Learn to Thrive at Work and in Life

By Susan Biali, M.D.

Three years ago, I stumbled across the same parable, in three different books, all in the same week.  It hit me pretty hard the first time I read it, but after three times I figured that God was trying very hard to tell me something. It goes something like this:

A wealthy businessman took a vacation to a beautiful tropical island.  Once there, he lounged on the white sandy beach and, every morning, watched the same fisherman haul his catch out of the turquoise waters.

“What do you do with the rest of your day?” the businessman asked the fisherman.

“After fishing, I go home, have a long meal and then lie down for a siesta with my wife,” answered the fisherman.  “In the evening I might sit and watch the sunset, and then have some beers with some friends.”

“I’ve been watching you,” said the businessman, “and you’re very good at what you do.  You should really get some other people working for you, and then you might be able to afford a boat.  Soon, you could use your profits from that to buy a fleet of boats – your possibilities are endless!”

“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.

“Why, you’d be rich!  Just think of all the money you’d make!” exclaimed the businessman.

The fisherman was still confused. “And what would I do with all that money?”

“For starters, you could save enough to retire early! You’d never have to work again.”

“And what would I do then, if I wasn’t working?” asked the fisherman.

“Well, you could spend your free time doing whatever you wanted – you could go fishing, and spend more time with your wife, take time to watch the sunset, hang out and drink beer with your friends…”

So many of us focus on getting through the present, while dreaming of a better future – that infamous and ever-elusive “someday”.     What about you?

My opinions and reflections on this were inspired by an essay I read called “Someday and If Only”, written by Ed Foreman.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up.  When I was in med school, I dreamed about the day I’d have a practice and also “have a life”.  When I got licensed, I decided to work really hard out of the gates, so that one day I’d be able to work less and enjoy life more.  In a few years, of course.

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