Story of 2 Fishermen – Life Lesson?

Posted by mike on 10/04/2009

With all the things I’ve been getting involved with, I think back to an interesting story…I think it was good, reliable, relaxed friend Scott Katin. Well, before I start reflecting on it, let me do my best to re-write it here.

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Story of 2 Fishermen
2 fishermen are sitting in on a quiet beach, each day they catch fish, some to eat, some to sell to make a living. They grow up together, living life and sharing stories and chatting.

Then one day, one of the fisherman says “I want to try to make something of myself….I want to become something! I’m going to do it, go out into the world and become a success!”
2 chinese fishermen monterey bancroft
The remaining, content fisherman says “I wish you the best my friend, but I enjoy my life right here”

So the departing fisherman does just that, works hard, gets a corporate / office job. Climbs the “corporate ladder” and builds his wealth. Gets the corporate car, awesome promotion, retirement savings account.

Later, the corporate fisherman retires from the corporate world. He retires.

…..where do you think he retires to…????

He returns to the fishermen village. And he picks up a fishing pole and sits next to his old friend.

He turns to his old friend and says “hows everything? I missed it so much here. I worked so hard, made something of myself, made some money, look at me”

The long time friend replies, “welcome back, I’ve been enjoying life right here all along”.

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And that story should make all of us think. What are we here to do? Make money? Make business? No, while some of may enjoy that, we are here to enjoy our lives, share stories with our loved ones, and pass knowledge from generation to generation.

Then I sit back and think, am I living the right way? I’m here in China, on the other side of the world from my family, and my hometown friends. They are “fishing” back home, but then again, I know they are routing the best for me. And I want to bridge the divide of east and west. I love to share stories I have experienced in USA to eager, hungry Chinese listeners. Also, I am just starting to give some guest presentations to a local university, Shenzhen Tourism College Jinan University e-business students about USA and China ecommerce differences and similarities.

So I am trying not to just make money, but also share and learn. As I realize that is what life is about. And if I can help others to think outside the box, and grow, then maybe this is why I can justify “leaving my hometown fisherman village”.

Can you justify why you left your hometown fisherman village? What will you tell them after you retire and return – what will you have accomplished. Just money, or more?

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21 Responses to “Story of 2 Fishermen – Life Lesson?”

  1. marie says:

    This made me ask myself why? This is my answer, I went out of my hometown to someday bring jobs and business to my hometown people. Life in Philippines is hard. No jobs. Families were shattered as mothers have to go abroad work as nannies and fathers have to work as low costs labor for richer western countries. I like this article.

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    @marie – thanks for sharing your feelings Marie. Yea, you just have to keep being strong minded and thick skinned right. But we cannot save everyone, just educate. But I’ve learned, if you try to “take ownership” of someone else’s destiny, usually you’ll get burned and blamed. Its better to advise rather then get too involved in the outcome of other’s lives.

    @jim (dad) haha, thanks for reading, love you too

    @nigel – glad you like it, maybe the fishermen are different people, but in the end, they enjoy and live the end of their lives the same, right? Guess its all our own life choices right. Scott is a friend of mine, not a professional story teller.

    [Reply]

  2. jim says:

    what a great story . we are with you
    backing you all the way

    [Reply]

  3. nigel says:

    nice story,mike! i have been thinking about this question, too. but i think maybe you can’t say the fishermen are the same just because they have the same ending. anyway, it is indeed a high price as you have to leave your loved ones.
    also, is Scott Katin the story-teller? i have to know before translating it, you see.

    [Reply]

  4. dswei says:

    make the life more colorful, more meaningful, more valuable, it’s my idea for why I have to leave my hometown.

    I had written similar post in my chinese blog, it’s kind of philosophy things, deep into the root and even the origine of a person.

    I think now my dream is to get the freedom first, not only the humanbody freedom, but also the financial freedom, maybe one day I’ll be a philosopher or a traveler, i want to konw everything I don’t konw why.

    Freedom!! not in china, haha

    [Reply]

  5. BILL says:

    DEAR MIKE,
    THAT IS ALMOST LIKE AN OLD PROVERB. THE RUSSIANS HAVE MANY OF THEM.
    THER IS A STORY OF A LAND OWNER IN RUSSIA WHO OFFERED LAND TO A MAN ON THE CONDITION THAT THE MAN COULD RUN COMPLETELY AROUND WHAT HE WOULD CONSIDER THE PROPERTY HE WANTED. THE MAN RAN FROM DAWN TO DUSK AND WHEN HE WAS ALMOST AS FAR AS THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY HE FELL DEAD.
    SO THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS, HOW MUCH LAND DOES A MAN NEED, ENOUGH TO BE BURIED IN?
    I KNOW THIS IS A LITTLE MACABRE, BUT THERE IS SOME TRUTH IN IT.

    REGARDS,
    UNCLE BILL

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    hi Uncle Bill,
    thanks for that story….haha, yes, its true…..when we really break down what we’re here on earth to do, do material things matter so much? But I still like to think of it as a game….I’ll remember this story about the russian landlord….

    Dswei,
    yes, similar to me…..travel, freedom…but we have to fight to get this freedom….

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  6. Scott says:

    While I enjoy the fact that your making me some sort of legend revisiting these road stories of ours and now this proverb. I can’t take credit in telling you a story like this one. At least I don’t remember doing so.

    None the less, I do feel the same way that the hometown fisherman feels. I am content with what I have and how I live here in Connecticut. I am a very fortunate man and things have gone my way thus far in life and I can only hope they continue that way…

    I read your blog at my desk at work and thought about it most of the day. While there is virtually nothing that this hometown fisherman has regretted doing, there has certainly been experiences and he’s regretted which he hasn’t done. He never got out of those familiar waters and chased that trophy catch till dawn. He never had to stay up all night worrying about how he will be able to feed himself, or his crew’s family for that matter. He never had to repair his boat or climb a mast in 30 foot seas in order to get home. He’s never sank his ship only to rebuild everything and then sink the ship again. ….while it may sound silly for someone to want to do these things. You Mike will never know what it means to NOT do these. For the experience and the ride is all that matters isn’t it? We’re all going to get to point B, but how will you get there and what makes the fisherman the most happy is what counts. While I can hope that things can side my way for the remainder of time and the fish don’t run out (they will) You by now should be able to prevail no matter what. You’ll be the unsinkable ship able to fish in the darkest seas.

    And we’re def. all rooting for you.

    Scott

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    hey Scott,
    yea, maybe i shoulda asked you before crediting you – but I can imagine you having a story like this. and in the past, you have always been the grounded friend who has made me more humble about how i look at life.
    we all choose how we live our life, and yea, just like my blog is title “happiness in pursuit” i am happy with the hustle,..and the struggle, not the end result. so while I am stressed beyond what i can handle…and explore, that exact pain is what i am chasing for. If i don’t have that extreme stress and pain, then i am paranoid that i am not doing something right…..
    I miss you and the boys back home…so many times I think back to the days – washington DC 8th grade trip, the berlin turnpike friday nights, dave mathews band…..
    one day i’ll be back to fish again.

    lets all grab some big fishes, and some brewskis too

    [Reply]

  7. dawa lhamo says:

    dear reader’s,
    i am very fond of this story and its has change my mind. i thought people are earning money because of their life survival. but i was wrong we are working and earning money. not only that at the same we are also gaining experience. thats the important things. we should always satisfy for things that we have in our hands.

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    thanks for reading and enjoying Dawa!!! Yes, what is the meaning of life ??? that is what you think of ….school, job, family, retire

    but think outside of the box!!!!

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  8. rachelle says:

    nice story wish you can make another.
    do you have some more.

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    hi Rachelle,
    I am glad you got something out of it. I am working on more short stories for the blog…..

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    I just grouped together similar stories that have some moral issues with it here – http://blog.michaelmichelini.com/tag/moral-lessons

    [Reply]

  9. princejustine says:

    thanks mike to do a page like this

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    thanks prince justine,

    tes its these types of moral stories that make us really sit and think what life is really worth living for

    [Reply]

  10. pilo says:

    the story was very common yet so powerful that many of us did not realize/know the real purpose of living…we struggle and make a lot of sacrifices to make money that we almost forgot to live life, we rushed days and not enjoy each day, we can have big house but can’t make it a home..we saved wealth for future but we’re not sure if we can make it tommorow…everything on this life is uncertain, try to live one day at a time and make the best of it..have more time with your family and thank GOD for each day!

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    its these simple stories that make us realize life is too short and what is life worth fighting for

    [Reply]

  11. Mohammed says:

    great story blessed dear

    [Reply]

    mike Reply:

    Sure we only live once we have to stay motivated

    [Reply]

  12. rin tohsaka says:

    well this is short. not the other “SHORT” stories w/c are long.. i like the story.. :) )
    the message is.. “if u have a dream.. follow it. do it, no matter what it takes.” :D

    [Reply]

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