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1 MIN READING: The fisherman and the businessman

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”


classic Brazilian story, probably also present in other cultures. Someone found the English version, but I could not identify the translator

Peeling oranges

Ernest Hemingway, the author of the classic The Old Man and the Sea, went from moments of harsh physical activity to periods of total inactivity. Before sitting to write pages of a new novel, he’d spend hours peeling oranges and gazing into the fire.

One morning, a reporter noticed this strange habit.

“Don’t you think you’re wasting your time?” asked the journalist. “You’re so famous, shouldn’t you be doing more important things?”

“I’m preparing my soul to write, like a fisherman preparing his tackle before going out to sea,” replied Hemingway.

“If I don’t do this, and think only the fish matter, I’ll never achieve anything.”

Buying time

(the story below was a comment in “The fisherman and the businessman” by Benseddik. I liked it so much that I decided to post it in the main page)

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door.
“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.
“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?
“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.
“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”
“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
“Are you asleep son?” he asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills.
The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Mojud and the inexplicable life

By Paulo Coelho

Mojud was a civil servant in a government department in a small town in the interior. He had no prospect of ever getting a better job, the country was going through a major economic crisis, and he had resigned himself to spending the rest of his life working eight hours a day and trying to enjoy himself in the evenings and at weekends, watching television.
 
One afternoon, Mojud saw two cockerels fighting. Feeling sorry for the creatures, he strode into the middle of the square to separate them, not realising that he was interrupting a cockfight. The angry spectators attacked Mojud. One of them threatened to kill him because his cockerel had looked set to win, and he would have won a fortune in stake money.
 
Mojud was afraid and decided to leave town. People were surprised when he did not turn up for work, but since there were several other candidates for the post, they soon forgot all about the former civil servant.
 
After travelling for three days, Mojud met a fisherman.
 
‘Where are you going?’ asked the fisherman.
 
‘I don’t know.’
 
Touched by Mojud’s situation, the fisherman took him home with him. After a night of talking, he discovered that Mojud knew how to read and so he proposed a deal: he would teach the new arrival to fish in exchange for lessons in reading and writing.
 
Mojud learned how to fish. With the money he earned by selling the fish, he bought books with which to teach the fisherman to read. By reading, Mojud learned things he had never known.
 
For example, one of the books was about joinery, and Mojud decided to set up a small workshop.
 
He and the fisherman bought tools and went on to make tables, chairs, shelves and fishing tackle.
 
Many years passed. The two men continued to fish and they spent their time on the river observing nature. They both continued to study, and the many books they read revealed to them the human soul. They both continued to work in the joinery, and the physical work made them healthy and strong.
 
Mojud loved talking to the customers. Since he was now a wise, cultivated, healthy man, people came to him for advice. The whole town began to make progress because everyone saw in Mojud someone who could find effective solutions to the region’s problems.
 
The young men in the town formed a study group with Mojud and the fisherman, and then told everyone that they were the disciples of two wise men. One day, one of the young men asked Mojud:
 
‘Did you give up everything in order to devote yourself to the search for knowledge?’
 
‘No,’ said Mojud, ‘I ran away from the town where I lived because I was afraid of being murdered.’
 
Nevertheless, the disciples learned important things and passed them on to others. A famous biographer was summoned to write the lives of the Two Wise Men, as they were now known. Mojud and the fisherman told him the facts.
 
‘But none of that reflects your wisdom,’ said the biographer.
 
‘No, you’re right,’ replied Mojud, ‘but the fact is that nothing very special happened in our lives.’
 
The biographer wrote for five months. When the book was published, it became a huge best-seller. It was the marvellous and exciting story of two men who go in search of knowledge, give up everything they are doing, do battle against adversity and encounter obscure and secret teachers.
 
‘That’s not what it was like at all,’ said Mojud, when he read the biography.
 
‘Saints must lead exciting lives,’ replied the biographer. ‘A story must teach something, and reality never teaches anything.’
 
Mojud gave up trying to argue with him. He knew that reality teaches a man everything he needs to know, but there was no point in trying to explain.
 
‘Let the fools live with their fantasies,’ he said to the fisherman.
 
And they continued to read, write and fish, to work in the joinery, to teach their disciples and to do good. They both promised, however, never to read any more lives of saints, because the people who write such books do not understand one very simple truth: everything that an ordinary man does in his life brings him closer to God.
 
(Inspired by a Sufi story.)

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The priest and his son

By Paulo Coelho

For many years, a Brahmin priest had looked after a chapel. When he had to go away, he asked his son to carry out his daily duties until he returned. One of these tasks was to place the offering of food before the Divinity and to see if the food was eaten.

 
The boy set off cheerily to the temple where his father worked. He placed the food before the Divinity and sat waiting for the image to move.

 
He remained there all day. And the statue did not move. However, the boy, faithful to his father’s instructions, was sure that the Divinity would descend from the altar to receive his offering.

 
After a long wait, he said pleadingly:

 
‘Lord, come and eat! It’s very late and I cannot wait any longer.’

 
Nothing happened. The boy spoke more loudly:

 
‘Lord, my father told me I must be here when You come down to accept the offering. Why do You not do so? Will You only take the offering from my father’s hands? What did I do wrong?’

 
And he wept long and hard. When he looked up and wiped away his tears, he got a tremendous fright, for there was the Divinity eating the food he had placed there.

 
The child ran joyfully back home. Imagine his surprise when one of his relatives said to him.

 
‘The service is over. Where is the food?’

 
‘The Lord ate it,’ the child replied, taken aback.

 
Everyone was amazed.

 
‘What are you talking about. What did you just say? We didn’t quite hear.’

 
The child innocently repeated his words:

 
‘The Lord ate all the food I gave Him.’

 
‘That’s impossible,’ said an uncle. ‘Your father only told you to see if the food was eaten. We all know that the offering is merely a symbolic act. You must have stolen the food.’
The child, however, refused to change his story, even when threatened with a beating.

 
Still suspicious, his relatives went to the temple and found the Divinity sitting, smiling.

 
‘A fisherman threw his net into the sea and got a good catch,’ said the Divinity. ‘Some fish lay utterly still, making no effort to get out. Others thrashed about desperately, but were unable to escape. Only a few fortunate ones were successful and managed to get away.

 
Just like those fish, three kinds of men came here to bring me offerings: some did not want to speak to me, believing I would not respond. Others tried, but soon gave up, for fear of disappointment. This small boy, on the other hand, did not give up, and so I, who play with men’s patience and perseverance, finally revealed myself.’

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