In The Four-Hour Work Week Tim Ferriss tells a story about a Mexican fisherman and an American businessman. If you aren't familiar with it, here's a screenshot:
Not many people know that there is actually a second half to this fable!
I was lucky enough to hear it from a wandering shaman in a Berlin nightclub, and with his permission I have reproduced it here.
Fables and Fortune Hunters, the lost second half
The American businessman told this story to his friends back home, and after the third retelling suddenly became enlightened. That same day he handed in his resignation and flew back to the Mexican village.
One year later, his successor grew curious and took a trip out to visit him. She went to the docks to look for him, but he wasn't there. She walked along the path to the village, but didn't see him on the way. She tried the tapas bar, but none of the local mariachis knew him.
Puzzled, she sat down to enjoy a bottle of excellent wine. (The waiters were very attentive, as she tipped generously.) Midway into her second glass, she spotted a dirty, haggard man shuffling down the road. Peering closer, she just managed to recognise her former colleague!
"What happened to you? How have you been spending your time here in the idyllic Mexican village?" she asked.
He sat down and gratefully accepted a glass of wine, then said, "Well, at the start it was great. I would sleep late, fish a little, play with the local children, 'take a siesta' with my beautiful girlfriend, Juanita, and stroll into the village each evening where I would sip wine and play the maracas.
"But my savings ran out quite quickly (surprising how expensive caviar is here), and it turned out that I actually wasn't very good at fishing. The little money I made was mostly from selling the old boots I caught to junk shops. Juanita left me because I didn't bother to learn Spanish, so I could never really interact with her family.
"To make things worse, there was a huge hurricane earlier this year, which has messed up fishing for everyone, even the old hands. Like many others, including the fisherman who inspired me originally, I had to pack up my fishing business and take a job at the local factory to pay the bills. I now maintain the machine that produces the little plastic bits on the end of shoelaces."
She poured him another glass of wine and grimaced sympathetically. "Why don't you come home, then? Your old position isn't open, but I'm certain I could get you a cushy middle-management job in one of the new divisions."
"Are you kidding?" he said, his laughter revealing a few missing teeth. "Return to the rat race where I'll have to work 20 years to guarantee a comfortable retirement? No way – I'm going to enjoy my life now!"
Thanking her for the wine, the former American businessman shuffled off to catch a few hours of sleep before his shift began again the next morning.