Sep 01

Fulfillment: What Matters Most to You?


Your fulfillment in life lies with the things that matters most to you

I’ve been reading a lot of self-improvement materials lately and one of the stories I came across was the classic story of the Mexican fisherman and the Harvard business graduate which I would like to share with all of you.

As the story goes, a Harvard business graduate was enjoying his well-earned holiday at a small Mexican village when he came across a fisherman whose boat was loaded full of fish.

“How long did it take you to catch those?” the businessman asked.

“A few hours.” The fisherman replied.

“So what are you going to do now?”

“Well, I’ll fish a little, play with my kids, have siesta with my wife later in the afternoon, and then hang out with my amigos, drink some wine and play guitar.”

The businessman wanted to help the fisherman so he offered some advice.

“I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you.  You should be spending more time fishing, the proceeds of which should let you buy a bigger boat which can then help you buy more boats until you have a fleet of fishing boats to support your business.  Sell your catch directly to a processor instead of a middleman and eventually, open your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing and distribution and you will eventually have to leave this fishing village for Mexico City and then LA, and later on New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

“But señor, how long will all these take? The fisherman asked.

“Around 15 to 20 years.” The businessman replied.

“But what then señor?”

“When the time is right, you will announce an IPO and sell you company stock to the public.  You will become very rich.  You will make millions!”

“Millions señor?  Then what?”

“You will retire to a small fishing village, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife and hangout with your amigos while drinking wine and playing the guitar.”

“But isn’t that what I’m doing now señor?” the fisherman asked smiling.


In the story, the businessman and the fisherman clearly had differing ideas of what success is just like for the most of us.  Success and happiness doesn’t have to come five or ten years from now.  You can be fulfilled today, right at this very moment, depending on several factors.


How do you measure success?

Many of us are like the businessman who measured success through the amount of wealth one has accumulated over several years of hard work which was how most of us were led to believe.  We’ve been raised with the idea that success equates to being rich, owning multiple properties, and running several large businesses which is valid depending on how you define success.  If you measure success through material possessions then yes, you must be successful.

The fisherman looked at success differently.  For him, success was getting to do what he loves, spend time with his family and earn a living just enough to take care of the daily expenses.  Wealth was not his priority and his primary goal was to simply enjoy life with what he had.  If you measure success the same way the fisherman did, then yes, you are also considered successful.

The answer to this question varies depending on how you define and measure success.  There is really no right or wrong answers.


What is it that you enjoy doing?

Part of being fulfilled is to be able to do what you love.  What are you passionate about?  What is it that gets you excited every morning?

The answer to these questions will help you determine what you should be pursuing to achieve both success and happiness.  Many of us dread going to work everyday to put hours on a job we hate so much.  This resentment eventually results in increased stress and worse, depression.

What good is a high-paying job if it drives you to madness thinking of ways to escape it?  Finding your passion or doing something you truly love can be difficult but once you do find it, success is almost a certainty because work doesn’t seem like work when you enjoy doing something.  One thing I see in common between all the highly successful people I know is that they love what they do and enjoy doing it.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to do something you enjoy and get paid or earn money doing it?  Hell Yeah!

Don’t waste your time trying to get better in something you hate doing because this is like adding fuel to your car without knowing where your destination.


What is your WHY?

Success without fulfillment is failure.  There are just things that money can’t buy and one of them is happiness.  You can have all the material things you could ever want but at the end of the day, none of these matters if you’re not happy.  Once you get to know what it is that you love doing, the next thing you need to determine is what your WHY is.  What is your purpose?  What is your goal for doing everything that you’re doing now?

If you are like the businessman, your WHY would have to be because you want to be rich.  His advice to the fisherman were all aimed to increasing profit and eventually, establishing a multi-million dollar business.

For the fisherman, his why would probably have to be because he wants to enjoy life.  He’s not about money or building an empire.  He was contented having a simple life.  He was living life to the fullest and making the most out of time.

You don’t have to blow yourself up by working non-stop for a several years until you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Believe it or not, you can actually enjoy life right at this very moment by doing the things that matter most to you.

If being a millionaire is what fuels you today, then yes, you might need to wait for several years before fulfillment kicks in but if you are driven by your desire to make the most out of life, then you don’t have to wait that long.  You can be successful, happy and fulfilled right at this very moment.


Are you more like the businessman or the fisherman?

I would love to hear from you and I will appreciate it if you leave a feedback or comment below.


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

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