & play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor."


The investment banker scoffed, “I'm an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will all this 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 could make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The lessons we take

It's a simple parable that we try to live by and fallback to whenever we make business decisions here at Bottomless. When pursuing wealth and financial freedom, it's far too easy to build incessantly and forget the end game is happiness and a fulfilling life.

It's equally easy to forget all the goodness we're surrounded by. Sometimes the simple things in life that can give us true happiness are right in front of us.

The second lesson we take away is that the pursuit of more money, as a goal unto itself, really has no meaning, value, or purpose.

Find Your Why

This story always prompts us to "find our why". Why do we choose to hustle on our own business, when we could work a comfortable corporate gig from 9-5? Why do we produce small handmade batches with local artisans when we could mass-produce at a factory for much cheaper? Why donate a percentage of our proceeds to non-profits combating climate change, when we could save the profits to buy a private jet?

When we sit down and ask ourselves these questions, we’re reminded that working towards our own dreams is worth all the sacrifices, instead of building someone else’s dream. Providing full-time jobs with livable wages to artisan families is more sustainable than contracting to a factory paying low-wages. And that supporting a cause bigger than ourselves is more fulfilling than a fancy lifestyle.

We should always ask ourselves what our why is. Asking ourselves that question until our answers reach they’re logical conclusion before opting to take on increasingly stressful work roles & responsibilities to earn more money in jobs that we aren’t passionate about (or sometimes hate), is about as pivotal to our happiness as it gets.

Be More With Less

While we knew that all work and no play wasn’t the way. After college, we thought we would forever be stuck in the cycle of working to live. We thought we would always have a car payment, student loans & credit card debt and not enough money at the end of the month. We thought that we had to work longer & harder to make more, buy more, and have more. This story is our inspiration to slow down, reassess, and get real about how we want to live life. You definitely have to put in the work to be successful, but that doesn't mean you have to slave your life away. On the contrary, it’s all about working smarter & productively. So you can still have time to sleep late, play with your kids, take a siesta with your partner & enjoy a mimosa fueled brunch weekend with your amigas & amigos 🥂


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