As 2011 has come to a close, my mind has been dwelling more on society’s perspective and priorities. The developed world has created a completely different and unnatural reality and worked diligently to convince society that this way is the only way. And I certainly see the ripple effect even here in Kenya.
It’s fueled by man’s coping mechanisms like money, time and religion, all of which are centered on the core desire for control. People believe they have to follow a certain path in order to be a success. But it’s a lie. It’s contrary to how we were created.
Again and again I come back to the core of what I believe to be important. Relationship, with people and with my Creator, trump all. Everything I do stems from the desire to foster those relationships. Money, time, rules and the status quo are never a driving factor.
Today is January 2nd, 2012. It’s a new year. Seems like a great opportunity to share this beautiful story about an old Mexican fisherman. My father, Dan Miller shared this story with me many years ago and it’s stuck with me every since, acting as a rudder for my life. I hope it blesses you as it has me.
An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The American then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I’m a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will all this take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then?” The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions? Then what?” the native fisherman asked.
“Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
As a direct result of the western world’s desire to monetize and control every aspect of our lives, they’ve created a completely unnecessary, divisive and destructive game that most refer to as “reality’. I just call it the status quo, or “normal”. But we weren’t created to be normal. We were created to be extraordinary individuals working together as one body. At the center is relationship.
Here’s a little reminder for the New Year. You don’t have to play the game. We are all creating our own reality every second of the day. Don’t fall into the lie that you have to do as you’re told. You set your own priorities and perspective according to what you believe. And that’s your choice.
Guess what. When it comes to life, the beginning and the end are pretty inconsequential. What matters is how you live your life today. Right now. Don’t sell your soul. Seize the day. Live more. Love more. Infuse more whimsy into your life. Take more advice from Willy Wonka and Seth Godin (the real life Willy Wonka). It’s good for your soul.
Make 2012 the start of a more whimsical reality, full of love and beautiful relationships. Spend less time trying to DO and GET more, and a lot more time focused on BEING more. Start something that matters.
Go forth and liberate your soul.