A classic Brazilian tale tells the story of a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
Most people don’t want to be rich. Not really. They just want to be richer than other people. Those other people are mostly their siblings, colleagues at work, neighbors and friends.
We feel rich only when we believe that we’re better off than our close circle of friends and those immediately surrounding us.
Travel from your city into a village with old poor people and young unemployed youths and soon you’ll feel like a millionaire. Live in Maitama, Banana Island or Ikoyi and even though you earn 500k a month, you’ll still feel wretched.
Most humans live in an ever competitive mode- it’s not very healthy, but it is what it is. An easier way would be to write down your own personal goals and review them regularly, using it as a benchmark to determine the extent of your success.
There will always be a friend with a nicer car, bigger house, prettier wife or better paying job than yours. To keep competing with everyone is not only exhausting but also quite silly. Just remember you came to this world alone and so will you be buried. Spend more energy in activities you enjoy and invest much more time with people that you love. Life is not a dick measuring contest. Remember that.