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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A frugal fable. . . . .

In keeping with my current thoughts about the definition of success in my life (more money, or more time?) I'm reading a great book right now, entitled "Beating the Success Trap: Negotiating for the Life You Really Want and the Rewards You Deserve", by Ed Brodow. I just wanted to share a fable that is included in the beginning of the book:

"A businessman is vacationing in a sleepy fishing village in Maine. He meets a local fisherman who is docking his small boat, which contains a few fat fish. The business admires the man's haul of the day and asks how long it took to catch.

'Oh, a couple of hours', is the reply.

'Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish'?

'Because I already have enough to feed my family.'

'Well', the businessman continues, 'what do you do with the rest of your time'?

'I sleep late, play with my kids, make love to my wife, walk into town every night where I have a glass of wine and play cards with my buddies.'

The businessman hands him his card. 'I'm a business consultant. I can help you out. You need to spend more time fishing. Then you could sell off the extra fish and buy a bigger boat with the money. With the income from the bigger boat, you could buy several more boats. If you play your cards right, eventually you could have a fleet of fishing boats and your own cannery. You could then move to New York where you would be able to oversee your growing operation.'

'How long will all this take?' the fisherman asks.

'Twenty years.'

'Then what?'

'Then you would go public and sell your stock for millions.'

'Then what?'

'Then you would be able to retire. You could move to a small fishing village where you could afford to sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, make love to your wife, and play cards with your buddies every night."

Wow. I mentioned before how I often come across the perfect article (or book!) when I'm trying to figure out something difficult or serious. This gives me something to think about---continue my frugal ways, live simply (no more fish than I can possibly eat) and enjoy my time now, or work long and hard, strive for more money, and enjoy it all at a point somewhere in the distant future?


RTC said...

Definitely food for thought. I loved your description,"enjoy my frugal life now". That's what I want!

marci357 said...

Exactly :)

If I have all the money I think I will need, and it's sitting in the bank waiting for me to need it and drawing interest, then why oh why would I want to use up anymore of my precious time to make more money that I don't think I will need!

One has to be comfortable in one's mind with living frugally first tho. If it is not an easy, automatic without thought, way of life... meaning if you are fighting yourself over every frugal decision, then you probably aren't ready for it.

You have to be willing to go against the grain tho in some respects, and not worry about what people think. Case in point - today was my grandson's 6th birthday. From me, he received a bag of goodies - including a book, train video, train toy, hoody, supersoaker, and spiderman water gun... all from garage sales. He doesn't care that they came from garage sales - they were still new and in the box. My daughter is amazed that I consistantly find the right thoughtful gifts for her and the kids for birthdays and Christmas, and all from garage sales. She likes it! If I were worried about what people thought, then I wouldn't be able to give gifts that I buy at garage sales :)

marci357 said...

I work still tho - but it's for the free fully paid health insurance the employer gives anyone working over 30 hrs a week. Therefore, I work only 4 days a week - 32 hours! Just enough! I think I have found the balance that works for me - just enough time at work to gain the free health insurance, but still 3 days a week off for me :)

Maybe you can find that perfect balance also - it took me about 3 years to find this job. And then I had to convince the boss after 6 months, that I could still do the job for him in only 4 days, not 5. Good luck with finding your balance!

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