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  • Writer's pictureSusan Pattis

What Does Success Mean to You? (Part IV)

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

Today, I would like to share a real story of a dialogue between a businessman and a fisherman. I hope the story inspires you as it did me. A businessman was fishing off the pier of a small coastal town in Southern California when another fisherman passed by in a small boat, he had caught several yellowfin tuna. The businessman was curious about how long it had taken the fisherman to catch these fish. The fisherman said, "it took me only a short time." "Why didn't you catch more by staying out longer?" the businessman asked. "I had enough to support my family's immediate needs," the fisherman replied with a smile.

"What do you normally do with so much free time after fishing?" the businessman asked. The fisherman said with pride, "I wake up early, fish a little, play cards with my buddies, spend time with my two lovely sons, take a nap with my sweet wife, walk along the beach with her to see the sunset, I drink wine and beer sometimes with my family, and I sing in a small band with friends at the fish market. I have a lot to do daily, and I am happy, sir."

The businessman laughed and said to the fisherman, "I can help you be more successful if you’re interested. I have helped many start-up firms become successful companies. I see your potential to live a more exciting and fulfilled life. First, you need to spend more time fishing to make more profit, then you can buy a much bigger fishing boat, and eventually, you will own several large boats. You can sell your fish directly to processors, not to the middlemen, for a larger profit margin. You have the opportunity to control the products, the seafood processing, and the distribution channels. You can build a large fishing company, then acquire a seafood processing company in Los Angeles and other major American cities." "How long will this path take if I follow your suggestions, sir?" the fisherman asked. "About ten to fifteen years," the businessman replied with an excited tone. "What should I do after owning a large fishing company and a seafood processing organization, sir?" the fisherman asked again with curiosity. The businessman confidently answered, "You will be amazed by the next step. I can help your companies become listed on the stock market through the IPO, the Initial Public Offering and sell your company stocks to public investors. You can use all your imagination to live the life of a wealthy man."

"Wealthy man, sir? Then what should I do?" the fisherman kept asking. The businessman said, "You can retire after the IPO and move to an island with your family. You can sleep late, play cards with your buddies, spend time with your two lovely sons, take a nap with your sweet wife, walk along the beach with her to see the sunset, drink wine and beer sometimes with your family, and you can sing in a small band with friends." "Why shall I wait for ten to fifteen years to enjoy what I can do every day right now?" the fisherman said to the businessman. The businessman did not say a word after that.

Life is full of choices. Success in life is also a choice. You are successful if you choose how to live and enjoy a life of free will. Many people end up chasing the wrong goals for the wrong reasons. Most people's dreams are about making money or achieving a higher social status. The most significant misconception people have about success is that there is no way to define success without considering money and fame. Wealth and quality come from working hard on something that means a lot to those "successful people," like Bill Gates and Elon Musk. The two wealthiest billionaires started their business ventures not to get rich but to build things. Steve Jobs became extraordinarily wealthy and famous by making world-class products that make people’s daily communication easier. For Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs, money and fame were never on the list, they are just the by-products of their passion and commitment.

To Be Continued.


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