A Letter from Mark Albion
The Entrepreneur and the
Never mistake hard
work for success about to happen. Trying to achieve success solely through hard work is like
trying to reach the North Pole by heading south. You may eventually get there, but it will take
a hundred times the energy, time, and sacrifice that it should take.— from
Person’s Guide to Success
In my book The Lazy
Person’s Guide to Success I used a story about an entrepreneur and a fisherman that I
have included on this webpage.
Not so long ago I received an e-mail from Mark Albion, an author whose work I was aware of through reading
I was not aware of the connection between him and the story about the entrepreneur and the fisherman,
Following is the e-mail that I received from Mark Albion:
I am the former Harvard Business School student and professor who wrote this story over
a decade ago, but it is based in Buddhist tradition, Russian Folklore and similar too a lighter story
written in 1963 by Henrich Boll, which I had never seen until this year.
It is now a shareware 3-minute animated movie. Go to YouTube or FaceBook and put in
"Mark Albion" and you will find "The Good Life Parable," and my new book with the story, More Than Money:
Questions Every MBA Needs to Answer, found at the BK website.
To Be More Successful, Try Working Less and Thinking
Most Success Costs Too Much
Here's a favorite story to get you tuned up for the rest of your life. I often share it with happy,
leisurely individuals whenever they tell me that they may have become millionaires by now, if only they had
sacrificed their balanced lifestyle to work a lot harder and at something more conventional . The story helps them
put life back in proper perspective. It may help you do the same.
A wealthy entrepreneur from New York went on a two-week seaside holiday
on the coast of Costa Rica. On his first day there, he was impressed
with the quality and taste of the exotic fish he bought from a local
fisherman. The next day, the American encountered the native Costa
Rican at the dock, but the Costa Rican had already sold his catch.
The American discovered that the fisherman had a secret fishing spot
where the fish were plenty and the quality superb. He only caught
five or six fish a day, however.
The New Yorker asked the local fisherman why he didn't stay out longer
at sea and catch more fish.
"But Señor," the fisherman replied, "I sleep in late until nine or
ten every morning; I play with my children; I go fishing for an hour
or two; in the afternoon I take a one- or two-hour siesta; in the
early evening I have a relaxing meal with my family; and later in
the evening, I go to the village and drink wine, play guitar, and
sing with my amigos. As you can see, I have a full, relaxed, satisfying,
and happy life."
"You should catch a lot more fish," the American declared. "That way
you can prepare for a prosperous future. Look, I am a businessman
from New York and I can help you become a lot more successful in life.
I received an MBA from Harvard, and I know a lot about business and
The American continued, "The way to prepare for the future is to get
up early in the morning and spend the whole day fishing, even going
back for more in the evening. In no time, with the extra money, you
could buy a bigger boat. Two years from now, you can have five or
six boats that you can rent to other fishermen. In another five years,
with all the fish you will control, you can build a fish plant and
even have your own brand of fish products."
"Then, in another six or seven years," the American rambled on, while
the Costa Rican looked more and more bewildered, "you can leave here
and move to New York or San Francisco, and have someone else run your
factory while you market your products. If you work hard for fifteen
or twenty years, you could become a multimillionaire. Then you wouldn't
have to work another day for the rest of your life."
"What would I do then, Señor?" responded the fisherman.
Without any hesitation, the wealthy American businessman enthusiastically
proclaimed, "Then you will be able to move to a little village in
some laid-back country like Mexico where you can sleep in late every
day, play with the village children, take a long siesta every afternoon,
eat meals while relaxing in the evening, and play guitar, sing, and
drink wine with your amigos every night."
The moral of this story is that most success, as defined in Western society today, costs too much in
terms of blood, sweat, and tears. What's the point of working hard for many years, sacrificing happiness and
well-being along the way, when you can have happiness and well-being today by not working so hard and at something
Fame and fortune may be on your list of life's rewards; the price you will have to pay in terms of
time, energy, personal sacrifices, and risk may be higher than you care to expend, however. Of course, anything
worth having always has a price, as is stressed throughout The Lazy
Person’s Guide to Success — but some things aren't worth having due to the high price
attached to them.
2012 by Ernie J. Zelinski
Owner of VIP
BOOKS and Author of the World's Best
All Rights Reserved