The header photo is a shout out to one of my favorite stories about earning, consumption and contentment:
One day a fisherman was sitting on a bench on a lovely pier, watching the tide come in. His fishing pole propped up and he was very relaxed.
A businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the pier’s bench and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family.
“You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman, “you should be working rather than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “Why would I want to do that?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“Alright, but why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat which will then result in larger catches of fish!”
“Okay sure, but why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.
The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions.
“You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
The fisherman responded, “Sure, but what could I do then?”
The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, simply looked up, nodded and said: “And what do you think I am doing now?” He then looked at the sunset, with his pole in the water, opened a beer and offered one to the businessman.
The takeaway should be pretty clear. When we think about careers, the point shouldn’t be to amass wealth but to create meaning.