I’ve a wee parable about modern life for you to read this week.
It’s called The Story Of The Mexican Fisherman. You can read it by clicking here.
It’s a tale that has, admittedly, done the rounds. So you may be familiar with it. But, even if you are, what about the message behind it?
Are you as familiar with that?
That message struck a chord with me (and not for the first time) a little while ago when I was working at a Mindspan taster session.
One of the attendees on the course was a young chap who was busy juggling his professional life with all the demands that having a ten month old baby can bring. One of those is financial responsibility and he was working all hours to ensure that he and his partner’s child would never have to do without and would grow up in a world that offered nothing but warmth, security and comfort.
Yet he was so busy working hard in order to support his child and partner that he hardly ever saw them, let alone have any quality time to spend with them.
He’s not alone. Countless men and women are working their lives away, putting in sixty or seventy hours a week at the workplace in order to secure the lifestyle they want and the material benefits of their hard work.
Is it worth waking up one morning wondering where your life has gone once you reach the age of 55 or 60?
You can have all the money in the world but the one thing you will never be able to purchase is the opportunity to live your life again.
Live your life. Today. Like the Mexican fisherman did.
Not work your life. That’s a completely different thing.
I used to think material things would make me happy. I even went out and bought an Aston Martin.
Did it make me happy?
No, not really.
Professional football is awash with money. Players even have their own magazine that shows them how to spend it.
Which they’re only too happy to do but does it bring them happiness and personal fulfilment?
For many of us sadly, I genuinely doubt that it does.
Some of my more enlightened colleagues in the game knew there was more to life than flash cars and bling.
Take Jurgen Klinsmann for example.
When he joined Tottenham in 1994 he was one of the most recognisable sports stars in the world and certainly one of the most highly paid.
Yet he drove around London in a beaten up old VW Beetle and, throughout his time in England had, as a result, to field endless questions from journalists who couldn’t work out why he didn’t flaunt his wealth and fame with a Ferrari or Lamborghini. He was entitled, as part of a sponsorship deal Tottenham had at the time, to a top of the range BMW. Yet he turned the Beamer down explaining that he preferred his Beetle, was comfortable with it and that it got him from A to B as effectively as any supercar did.
He knew what made him happy. He had, to quote from the story, slowed down, reassessed and got real about how he wanted to live his life. He gave money to Greenpeace as well as other charitable organisations and, when asked why he was so keen on giving his money away (as if it was some sort of sin!) replied “I have enough”.
He’s an extremely wealthy and successful man who has chosen to lead a simple life. You could say it’s ‘life’ without the ‘style’ and that’s why you’ll rarely, if ever, see a photograph of him without a massive smile on his face.
A man who has never taken himself or the cloistered world that he inhabited too seriously (remember the mock dive and trademark smile after his debut goal for Tottenham)?
Maybe we should all take a lesson from Jurgen.
He might not have been the Mexican fisherman. But he’d certainly got the mindset of one.