A boat is docked in a tiny fishermen’s village.
A tourist wearing expensive sunglasses and a fancy watch walks by and compliments a fisherman on the quality of his fish and asks how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answers the fisherman.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asks the tourist.

The fisherman explains his small catch is enough to meet his needs and those of his family.
The tourist asks, “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. I have a full life.”

The tourist jumps in. “I have an MBA 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 money, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asks the fisherman.
“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 middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asks the fisherman.
“Twenty or twenty-five years, at most,” replies the tourist.
“And after that?”
“After that? Well, my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answers the tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can sell your company stock to the public and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asks the fisherman.

“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 playing guitar with your friends.”

  • The Happiness Equation