Recently at a keynote I shared with a group of leaders a story that allowed each of them to think about their choices and how those choices affected their lives. The story had a profound impact on them and I want to share it with you.
The story begins in a tiny Mexican village.
An American tourist complimented a Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the fisherman.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the tourist.
The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The tourist asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife.
In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”
The tourist interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can sell the extra fish and use the money to buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the fisherman.
“When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the fisherman.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live on the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”
As leaders we are always choosing and the choices we make may come from the idea that we must have the best job, the most prestigious title, the newest technology.
But in reality our deepest pleasures almost always come from the simplest source and life is asking us to choose – to choose with great insight because when we do we make it right.
So what do you choose?
Choose self. Find your purpose and put yourself in the center of it.
Choose living over doing. The smartest and the most courageous thing you can do is to live the life you want. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else but you.
Choose what is right over what is easy. If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world. Don’t let the fear of difficulty guide you toward an easy choice when it comes to deciding your future.
Choose priority over pleasing. If you are busy pleasing everyone, you are not being true to yourself and you are not doing what is important to you. Nothing is worth more than knowing your priorities and acting on them. That’s success.
Choose to work less and have more. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in working and dealing until you are too stressed and exhausted to enjoy your life and the people you love.
Choose heart over mind. Choose the heart of intuition, knowledge, understanding, and trusting in favor of the mind, which is analytic, reasonable, precise, logical, and exact, which is caught up in systems and processes.
Lead From Within: After all is said and done we are free to choose, but our choices that are worthy don’t always come from the activities or achievements that involve making money or creating business. It may just be centered around a sense of purpose and cultivating meaning.
Every day, everywhere, we are surrounded by positive things and precious people.
Will you choose to see them?
The choice is ours.
We only have one life to live. Choose your life carefully; choose with insight and make it right.