Did you ever notice how some people spend all their time being miserable because they don’t like what they’re doing or because they’re unhappy about something in their lives? Have you noticed these same people taking out their frustrations on others?
I’ve been studying this phenomenon over the past decade. I’ve been especially curious as to why people like this refuse to make changes. Perhaps it is because they can’t see the future possibilities. Or perhaps they feel that in order to change, they may have to take a few steps back before they can move forward, in a new direction and going back is just too painful for them to consider.
We have addressed many issues in this newsletter involving the subject of happiness over the years. As a financial advisor, I need to understand what makes our clients feel successful, fulfilled and, yes, happy. I also need to understand the obverse. Why clients may not act in ways that, to me, would enhance their current and long-term prospects.
I think I have found the answer. Did you ever hear the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” If you’re standing in the middle of the woods, you can’t see the forest because the trees in front of you are blocking the way. That’s why it’s easy to get lost in the forest … as it is in life. What is needed is a broader perspective, a sense of the big picture, a vantage point from which you can see the entire forest. That, in turn, lays the groundwork for a more constructive and focused game plan that can help you realize your desired lifestyle. Gaining that broader perspective usually requires some assistance, perhaps from your financial advisor.
In my new book, “The Banker and the Fisherman – Lessons in Life, Happiness and Wealth in the 21st Century,” slated for release in November 2008. The focus of the book is a very instructive story I want to share with you now. Sadly the story’s author is unknown, but its powerful message lives on in the first chapter of the book.
The Banker and the Fisherman
An American investment banker was standing on the pier in a small Mexican village when a tiny boat carrying one fisherman docked. Inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it had taken to catch them. The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”
The banker then asked the fisherman why he hadn’t stayed out longer to catch more fish. The fisherman said he had caught enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The banker shot back, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The banker scoffed, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York, where you would run your expanding enterprise.”
The fisherman asked, “How long will all this take?”
“Fifteen to 20 years,” answered the banker.
“But what then?”
The banker laughed 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?”
The banker replied, “Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll into the village in the evenings, where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
As you can see from this short story, most people views things differently, and even an educated investment banker can miss the point. You may already have much of what you are looking for, but not realize it because you can’t see the forest for the trees. In order to make the most of your life, you need to know where you want to go and then figure out the best way to get there. Our hope is that this story and the book will help you on your journey.
If you would like to order “The Banker and the Fisherman – Lessons in Life, Happiness and Wealth in the 21st Century,” you can do so by going to our websitewww.rwroge.com or www.amazon.com. Clients of R. W. Rogé & Company will shortly be receiving a complimentary copy of the book, which is based on newsletter articles we’ve written that received strong feedback from readers.
We believe the book would make a great holiday gift for someone you love. It may just change the direction of that person’s life. While we can’t promise you that it will necessarily do that, think about how cool it would be if it did.