Getting Rich is Only Worth it When You Have Fun Getting There

A Quora user Niklas Göke posted this great answer answer to the question “Is getting rich worth it? ” The answer is a must read. Niklas shares a wonderful story and answers the questions with a remarkable quote.

So here comes the inspiring story.

A manager stands at the pier of a little, remote fishermen’s village and watches the sea. He sees a small boat make its way toward the shore. As it lands, the manager is impressed by the big load of tuna on board. He congratulates the fisherman and asks:

“How long did it take you to catch all these?”

The fisherman says:

“Not long. Just a few hours.”

The manager looks slightly puzzled.

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea? You could catch even more!”

The fisher responds that he caught enough fish to feed his family for the next few days. The manager asks:

“Then how do you spend the rest of your day?”

The fisher explains:

“Well, I always make sure I get a good night’s rest, then, in the morning, I go fishing for a while. When I come home, I play with the kids a little, take a nap with my wife after lunch and go for a walk around the village. In the evening, I have a glass of wine with my friends and play the guitar and we’re all merry together.”

The manager offers a piece of advice:

“I have a PhD from Harvard. I make a lot of money helping people run their businesses. I can help you become more successful.

From now on, you should spend a lot more time fishing, because from the extra money, you could buy a bigger boat. A bigger boat means even more fish and more profits, which you could use to buy a whole fleet of boats.

Instead of selling the fish to a merchant, you could first sell to a fish cannery and later, set up your own canned fish production plant and distribution network.

You could move out of this tiny village, into the big city, where you set up your headquarters, from which you manage the other branches of your flourishing company.”

The fisher had listened closely and silently.

“How long would that take?”

The manager thought for a second.

“Hmm…probably 15 to 20 years.”

The fisher asks:

“And then what?”

The manager laughs.

“Here’s the best part. When the time is ripe, you will take your company public, sell all of your company shares at the stock exchange and make a lot of money. You will be rich beyond measure. You’ll make millions!”

The fisherman shakes his head in disbelief. With wide eyes, he responds:

“Millions? And then what?”

The manager smiles.

“Well, then you could finally stop working and retire! You could move to a small fishermen’s village, get a good night’s rest every day, fish for a while, play with your kids a little, take a nap with your wife after lunch and go for a walk around the village. You could have a glass of wine with your friends every evening, play the guitar, and you could all be merry together.”

I was born in Germany, into a family that is in the top 10% in terms of income. I have all my senses, no disabilities, no diseases and no chronic health issues. All my work can be done with my mind, not my hands. I have awesome friends and a wonderful family.

By any definition of the word, I am rich. Yet, like so many, I too strive for more. More money, more freedom, more people I can reach and make a difference for. I hope it’s for a good cause.

I think what the fisher is telling the manager, without saying a single word, is this:

Getting rich is only worth it when you have fun getting there.

The ironic part is when you’re having fun, it won’t matter where you go. Money only makes you more of who you already are. So instead of becoming someone whose bank account is multiplying, become someone worth amplifying.

Whether fisher or manager, as long as we do that, you and I will be just fine.

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