Your own business. It can be a tool for designing a better life. Or, it can be a way to create an overbearing job.
Here is one of my favorite stories; a fable about the SelfEnterpriser:
The Mexican Fisherman
“A New York City executive was standing at the pier of a Mexican village, taking a much needed vacation. It was his first in more than 10 years.
He noticed a small boat with just one fisherman had docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The executive complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a short time.”
The executive then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican replied, “I have enough to support my family for a little while.”
The executive then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman said, “This town is quiet and the people are friendly. I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife. In the evenings I stroll to the village where I enjoy the cool air coming in off the beach while I play guitar with my amigos.”
The American smirked as his executive wheels were spinning in his mind. “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 having a bigger boat you could buy several boats and 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 Los Angeles, and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then?”
The American chuckled 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?”
“You could retire, of course. You could do anything you wanted, at any time. What would you want to do more than anything else?
The fisherman contemplated only a moment before answering. “I would move to where it is quiet and the people are friendly. I would sleep late, fish a little, play with my kids, and take siesta with my wife. In the evenings I would stroll to the village where I could enjoy the cool air coming in off the beach while I play guitar with my amigos.”
The conversation had come to an end.
—An apparent adaptation from a story written by Heinrich Böll
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Photo credits: flickr.com: Giorgio Galeotti, Akumal, Paul Sableman, Nan Palmero, Ron Wooten