I read this parable a long time ago and felt I wanted to share it with those who’ve not come across it. I don’t know it’s origin but it sums up my attitude to life which prompted me to leave the UK.
In the industrialised countries we work and work to make money to survive. Technology has allowed more work to be dumped on us: more work that we can actually cope with in a day.
The advertising industry works alongside this degenerate life to increase our dissatisfaction, then claim that buying products will solve this problem. The Protestant work ethic that mere ‘hard work’ is a good thing feeds into this equation.
So we slave to buy things we think we need but they actually only fuel a life that creates dissatisfaction.
This attitude is also being brought into Ghana, although it has not always succeeded because the benefits are not there for the majority of the people. The diaspora, many of whom were won over by the myths of the industrialised countries, also perpetuate this view and attempt to convince people back home to adopt it also.
I’m going to stick my neck out and claim that Ghanaian migrants are working like Europeans and North Americans in order to return home to live the remaining years of their lives in the peace they could already be living now. The myths created their feeling of dissatisfaction with what they already had. In the process they have now become dissatisfied with aspects of their own society, their perspectives have changed and they may never be able to be at peace back in Ghana. In the process of chasing their dream they may have extinguished it.
The Mexican Fisherman and the American Businessman
A fisherman docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American businessman complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American 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.”
The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the Mexican.
With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you could sell them directly to the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You could leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you could direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.
“Twenty..maybe 25 years,” replied the American.
“And after that?” the Mexican asked.
“After that? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you could go public, sell your stock and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?”
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near 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.”