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Formula for Contentment

There's an old parable about an American businessman on vacation in Mexico. One morning he is drinking his coffee by the sea and he befriends a Mexican fisherman who is hauling in his catch nearby. They chat as the fisherman works. After an hour or two, the fisherman collects his gear and fish, turns to the businessman and says, "I'm done working now, it was nice talking to you." Shocked, the American protests, "What do you mean you're done working? You worked for less than two hours! What are you going to do now?" The fisherman smiles and says "I'm going to play with my children, take a nap, have lunch with my wife, and go for a walk with a friend." The businessman sees an opportunity to help the poor man. "You still have hours left in the day. I can help you maximize your time to grow your business. If you spend 8 hours out here fishing for the next five years, you can make enough profit to invest in a boat with a crew. Spend five more years running the crew, and you'll have enough profit to invest in a fleet of boats and captains to run them." The Mexican fisherman laughs and asks "and then what?" The businessman responds "then your business will be so successful and you'll have so much money that you can do whatever you want! You can spend your days playing with your children, napping, eating lunch with your wife, and walking with friends!"

Let's go fishing in Tulum

What is the endpoint of relentless hustling? What do we dream of doing when we have "enough" money? Is there a way to structure everyday life so we can do it now? It might take a huge, colossal lifestyle change -- moving to a lower cost of living area, finding a job that can be done remotely or part-time, saving up a couple of years worth of expenses, selling the big, high-maintenance house and renting a nice one instead. If international travel is on the bucket list, can we find a job that requires it? If we dream of spending hours each day fly fishing, can we save a healthy emergency fund and launch a business as a fishing instructor? Do we wish we could spend more time with the family, but say "no" to every invitation they offer us because we believe we should be working? Do we want to spend more time lying in a hammock and reading, but take 8 hours to complete work that could be done in 4? (another win for Parkinson's law!). Can we accept being content instead of relentless?

Is there a way to already be where we want to go?

A few more:

Tulum photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

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